Scepter of the Ancients by Derek Landy
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “That is an incredibly ugly and gaudy cover, there is no way that any book with an author worth their salt would allow this to happen. It must be terrible.” At least, that’s what I thought when my brother brought it home. But little did I know that a) There are actually several other covers that are much better looking, and b) IT IS A GREAT BOOK THAT STARTS A FANTASTIC BOOK SERIES. All of the books are filled with style, fun, flair, wit, and humour.
The book follows Stephanie Edgely as she discovers an underground world of magic after the death of her uncle with his old friend; a literal skeleton named Skulduggery Pleasant. “Scepter of the Ancients” is an awesome adventure and fantasy novel that really works to avoid several of the tropes that are seen so often in the genre! The main character, Stephanie, is relatable, strong, and quirky without being ‘the chosen one who is also not like other girls and really hot but like,,, not in a conventional way’. In fact, unneccessary passages about her physical features are nonexistent. Instead, they let you fall in love with her as a character. All of the supporting characters are unique and loveable in their own ways, the setting is creative and plausible, and I highly enjoyed the atmosphere/mood. All of these elements are tied together with the clever writing and charm. This goes for all the books in the series, but “Scepter of the Ancients” has a particularly gripping plot!
As for reading age, I think that it is much like Harry Potter: appropriate for young readers, but still appealing to older ones! (There is some gore and it features darker themes, so keep that in mind.) Overall, I have loved this book to pieces, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the fantasy or adventure genres, or anyone looking for a fun read!
To end off, here’s some of the good covers. (“Scepter of the Ancients was originally released with the title “Skulduggery Pleasant”.)