Hi! My name is Anna, "You'd really like me if you got to know me. I've known me for years and I love me."
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 concerned it's long, but you get my drift) filled with exciting fun! (*this time I know it's for real, I've got to break free!*)
“Doors are for people with no imagination” – Skulduggery Pleasant
“The only currency worth anything is being true to yourself, and the only goal worth seeking is finding out who you truly are.” – Uncle Gordon
WARNING – this review is a collection of random notes and quotes, that should allow you to get a feel of that book.
WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE?
Stephanie is a 12 years old girl with an attitude and an appetite for adventure. I’ve connected with that little girl far more than with a majority of characters in books for which I’m a target audience. She’s interesting, curious, courageous, but at the same time not free of doubts or fears – she concurs them (unlike some characters that are TSTL apparently, and have a sensitivity of a brick. Is being born with no survival instinct a predisposition for becoming an awesome heroin that always triumphs? – Stephanie has a common sense!)
What do we learn about her in the beginning?
“Ever since she was a child, she had much preferred her own company to the company of others”
“Her first year of secondary school had just come to a close, and she was looking forward to the summer break. She didn’t like school. She found it difficult to get along with her classmates—not because they weren’t nice people, but simply because she had nothing in common with them. And she didn’t like teachers. She didn’t like the way they demanded respect they hadn’t earned. Stephanie had no problem doing what she was told, just so long as she was given a good reason why she should.”
I liked her from the get go (probably because she resembles me quite a lot, or is it the other way around? Nvm). Isn’t that logic brilliant! At that point she won me over.
Then she meets a man. (*dramatic voice * a man with a plan – just kidding, no plan, but he’s full of awesome). An interest sparks.
“Strong willed, intelligent, sharp-tongued, doesn’t suffer fools gladly … remind you of anyone?”
“Interesting,” he said. “Because those are the exact words he used to describe you.”
She managed to have an attitude without acting cocky or obnoxious. Interactions between her and Skulduggery were hilarious.
“Stephanie, I’m not altogether sure you’re respecting my authority.”
“Yes, I’m not.” XD
I loved her unflinching logic of a child “How can you talk? You move your mouth when you speak, but you’ve got no tongue, you’ve got no lips, you’ve got no vocal cords. I mean, I know what skeletons look like – I’ve seen diagrams and models and stuff – and the only thing that hold them together are flesh and skin and ligaments, so why don’t you just fall apart? [...] And about, you know, nerve endings? Can you feel pain?[…] Do you have a brain?” Children have that amazing quality – they’re curious and tend to question things. Lovely. I missed that, the consistent world I could immerse myself in. Crazy little cogs in the back of my mind are still doing a happy dance. Coherence bitches! You’ve heard of it? All thanks to inquisitive questions of a 12 year old (well, I guess that speaks volumes about my mental development. I have a mindset of a primary school kid, apparently, for whenever I encounter discrepancies or chasms in the world building I seem to lose my collective shit.) Ergo, good for me Derek Landy did a wonderful job of developing a comprehensible and interesting world.
I love Suldaggery (Isn’t Skulduggery Pleasant the coolest name?)
Mr. Pleasant, you’re a skeleton.”
“You know, I met your uncle under similar circumstances. Well, kind of similar. But he was drunk. And we were in a bar. And he had vomited on my shoes. So I suppose the actual circumstances aren’t overly similar, but both events include a meeting, so … My point is, he was having some trouble and I was there to lend a hand, and we became good friends after that. Good, good friends.”
His head tilted. “You look like you might faint.”
Stephanie nodded slowly. “I’ve never fainted before, but I think you might be right.”
“Do you want me to catch you if you fall, or … ?”
“If you wouldn’t mind.”
“No problem at all.”
Stephanie’s thoughts are for the win.
“Do you know anything about engines?” Stephanie asked. (her mother)
“That’s why I have a husband, so I don’t have to. Engines and shelves, that’s why men were invented.”
Stephanie made a mental note to learn about engines before she turned eighteen. She wasn’t too fussed about the shelves.” I LOVE her thought process!
HOW ABOUT WRITING?
Descriptions are eloquent, but Stephanie sounds and acts like a 12 year old girl. Landy managed to convey her age in speech patterns, that did wonders for the realism of characters. She’s not a sudden superhero or a whiny annoying little girl. That is pretty hard to pull off, to find that balance. I loved the way she just rolled with the whole “meeting a skeleton” situation (right after she got over the shock – and there was a minor shock, I tell you – see, makes sense!) The author conveys personalities of all characters with ease.
There are fun bits of writing. One of the things I suspected would be interesting/hilarious were presumed problems with having a skeleton as a hero. Namely – face expressions. We can experience the delight of unconventional descriptive sentences like “If he’d had eyebrows, they would most likely have been arched.” or ”If he’d had eyelids, he might well be blinking.” *chuckles* Little joys of life…
Still not convinced the writing is nice? LEST! The author uses fucking “lest” in that book. I can’t even remember seeing it lately outside of English grammar lessons (Hmmm, and still the word order in sentences baffles me 0.o Meh.). She managed to keep her mother’s attention off the house, lest she notice that the front door was merely leaning against the door frame. There, if you’ve been reading a lot of badly written books, you might not even remember how it looks.
Ok, at this point I’m a little bit uninspired. (*gasp* what a shocking admission) I think I’ll just stop now. The book was nice. I had fun. The whole thing unfolds and develops very nicely. Not too slow, not too fast. At no point are we force-fed the ‘nausea inducing enormous world building information set’ (shit! WTF? Ok, my grammar took a day of. I have no idea what a correct word order would be in this sentence. Please accept my deepest apologies.)
Heh, fine, just… THE END. There. It almost doesn’t look as if a rabid dog chewed off an eloquent conclusion. ( Smooth Anna, very smooth *pats myself on the back* )
*In my defence I plan to come back to this review once my cerebral hemispheres stop sulking and start communicating once again.
EDIT: It's a solid piece of writing with filled with nice, well developed characters, a lot of action, funny dialogues, descriptive language, consistent world-building and cookies (view spoiler) Characters that feel real, distinctive and act their age! (Stephanie, one of a few children I don't feel the urge to murder.)