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Scepter of the Ancients (Skulduggery Pleasant #1)

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  34,540 Ratings  ·  2,750 Reviews

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant

Ace Detective
Snappy Dresser
Razor-tongued Wit
Crackerjack Sorcerer
Walking, Talking, Fire-throwing Skeleton -— as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old.

These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.

The end of the world?

Over his dead body.

Paperback, 392 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published April 3rd 2007)
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George I'm about 4 times your age, and didn't find it too childish to enjoy. I did find excessive the coincidences and unlikely chances that were required to…moreI'm about 4 times your age, and didn't find it too childish to enjoy. I did find excessive the coincidences and unlikely chances that were required to produce the multiple hairsbreadth escapes from death or capture when convenient--and the opposite in the minority of encounters, whatever was convenient to the plot! But those mar plenty of action fiction aimed at adults.

However, despite Dugglyn Carzainia's answer to this question, I don't intend to read the sequels. One was enough for me.(less)
Tweed It's not quite as good as Harry Potter. The dialog in this book is wittier, but the characters are less complex.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 25, 2013 Booknut rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"So you won't keep anything from me again?"
He put his hand to his chest. "Cross my heart and hope to die."
"Okay then. Though you don't actually have a heart," she said.
"I know."
"And technically, you've already died."
"I know that too."
"Just so we're clear."

When Stephanie Edgley’s Uncle Gordon – a writer of horror novels – passes away, she meets his one-time friend Skulduggery Pleasant…who just happens to be a skeleton wizard-detective, that believes he is invincible and has the world’s bigg
Feb 28, 2015 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Helen by: A good friend that I will always thank

“Doors are for people with no imagination.”

I will always remember when I first read this. It was back in 2009. I was over at a friend's house when her older sister, Emma, recommended it to me. "I just know you'll love it," she told me when she handed her copy over.

You have to understand that, at this point, I wasn't a big reader. Yeah I didn't mind reading, but I also didn't love it. I didn't sit down for hours on end with a book in my hand. I didn't value the power of words as much as I do no
Apr 13, 2009 Qt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved discovering this book; I thought it had a very fun mixture of magic, action, creepiness, and humor--plus, I really love the title character :-)
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I have had the print book on my bookshelf for years, but I decided to try the audiobook from my library as this looked like it would be fun to listen to. Turns out I was right. This was a lot of fun. The narrator was great. He had a delicious Irish accent, although he modified it to suit other characters. I liked his sort of flat tone he used for Skulduggery, making him sound kind of ironic and mysterious, like there was a lot going on under the surface.

At first, it's a bit odd. There's some wei
Mar 29, 2016 LaylaNoir rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya
I really tried to like this book. I really did.
I failed.

My major issue was that it was all 150% predictable.

The story felt like I had read it all before: A little Harry Potter with a little Mission Impossible and a pinch of X-Men and a grain of blabla.

The character writing was superficial and especially the heroine, Stephanie, did not convince me at all.

Flat, unlikeable, unbelievable, one-dimensional.

From one day to the next, she lives in a world she didn't know existed, and guess what?
“Doors are for people with no imagination.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
When I grow up I want to be Stephanie Edgley.

High Points.
Skulduggery Pleasant. Stephanie. Banter, so much banter. Dublin. Witty prose. Canary Cars. Supporting characters. Cloak and daggers shizz. Willpower. Magic. Raising Cain. The Girl from Ipanema. A fantastic start to a promising series.

Low Points.
As much as I love Skulduggery and Stephanie, I would have liked there to have been more time spent with the other character
Skulduggery Pleasant is Derek Landy's first book for children, and the second is already in the can, which is a Very Good Thing. His characters are broadly drawn, meaty, yet precise - like Chinese calligraphy done with a big fat brush dripping with ink. The dialogue is snappy, with some fun deconstructionist bits; and the plot is just twisty enough: not even the very close listener Mr. Four could find any holes.

But the real revelation here is Skulduggery Pleasant himself, a several-hundred-year-
Jan 23, 2014 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
[Note: from the charming Georgina's comments on this review, I've come to believe I am too far outside the age range. I still believe what I wrote, it's just that the concerns of my review are mostly irrelevent to the book's average reader. Cheers!]

Disappointing. The title/name and the cover illustration really appealed to me, but the book was generic and unbelievable from the start. I suppose some could be forgiven considering that the intended audience appears to be maybe 11 year olds (?), but
Laura Evlolle
Dec 28, 2015 Laura Evlolle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Es war richtig cool und super witzig! Ich freue mich schon auf Band 2. :)
Yuli Atta
Jul 24, 2016 Yuli Atta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bulgarian review

Right now I don't feel like I need to express myself at all.
5 stars says it all ^^
AnHeC the Paperback Obliterator
Word count: about 68 000
Rating: I’ll finish you like a cheesecake

For me it’s 3,5 * - keep in mind that it’s a positive rating. I liked that book. I really did.

The grand haze had been lifted! I come to tell you of a good book (no, don't shut your doors in my face, not that book, come on!). If you want a break from all the romance and drama (*I want to break feeeeeeeeeeee!*) of many today's books, you're in a right place! It's a pretty short book (well, as far as children's books are concern
Alicia O'Carrick

"There's no such thing as winning or losing. There is won and there is lost, there is victory and defeat. There are absolutes. Everything in between is still left to fight for."

Well, that was...just buckets of fun.

There is so much that I love about this book that I'm not sure where to start. I guess I could try with how enjoyable and fast-paced the story is. Even though there's not much world-building, in no way was I ever confused about the characters and their situation. This much is really al
Mike (the Paladin)
Interesting odd little book, a dead wizard...sort of. Well, I mean he's a skeleton, and you know, no skin or organs...but he's not really dead. Sort of.

Is this a kids book? It did strike me as odd how the reaction to a walking, talking skeleton didn't freak Stephanie out more completely.

Not a bad book, help track down the Faceless ones...if you dare. hee hee hee ... (or is that bwa-ha-ha?)

Some have suggested that there are some similarities between the Faceless Ones and Lovecraft's Great Old One
Aug 20, 2016 Kristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Страшно забавна книга!

Имаше много действие, битки и всякакви епични неща. Самите герои бяха изключително добре измислени, хубаво странни и остроумни.

Скълдъгъри е мега големият пич, но ако трябва да съм напълно честна, Танит Лоу ми е най-любимият герой от книгата. Страшно ми хареса колко борбено и готино мъжко момиче е!

Стефани малко ме дразнеше на моменти с всичкото си оплакване, мрънкане и досадничене, ама все пак е на 13. Простено й е :D

Имайки предвид, че поредицата е от цели 9 книги, все ощ
Kimberley doruyter
a re-read and like always so worth the time
Jul 17, 2014 Kaethe marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I wish I'd loved this because the name Skulduggery Pleasant is probably the best name ever.

Library copy
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
One of the best children's urban fantasy books ever. The plot is interesting, the heroine strong and intelligent (and a girl!), and the book is genuinely funny. I listened to the audio version and the reader is exceptional. I laughed out loud many times and couldn't wait to listen to the next one.
*** Review available by request for those on my Friend list ***
Cait (Paper Fury)
There is a lot of awesome in this book. Yes, yes there is. I'm pretty extra sure I'll be continuing with this series because: HUMOUR! FINALLY!! I don't know what it is, but most books don't get into the real dry sarcastic epic humour. And it's a shame because dry humour is. the. best. Skulduggery and Stephanie are the most epic banter pair of ever. I'm still giggling over Skulduggery's quips.

Like this:
Skulduggery: "Things are going to get a bit rougher from here on in, and I need someone to f
I loved this book! I found it listed on one of Goodreads' best audiobooks lists, and boy were they right. I'm sure I would have enjoyed the story in print as well. It's the kind of story I like, with a plucky but slightly snarky kid and a cool magical mystery. And Skulduggery just takes it over the top with his cool lines and risky moves. But listening to the book as read by the incredible Rupert Degas made it extraordinary. He made every character feel totally real. Skulduggery is cool, funny a ...more
So deliciously entertaining!!! I really loved the whole experience of this book. The story is excellent, and the narrator is outstanding, bringing this to a solid five stars from me.

This is the story of twelve-year-old Stephanie, who inherits her beloved but somewhat mysterious author uncle's fortune and estate after his sudden death. The unusual stranger at the reading of the will catches her eye--his voice, his mannerisms, his name (who is named Skulduggery Pleasant, after all!?), all so stran
Feb 13, 2014 Desinka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a perfect book for kids and not just. I loved every minute of it. Witty and hilarious and so much fun to read. There were more witty repartees in this book alone than in the sum total of my last 10 reads.

Rupert Degas did a wonderful job as a narrator. He managed to convey the author's sense of humour with great skill. Then this guy is not bored by the book he's narrating, he does wonders!
Nikki Naddy
Ich bezeichne es als Fantasythriller und geschrieben ist es einfach brilliant
Nov 15, 2014 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Pranta Ghosh Dastider
Skeleton Rolls with wit and fun
Little girl joins to make a run,
Together they succeed and together they fail
Others make attempts strong or frail!
Clues come along and actions done
Skulduggery Pleasant is fun fun and fun.

Oh dear Skulduggery, how Pleasant have you made me!!

There are stories that make you think and then there are stories that make you happy. Surly this book falls in the second kind. I was happy more than I was thoughtful, and in this cruel world that's an achievement indeed.

Katri Mei
Apr 10, 2016 Katri Mei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Всеки би трябвало да очаква, че детективите (частните) са странни, някак особени, крият повече тайни от всеки друг и разследват престъпления, с които полицията няма как да се заеме.
Но в този случай детективът е много повече от странен и крие много повече тайни, от който и да е друг в жанра...то изобщо в неговия жанр има ли друг?

"Скълдъгъри Плезънт" (Студио Арт Лайн, 2010) е първата книга на Дерек Ланди и първото мое потапяне в света на великият детектив-ма
Kimberley doruyter
she is irratating and he is weird.
i... am in love.
i know this is not written for people my age but i really enjoyed it.
i giggled and gasped well worth the read!

a re-read in august after a lot of dissapointing books it's good to go back to something you know you already love.
Kimberley doruyter
becomes better and better every time i read it.
An Odd1
May 27, 2013 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
5* so I read more. "Skulduggery Pleasant" is a skeleton, magician, detective, and mentor to his just-murdered friend's heir, niece Stephanie Edgeley 12, "wise beyond your years" p318 on summer break, resident of small town Haggard, east coast Ireland. Author Derek Landry, karate black belt, teaches children self-defense "for his own munchkin army" (back fold blurb) so I'll back down on doubt when the girl runs, kicks, punches, and out-fights supernatural army led by wicked Adept Nefarian Serpine ...more
Jul 17, 2007 Kadrin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
This book is absolute fun from beginning to end. It has a sweepingly fast pace without feeling rushed, all kinds of epic drama without feeling melodramatic, horrific monsters (I'm thinking of one in particular, but it's a spoiler) without being too dark, and brilliant banter without not having brilliant banter. While a children's book, it can definitely be enjoyed by all ages. The strong female characters (both Stephanie and Tanith Low are my heroes), warnings against violence and revenge, and i ...more
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Is this becoming a movie? 1879 1092 Jul 31, 2016 04:43AM  
Fiction, young ad...: you must have read this book! 1 1 May 04, 2016 12:38PM  
Skulduggery Pleasant: Skulduggery Pleasant Book 1 38 63 Jan 23, 2016 11:44AM  
How awesome is this book!? 2 10 Nov 19, 2015 09:53PM  
The Page Turners: Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy and Tom Percival 2 4 Aug 22, 2015 11:09AM  
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Derek Landy is an Irish writer and screenwriter. In addition to the bestselling children's/YA series of Skulduggery Pleasant books, a supernatural mystery series starring Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton detective, and Valkyrie Cain, a young female magician, he has written two screenplays that have been made into films: the IFTA award winning "Dead Bodies" and the IFTA nominated "Boy Eats Girl". L ...more
More about Derek Landy...

Other Books in the Series

Skulduggery Pleasant (10 books)
  • Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, #2)
  • The Faceless Ones (Skulduggery Pleasant, #3)
  • Dark Days (Skulduggery Pleasant, # 4)
  • Mortal Coil (Skulduggery Pleasant, #5)
  • Death Bringer (Skulduggery Pleasant, #6)
  • Kingdom of the Wicked (Skulduggery Pleasant, #7)
  • Last Stand of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant, #8)
  • The Dying of the Light (Skulduggery Pleasant, #9)
  • Untitled (Skulduggery Pleasant, #10)

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“Doors are for people with no imagination.” 979 likes
“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.”
More quotes…