The covers of the first series of Skulduggery Pleasant
|Country||Republic of Ireland|
|Genre||Fantasy, Children's literature, Teenage Fiction, Horror|
|Published||2007–14 (first series)
2017– (second series)
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)
Skulduggery Pleasant is a series of fantasy novels written by Irish author Derek Landy. The books revolve around the adventures of the skeleton detective, Skulduggery Pleasant, and a teenage girl, Stephanie Edgley/Valkyrie Cain, along with other friends. The central story arc concerns Valkyrie's struggle to stop evil forces threatening the world, finally find justice for her late uncle's death, and her internal struggle of keeping the darkness within her to stay within.
Since the release of the first novel in 2007, Skulduggery Pleasant, the series has been praised by both readers and critics. Following novels were released each year afterwards, with the exception of the fourt and fifth novels, Dark Days and Mortal Coil, which were both released in 2010. Landy was initially contracted to write three books, with any further books depending on how well the first trilogy sold. The success of the first novels ensured that the deal was extended first to six books and in 2011, HarperCollins signed the deal for the final trilogy.
In July 2016, Derek Landy announced via a video blog that although the first Skulduggery Pleasant series was complete, a tenth Skulduggery Pleasant book is set to be released on 1 June 2017, titled Resurrection, as the start of a second series.
- 1 First series novels
- 2 Second series novels
- 3 Short stories and novellas
- 4 Covers
- 5 Accolades
- 6 Reception and reviews
- 7 Film adaptation
- 8 References
- 9 External links
First series novels
- Released: 3 April 2007
Twelve-year-old Stephanie Edgley is tired of her boring life. But when a man breaks into her recently deceased uncle's house and tries to kill her, she is saved by a funny, arrogant, fireball-throwing, 400-year-old detective named Skulduggery Pleasant, who just so happens to be a walking skeleton, and she is thrust into a world of danger, murder and magic. Taking the new name of Valkyrie Cain, she partners up with Skulduggery to solve her uncle's murder, and to prevent the devious Nefarian Serpine from obtaining the Sceptre of Ancients, a mystical weapon that can slay gods. The sceptre is a powerful weapon which can be used to defeat and overcome the world and bring back the Faceless Ones.
Playing With Fire
- Released: 1 April 2008
Baron Vengeous, one of Mevolent's Three Generals, has escaped from prison, and he has big plans for the Grotesquery, a dark creature created from the remains of some of the most deadly creatures to ever walk the earth. Most worryingly of all, it has a torso of a Faceless One, one of the dark gods that ruled the earth eons ago, and the Baron plans to use this to bring back the rest of the Faceless Ones, so they may resume their reign of tyranny and torture, and to help him with this endeavour he has an army of vampires at his disposal. This will be Skulduggery and Valkyrie's toughest battle yet.
The Faceless Ones
- Released: 6 April 2009
As a string of murders whittles down the number of teleporters in the world at an alarming rate, it is quickly linked to a fanatical cult named the Diablerie, who worship horrific Dark gods known as the Faceless Ones, as they attempt to open a portal with the goal of returning the Faceless Ones to the world. With the assistance of a cocky young teleporter, Fletcher Renn, Valkyrie and Skulduggery have very little time to track down a mysterious man named Batu, stop the Diablerie, and prevent the Faceless ones from returning to earth, because if they don't, the world will burn. This one will have deadly consequences.
- Released: 1 April 2010
Following the events of The Faceless Ones, Valkyrie has tracked down Skulduggery's original skull, with which she can open another portal to the home dimension of the Faceless Ones and rescue Skulduggery. However, things do not go exactly as planned as Skulduggery has become unhinged thanks to his experiences with the Faceless Ones, but it is quickly revealed that they have much bigger problems to worry about: The Revengers Club, a group of criminals and murderers (and Scapegrace), who are out for revenge against those who wronged them in the way they know best: mass murder. And if that wasn't enough to deal with, sensitives all around the globe are having visions of a new threat, one that will bring the world to its knees: Darquesse.
- Released: 2 September 2010
Between the shocking revelation that her secret name is Darquesse, a near deathly being that sensitives have had terrifying apocalyptic visions of, in which she turns to world into a charred lifeless husk, an outbreak of at least 2000 vicious, soul possessing shadows known as Remnants who turn their hosts into murdering psychopaths with no remorse, and a prophecy which may make her the Death Bringer, a messiah to the necromancers who they believe will be their salvation, Valkyrie Cain has a lot to worry about. And this time, she might not make it.
- Released: 1 September 2011
The Death Bringer has finally arrived, and she has brought with her an eagerness to end the world as we know it, and initiate the passage, a secretive ritual which necromancers refuse to explain to the rest of the magical community, only that it will 'tear down the barriers between life and death'. But when the horrific truth behind the passage is revealed, Valkyrie and Skulduggery are caught up in a hectic race against time to save half of the world's population from an untimely death, a race that will have both Skulduggery and Valkyrie facing their inner demons.
Kingdom of the Wicked
- Released: 30 August 2012
Mortals all throughout the world are inexplicably obtaining magical powers, and the trail seems to lead to Argeddion, a pacifistic, almost god like being, who, with the knowledge of his true name, hopes to bring magic to the masses, and lift the world into a new era of enlightenment and peace. The only problem with his seemingly idyllic plan: many of his test subjects are running wild, drunk on their newfound power, and are slaughtering innocent people and on the verge of exposing magic to the world. All of this poses a credible challenge to Skulduggery and Valkyrie. They also have the Supreme Council to deal with, an allied group of sanctuaries trying to convince the Irish to hand over control after the recent series of catastrophes. To make things worse, Valkyrie starts having uncontrollable trans-dimensional jaunts to a world controlled by sorcerers, where mortals live in terror and Mevolent still lives. So, just another usual day then.
Last Stand of Dead Men
- Released: 29 August 2013
The war between sanctuaries that everyone has been expecting has finally come, with the Supreme Council making a desperate grab for control of the cradle of magic, sparking a brutal war that will turn friend into enemy, and ally to foe. But even as the Dead Men make their final stand for their country and their freedom, there is another war raging, inside Valkyrie Cain herself, and it is much more important. Because if she loses, Darquesse will rise, the world will burn, and everyone she knows and loves will perish.
The Dying of the Light
- Released: 28 August 2014
The final book of the first series. The War of the Sanctuaries has been won, but it was not without its casualties. Rogue supercharged sorcerers from the battle of Roarhaven are running loose. Following Darquesse taking over the body of Valkyrie Cain, Skulduggery Pleasant must use any and all means to track down and stop Darquesse and hopefully free Valkyrie before she turns the world into a charred, lifeless cinder. And so he draws together a team of soldiers, monster hunters, killers, criminals, and Valkyrie's own murderous and sentient reflection. They trick Darquesse into thinking she is more powerful than she really is through an illusion, at which point Darquesse opens a portal to the Faceless ones and goes to battle them. It is stated that Darquesse probably will not survive battling a whole race of Faceless Ones
Second series novels
- Release set for: 1 June 2017
The first book of the second series. Skulduggery and Valkyrie will team up with characters from the first series, alongside a new set of characters, including a new teen character named Omen Darkly. The adventure of the tenth book will take Skulduggery and Valkyrie to stakes of a global proportion, while answering questions that arose from the very first book.
Short stories and novellas
The End of the World
In June 2011 Landy posted on his blog that he would be writing a short story about Skulduggery called The End of the World. It was released in late February 2012 to coincide with World Book Day 2012. The Australian release of this novella came with an additional short story titled Just Another Friday Night. Deleted scenes from Skulduggery Pleasant were included. It is set a few months after Death Bringer. It was included in the 2014 short story collection.
Tanith Low in... The Maleficent Seven
A novella featuring Tanith Low was published in 2013. The cover and title were released on 7 December 2012 after several delays. Landy stated it was his favourite book cover ever. The blog post revealing the cover and title is available here: http://dereklandy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/the-maleficent-seven.html. It was released on 28 March 2013 in the U.K & Ireland and 1 April in some other countries. The novella follows Tanith Low and Billy-Ray Sanguine as they form a team of villains, outcasts and monsters in order to collect the God-killer weapons, so that they may never be used against Darquesse, whilst Dexter Vex has recruited a team to collect the weapons with the exact opposite in mind: he wants to stockpile the weapons in order to be used against Darquesse. It's a good day to be a bad guy....
Armageddon Outta Here
Armageddon Outta Here is a collection of all the previous short stories and novellas published in the series along with 3 new short stories, 1 new novella and a sample chapter from the final book. It was released on 3 July 2014. The order below represents chronological order, as they as listed in the collection, as opposed to their original publication date.
- Across a Dark Plain: 1861: The Dead Men traversed South Dakota on the hunt for their target, Nefarian Serpine.
- The Horror Writers' Halloween Ball: 1986: Gordon Edgley and Skulduggery Pleasant attend the party of the enigmatic Sebastian Fawkes.
- The Lost Art of World Domination: Set after Skulduggery Pleasant, Scaramouch Van Dreg manages to capture Skulduggery Pleasant. Originally included in Skulduggery Pleasant.
- Gold, Babies and the Brothers Muldoon: Set after Playing with Fire, The Muldoons kidnap babies and hold them to ransom. Originally included in Playing with Fire.
- The Slightly Ignominious End to the Legend of Black Annis: Set after The Faceless Ones, Tanith Low encounters Black Annis for the first time. Originally included in The Faceless Ones.
- Friday Night Fights: Sometime before Dark Days, The story of how Valkyrie Cain and Caelan met each other.
- Myosotis Terra: Set after Dark Days, Skulduggery and Valkyrie search for Myosotis Terra. As part of a competition, a short story was written in 2011 with the winning entry featuring as a character. Some European editions of Mortal Coil contained this story. It was re-released in the tour edition of the 2012 Australian tour edition.
- The Wonderful Adventures of Geoffrey Scrutinous: Set after Mortal Coil, Geoffrey Scrutinous and Skulduggery Pleasant search for Elwood Satchel. Originally included in Mortal Coil.
- Just Another Friday Night: Sometime before Death Bringer, Tane Aiavao and Hayley Skirmish meet with a cursed family.
- The End of the World: Set after Death Bringer, Skulduggery and Valkyrie attempt to solve a mystery surrounding Deacon Maybury, Ryan and the Doomsday Machine.
- Trick or Treat: Sometime before The Maleficent Seven, Tanith and Billy-Ray Sanguine continue their quest to destroy the God-Killers. In October 2011, Derek Landy posted a Halloween special on his blog, a short story featuring Tanith Low and Billy-Ray Sanguine, titled Trick or Treat. It is a prelude to The Maleficent Seven as it deals with the God-Killer weapons.
- Get Thee Behind Me, Bubba Moon: Set after Kingdom of the Wicked, A haunted house is investigated.
- The Button: Set after Theatre of Shadows: Skulduggery and Valkyrie attempt to avert the cause of the world's destruction. Derek Landy announced on 14 December 2012 that from 21 to 22 December, a short story relating to the Mayan 2012 apocalypse theory would be available on his blog, titled The Button. It was eventually included in the short story collection.
As of October 2010, a series of new covers have been released. The first book's cover is more or less the back cover of the normal cover (only blue). The second cover is gold, the third is purple, the fourth is red, the fifth is green, the sixth is dark blue, the seventh is silver and the eighth is yellow. The new mass market paperback edition covers all feature Skulduggery on the front and Valkyrie on the back. Some were released with a short story set a few months after the plot of the novel. Landy stated on his blog that these stories will be gradually removed from the reprints of the books and instead published in a collection of short stories in early 2014.
Skulduggery Pleasant won the Red House Children's Book Award, the Bolton Children's Book Award and the Staffordshire Young Teen Fiction Award. The book was also recommended for confident readers (9+) by the Richard & Judy Children's Book Club in 2007. It also won the Portsmouth Book Awards in 2008, having been selected by school children in Portsmouth, as well as winning Irish book of the decade in 2010. Also, in 2009, it won the Kernow Youth and Grampian Book Awards by a majority vote. It had also been nominated for Young Reader's Choice Awards 2010 in North America and it won Irish book awards in 2009 and 2010.
Reception and reviews
- Phillip Ardagh (The Guardian):
- It's exciting, pacy, nicely handled and it's fun. There's nothing worthy about it, and it's all the better for that. And, I might add, it's self-contained. Landy may well revisit these characters – I sincerely hope he does – but it's a pleasingly rounded tale, which is refreshing in these days of endless open-ended books of never-ending series.
- Nathan Nicholls (Whitby Gazette):
- There is no expense spared by Landy in this book and I would have to say that everyone who could be bothered to read it, would definitely be drawn into it and certainly enjoy it. (...) Something for everyone and everything for someone, Skulduggery Pleasant is easily my book of the year so far. Read it!
- Christina Hardyment (The Independent):
- Landy is an established horror writer, and the combats between Skulduggery, Serpine and his legions of Hollow Men and vampires rival the climaxes of the Potter films for hair-raising effects; it isn't often that writing makes you feel as if you are watching a film.
- Derek Landy's debut, Skulduggery Pleasant (...) has a distinctly Horowitzian humour and verve to it, being a detective story featuring a wizard's skeleton as hero. When Stephanie's uncle dies, she discovers his horror stories weren't fiction, and that evil forces are after her for a mysterious key. Wisecracking madly, the duo must survive each other as well as Hell. At the end of it, readers of 12+ may well be regretting their consumption of chocolate eggs.
In 2010, rumours began to circulate that the Skulduggery Pleasant series would be developed into a film. The film was initially planned for release with Warner Bros. in 2013, but Derek Landy didn't like the script and stated that no film would be released unless the script was written by him. Derek Landy has since decided to leave adapting his books into a screenplay until the completion of The Dying of the Light, the last book in the series.
- "HarperCollins extends Landy deal". The Bookseller. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress: New Book Announcement".
- "Resurrection (Skulduggery Pleasant, Book 10)". Amazon. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
- "The End Of The World". Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "Short Story Collection". Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "BEHOLD, MINIONS!!". Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress: KOTW Paperback". Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress: The Button". Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "Trick Or Treat". Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "The Button", Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress, 21 December 2012.
- "Books, Textbooks, eBooks and eReaders at Waterstones.com". Waterstones.com. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "KOTW Paperback", Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress, 13 November 2012.
- "Red House Children's Book Award". Redhousechildrensbookaward.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "Bolton Children's Book Award 2008 at Bolton Literacy Trust". Boltonliteracytrust.org.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "YTF 2008". Staffordshire.gov.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "Longer novel section for year 8/9 pupils". Portsmouth.gov.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- Ardagh, Philip (7 April 2007). "Review at The Guardian". London.
- "Review at the Whitby Gazette". Whitbygazette.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- Hardyment, Christina (20 April 2007). "Review at The Independent". London.
- "Short Review at the Times". The Times. London. 31 March 2007.