Saturday Story of the Week
A more lighthearted (yet dark) Saturday Story about skeleton detectives, vampires, Faceless Ones, and other monstrous productions of Derek Landy’s imagination.
His best selling book, Skulduggery Pleasant on Monday won Irish Book of the Decade in an internet poll. He’s marshalled his hoardes of young fans to vote and it worked. Post-Harry Potter children’s fiction has real market and voting power. Major films will follow. Skulduggery the fast-talking skeleton is going to get very famous methinks.
I happen to have read all three in the series and have just started the fourth – my excuse being reading to my younger daughter who loves Landy. I can see why.
Its funny, creative, scary, fast-moving, witty, full of imaginative characters and written subversively in that the heroine, Valkyrie Cain, leads a daring world-saving double life (quite literally but you’ll have to read the book) with her parents blissfully unaware of the ‘real’ world she inhabits. It is also determinedly realistic and Landy has for this reason rooted it in a familiar Irish setting.
Like Harry Potter (but at a more ‘action packed’ humourous level) there are magic forces at war ‘behind the scenes’ of everyday life. It ain’t remotely Christian (in fact I’m sure many Christians would not like it at all), but it seems to me that the Christian story is so deeply ‘true’ that it is hard to tell any great story of good vs evil without ‘echoes’ of the gospel being heard all over the place. They were resounding in Harry Potter, and while more muted in Skullduggery (the good guys are a mixed bunch at best), they are there if you keep your ear open.
Or, as someone suggested to me recently, should Christians not read this sort of ‘pagan’ anti-spiritual stuff?