Derek Landy – the Skulduggery Man.

We had a wonderful time while we were in Ireland.  We saw lots of sites, went to lots of places, we drank a lot of beer.  One of the other interesting things that we discovered was a new author (at least to us), Derek Landy.  We saw his most recent book in pretty much every bookstore window that we passed by.  It seems that it had just been released that week in Ireland, and him being an Irish author, it was a pretty big deal.  We noticed a lot of school aged kids reading the book on buses, on trains, at the airport.  So when we popped in to a bookstore to pick up some reading material for the flight home we decided to check his books out.

Derek Landy’s books, the Skulduggery Pleasant series(Scepter of the Ancients (Skulduggery Pleasant), Skulduggery Pleasant Playing with Fire, and The Faceless Ones (Skulduggery Pleasant)), take place primarily in and around Dublin and are about the title character, Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton detective, and his young companion Stephanie Edgley.  The books follow them as they solve mysteries and, of course, save the world from a never ending army of bad guys who seem intent on ruining everyone’s fun.  In the course of their investigations Stephanie learns more about the secret world of magic all around them, becoming drawn deeper in to it.  We’re introduced to all sorts of richly detailed characters, gruesome beasts, and some things that are just downright odd.

The genre fits right in with the growing number of Urban Fantasy titles, and these are certainly targeted towards the same younger audience that gobbled up the Harry Potter books.  Just like the Harry Potter novels the appeal of the Skulduggery Pleasant series certainly extends to any age range.  It’s filled with very sharp, witty humor that goes from the rather pedestrian all the way to some more cerebral moments.  The stories keep moving with a rapid pace that wraps you up in the action (which there is certainly no lack of).  The books don’t get overly bogged down in every little detail, but instead compliment the action and the overly tone of the writing.  Even in the stories more serious moments humor is used to push back the darkness and keep a lighter edge to the novels.  Who knew fighting against those who would bring about the end of the world could be so funny!

I’ve recently finished the second book and am looking forward to picking up a copy of the third.  They are very quick reads – in one insomnia filled night I was able to finish over 3 quarters of the second novel.  While they certainly aren’t high literature (and very certainly they aren’t meant to be), they are some of the more entertaining works that I’ve read lately.  I highly recommend anyone who enjoys the Urban Fantasy genre, or just wants a good laugh, pick up the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy.