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Skulduggery Pleasant

by Derek Landy

Published by HarperCollins, 2007
392 pages
ISBN: 0061231150

Ages 10-14

One of the most intriguing book jackets of the year (a dapperly dressed skeleton holding a ball of fire with the caption “And he’s the Good Guy” beneath) more than lives up to expectation in this highly entertaining, wholly original fantasy featuring a smart, strong-willed girl as protagonist. Stephanie Edgely is hardly prepared for news that she has inherited her uncle’s mansion after his untimely death. Even more surprising is the realization that the inheritance brings with it grave danger, along with entré into a world of magic and mayhem that Stephanie never knew existed. As evil forces seek out a key that is part of Stephanie’s inheritance, she is protected by Skullduggery Pleasant, an old friend of her uncle’s who becomes her self-appointed bodyguard and tutor in all things good and evil. It turns out the key in question is needed as part of the grand plan of Mevolent, who is trying to return to power, and doing a pretty good job of succeeding. When Skullduggery tries to keep Stephanie out of harm’s way, she’s having none of it. Stephanie is not only eager for a little excitement, it turns out she has quite an untapped talent for magic. Theatrical violence and moments of high tension are part of the nonstop action in a story grounded in the warm and dryly funny relationship between Stephanie and Skullduggery.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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