Skulduggery Pleasant (series)
|Country||Republic of Ireland|
|Genre||Fantasy, Children's literature, Teenage Fiction, Horror|
|Published||Skulduggery Pleasant (2007)
Playing With Fire (2008)
The Faceless Ones (2009)
Dark Days (2010)
Mortal Coil (2010)
Death Bringer (2011)
Kingdom of the Wicked (2012)
Last Stand of Dead Men (2013)
The Dying Of The Light (2014)
|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, Skulduggery Pleasant, the series has been praised by both readers and critics.
The second novel, Playing With Fire, was released the following year, and the third, The Faceless Ones, in 2009. On 1 April 2010 the fourth book Dark Days was released, followed by Mortal Coil on 1 September 2010. Death Bringer, the sixth book, was released on 1 September the following year. A novella titled The End of the World was released on 26 February 2012, to coincide with World Book Day, and the seventh book in the series, titled Kingdom of the Wicked, was released in Australia and New Zealand on 24 July 2012, and the UK on 30 August.
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.
The unabridged audio versions of the books are available from Harper Collins Audio and the first four are read by Rupert Degas. The fifth is read by Brian Bowles. The final four are read by Stephen Hogan.
- 1 Novels
- 1.1 Skulduggery Pleasant: Sceptre of The Ancients
- 1.2 Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire
- 1.3 Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones
- 1.4 Skulduggery Pleasant: Dark Days
- 1.5 Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil
- 1.6 Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer
- 1.7 Skulduggery Pleasant: Kingdom Of The Wicked
- 1.8 Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men
- 1.9 Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light
- 2 Short stories
- 3 Novellas
- 3.1 The End of the World
- 3.2 Tanith Low in... The Maleficent Seven
- 3.3 Armageddon Outta Here
- 3.3.1 Across a Dark Plain
- 3.3.2 The Horror Writers' Halloween Ball
- 3.3.3 The Lost Art Of World Domination
- 3.3.4 Gold, Babies And The Brothers Muldoon
- 3.3.5 The Slightly Ignominious End To The Legend Of Black Annis
- 3.3.6 Friday Night Fights
- 3.3.7 Myosotis Terra
- 3.3.8 The Wonderful Adventures of Geoffrey Scrutinous
- 3.3.9 Just Another Friday Night
- 3.3.10 The End Of The World
- 3.3.11 Trick Or Treat
- 3.3.12 Get Thee Behind Me, Bubba Moon
- 3.3.13 The Button
- 4 New covers
- 5 Awards
- 6 Reviews and reception
- 7 Film adaptations
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Skulduggery Pleasant: Sceptre of The Ancients
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 cocky, arrogant, fireball throwing, 400 year old detective named Skulduggery Pleasant, who just so happens to be a walking skeleton, 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.
Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire
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...
Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones
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...
Skulduggery Pleasant: Dark Days
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.
Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil
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...
Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer
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.
Skulduggery Pleasant: Kingdom Of The Wicked
Mortals all throughout the world are inexplicably obtaining magical powers, and the trail seems to lead to Arggedion, 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 idilyic 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, but 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, and to make things worse, Valkyrie starts having unintentional trans-dimensional jaunts to a world controlled by sorcerers, where mortals live in terror and Mevolent still lives. So, just another usual day then.
Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men
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.
This was the final book in the series and was released on 28 August 2014. 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 Valkyire 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.
The war may be over, but everyone knows the good guys win in the end.
Paperback Short Stories
The paperback releases of four of the eight novels so far have included an extra short story at the end.
- Skulduggery Pleasant included The Lost Art of World Domination
- Playing with Fire included Gold, Babies And The Brothers Muldoon
- The Faceless Ones included The Slightly Ignominious End to The Legend Of Black Annis
- Mortal Coil included The Wonderful Adventures of Geoffrey Scrutinous.
These four stories (along with The Button, Myosotis Terra, and Trick or Treat) were published in the short story collection, titled 'Armageddon Outta Here', on 3 July 2014.
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.
Trick or Treat
In October 2011, Derek Landy posted a Halloween special, a short story featuring Tanith Low and Billy-Ray Sanguine and titled Trick or Treat, on his blog. It is a prelude to The Maleficent Seven as it deals with The God-Killer Weapons.
Derek Landy announced on 14 December that available on his blog from 21–22 December 2012, would be a short story relating to the Mayan 2012 apocalypse theory. It is called "The Button" and feat it. It will be included in the short story collection. ...
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 Book 6. 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.
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
Sometime after Book 1: Scaramouch Van Dreg manages to capture Skulduggery Pleasant.
Gold, Babies And The Brothers Muldoon
Sometime after Book 2: The Muldoons kidnap babies and hold them to ransom.
The Slightly Ignominious End To The Legend Of Black Annis
Sometime after Book 3: Tanith Low encounters Black Annis for the first time.
Friday Night Fights
Sometime before Book 4: The story of how Valkyrie Cain and Caelan met each other.
Sometime after Book 4: Skulduggery and Valkyrie search for Myosotis Terra.
The Wonderful Adventures of Geoffrey Scrutinous
Sometime after Book 5: Geoffrey Scrutinous and Skulduggery Pleasant search for Elwood Satchel.
Just Another Friday Night
Sometime before Book 6: Tane Aiavao and Hayley Skirmish meet with a cursed family.
The End Of The World
Sometime after Book 6: 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.
Get Thee Behind Me, Bubba Moon
Sometime after Book 7: A haunted house is investigated.
Sometime after Theatre of Shadows: Skulduggery and Valkyrie attempt to avert the cause of the world's destruction.
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. The new covers can be viewed at Waterstones.com. Some were released with a short story set a few months after the plot of the novel. Landy has said 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.
Reviews and reception
As the first four novels released, immense popularity and positive reviews have been given to the novels. Many critics praised Derek Landy's way of writing due to his large gallery of characters. Some critics and their comments are below:
- 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.
- "Kingdom Of The Wicked: Skulduggery Pleasant Book 7 by Derek Landy". Dymocks.com.au. 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "HarperCollins extends Landy deal". Thebookseller.com. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "Skulduggery Book 9 -- title announcement". YouTube. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "Blog Post - Trick or Treat". Dereklandy.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "The Button", Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress, 21 December 2012.
- "Blog Post - The End of the World". Dereklandy.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress: Short Story Collection". Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress: BEHOLD, MINIONS!!". 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.
- "Books, Textbooks, eBooks and eReaders at Waterstones.com". Waterstones.com. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "KOTW Paperback", Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress, 13 November 2012.
- "Red House Children's Book Award". Redhousechildrensbookaward.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "Bolton Children's Book Award 2008 at Bolton Literacy Trust". Boltonliteracytrust.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "YTF 2008". Staffordshire.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "Longer novel section for year 8/9 pupils". Portsmouth.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Ardagh, Philip (7 April 2007). "Review at The Guardian". London.
- "Review at the Whitby Gazette". Whitbygazette.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Hardyment, Christina (20 April 2007). "Review at The Independent". London.
- "Short Review at the Times". The Times (London). 31 March 2007.