genre: middle grade horror
When Stephanie's horror-novelist uncle passes away, her life changes surprisingly drastically. This is because in the wake of this tragedy she meets a talking skeleton. Yes. You read that correctly. His name is Skulduggery Pleasant and he was once dead. But now, instead of dead, he is a snarky and brilliant (and rules-bending) detective who is out to figure out what's behind Uncle Gordon's death. And he needs a side-kick, right? Especially because unbeknownst to Stephanie, there is some ancient, evil magic at work and it's going to take the two of them to face it down.
I listened to this on a long road trip with my 12 year old son, my 10 year old son and my 60 something year old mother. We ALL enjoyed it. The writing is sharp and the plot moves quickly. The world building is unique but not too complicated. The banter between Stephanie and Skulduggery is so fun and just Skulduggery himself had us laughing out loud. The audio book is INCREDIBLY well done. I put that in all caps because I think the narrator's voice was top notch - the variety of voices was amazing! I would love to listen to something else that he's done.
One note for sensitive parents (like myself) - there are some swears in here, some *d* words and I think a few *h* words. Whenever we heard them I just told my sons we don't say that word :) And it is a dark story - there are some intense and mildly gory moments. However, there is also a lot about doing hard things for the greater good and friendship and one quote actually made me TEARY in my car, when I thought about how hard it is to face great evil but that if no one is willing to be brave and do just that, evil will always win. My sons would BEG for it every time we got in the car and I was happy to oblige and that, for me, means that this author did something right.