9 Reasons to read Skulduggery Pleasant

9 Reasons to read Skulduggery Pleasant

Skulduggery-Pleasant-Movie-Poster[1]I’m currently on the 7th (of nine, not including spin-offs) book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, and trying to make it last. But trying to make a Skulduggery Pleasant book last is as difficult as making a Potter or Hunger games book last. They’re too addictive.

This series is pretty popular, more so in Britain and Ireland (which is where the series is set). But it still baffles me how this series hasn’t grown as popular as Harry Potter. Yes, the Potter books have been adapted into movies (The Skulduggery movie is still stuck in development) but the Potter books were hugely popular before the movies. Skulduggery should be a household name. Below are nine (of many more) reasons why you should check this series out…


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It’s crazy original. Despite the plots being a little similar in the first 2 or 3 books, this series consistently delivers on originality. What other book can you name that has a skeleton detective—a talking, walking skeleton detective—as one of the lead characters?

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The characters. Skulduggery and Valkyrie are an awesome set of main characters, and despite the age gap, and erm… life gap, they have some of the best chemistry (non-romantic) I’ve read in a series. They’re both funny and smart. The rest of the extensive cast are funny too, with some of the coolest, weirdest names you’ll find: Ghastly Bespoke, China Sorrows, Kenspeckle Grouse, Erskine Ravel and over a dozen more. Landy is a master at creating unique names.

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The action. I like action in a book, with plenty of fight sequences, chases and explosions. Every book, every chapter, (sometimes every page) of the Skulduggery series has more action, fight sequences and explosions than every Michael Bay and James Bond movie put together.

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The humour. These books are easily the funniest I’ve ever read. I rarely laugh out loud at a book, but each of the Dark-Days-PB-170x263Skulduggery books manage to make me howl. And that’s thanks in most part to Skulduggery and Valkyrie. But most of the other characters are hilarious too—even the villains.

“What is it?’ Stephanie whispered.
‘That, my dear Valkyrie, is what we call a monster.’
She looked at Skulduggery. ‘You don’t know what it is, do you?’
‘I told you what it is, it’s a horrible monster. Now shut up before it comes over here and eats us.” 

“I don’t like our chances.”
“What are our chances?”
“We don’t have any,” Skulduggery admitted.

I tried picking out more quotes, but there are so many funny moments that I’d need a whole book to list them. Rest assured these books will make you laugh.

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The plots. The plots of the Skulduggery books used to be like a Marvel movie. Packed with action, but a little familiar and formulaic. That changed after the third book when things got more complex and Landy started creating gripping plot arcs that continue through the series. Both Skulduggery and Valkyrie have plots of their own that develop throughout the series. Plots that are never predictable. And there are enough twists (some pretty huge ones) to keep things even more unpredictable.


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The fast pace. I like a fast pace as much as I like action. And Landy never disappoints. There’s rarely a boring moment. Even when characters have to stand around talking, the dialogue is sharp and fast. The action keeps things moving, but even when it dies down the pace goes on at a level that puts most action-movies to shame.

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The writing. Sometimes fantasy books can be bogged down with excessive description. But Landy has one of the sharpest writing styles I’ve read. The punchy sentence structure is addictive, which makes reading a Skulduggery book in a single sitting very easy. It’s not advisable reading a Skulduggery book on a train as you’ll likely miss your station.

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The world. Like JK Rowling, you can tell Landy has thought about the world in these books carefully. There are laws, places, histories all figured out in detail. Like in Potter, Skulduggery’s world exists alongside the real world, and Landy takes advantage of the same opportunities Rowling did to play on existing myths and legends and make them his own. It’s not as detailed as The Wizarding World, but Skulduggery’s world is never anything less than cool.

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It has a wise-cracking skeleton as one of the main characters. Technically this is the same reason as number 2, but it’s the main reason you should read this series. Skulduggery is the best-mate everyone wished they had.

There are plenty more reasons to read this series, but just one of them is reason enough. 


If you’re already a fan of the series, do you agree it should be as popular as Potter. It’s a tough task, but can anyone recommend any series similar to Skulduggery Pleasant. And if you haven’t started Skulduggery, what are you waiting for?

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About Sam Whitehouse

Sam spends most of his time in a different world to other people. If it isn’t one he’s created himself, it’s one he’s reading about. In the rare moments when this isn’t the case, Sam can either be found addicted to a sci-fi or crime show, re-watching Marvel movies, finishing up an assignment for his final year of studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, or trying to get the dozens of ideas for stories in his head under some kind of control. Sam has lived in the same small village in Yorkshire, surrounded by countryside on all sides ever since he could remember. His childhood saw him get into plenty of scrapes climbing trees and crossing rivers and generally believing he was Indiana Jones. Sam gives credit to his Grandad for him wanting to be a writer, and his bedtime stories for keeping Sam’s imagination stoked. But credit must also go to Steven Spielberg, J K Rowling and Stephen King, who have provided plenty of inspiration over the years, too. Sam writes what he reads, and that is pretty much anything—save romance. Fantasy, thrillers, or crime: once an idea takes root, he can’t stop until the world, characters, and plot are on paper. A huge Marvel fan, Sam one day hopes to pen a screenplay for one of their movies, or direct one, or do anything at all related to one. Until then, he’ll stick to his own fantasy worlds and wait for Marvel’s phone call.

Posted on 04/04/2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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