A book series of nine, of which eight have been published so far.The books revolve around Skulduggery Pleasant, 'the Skeleton Detective', a sorcerer who has been dead for several hundred years and now lives as a reanimated skeleton, and his sidekick Stephanie Edgley, a twelve year old girl.When Stephanie's uncle, famous horror writer Gordon Edgley, dies, she is left both his mansion and his fortune. But following the reading of his will, and the sighting of a strange man in an overcoat, she starts to discover the world her Uncle was really involved in: the books he wrote weren't as fictional as their fantastic plots let on, as becomes clear through the mounting pile of strange events she witnesses, starting with a break in at the mansion. Determined to find out what's going on, she enlists the help of Skulduggery Pleasant, wisecracking detective, to show her the new world she has stumbled upon: magic.Stephanie soon finds herself drawn into the crazy underworld of sorcery that exists within the undercurrents of Ireland as she discovers her own magical ability and becomes partners with Skulduggery Pleasant, even taking on the name Valkyrie Cain. As she faces the wonders and terrors of the magical world, Valkyrie soon discovers that sometimes magic's not all that it's cracked up to be.The books so far are:
Skulduggery Pleasant (entitled Scepter of the Ancients in the US)
Playing with Fire
The Faceless Ones
The End of the World (novella written for World Book Day 2012)
Kingdom of the Wicked
Tanith Low in the Maleficent Seven (separate short novel focusing on Tanith Low, not considered part of the main nine novel storyline but fitting into the timeline between Kingdom of the Wicked and Last Stand of Dead Men, and also introduces several characters and plot elements that are brought back in Last Stand)
Last Stand of Dead Men
Armageddon Outta Here (a planned short-story collection and novella)
The Dying of the Light (the final book, to be released August 28th, 2014)
Alternate Universe: Skulduggery gets sent to a parallel world at the end of The Faceless Ones and Valkyrie spends most of Kingdom of the Wicked being shunted into another universe in which Mevolent never died. China is the leader of the resistance, Skulduggery is still Lord Vile, Serpine is alive and Baron Vengeous is married to a crazier version of Eliza Scorn.
Always a Bigger Fish: Ghastly is strong. Turns out, the Diablerie's Brute is stronger. But it's ok, because Mr Bliss is even stronger. The Faceless Ones then come in and win the fight immediately.
The Death Bringer for the Necromancers, although they don't quite think of him/her in that way. They believe the Death bringer will be able to eliminate death itself and bring about paradise. All it involves is killing half the population of the world.
Skulduggery: I'm placing you under arrest for murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and, I don't know, possibly littering.
Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Darquesse of all people. The epic Evil Versus Evil showdown between her and Lord Vile in Death Bringer almost gets put on pause because she gets distracted by a helicopter, and decides to beat it up instead, forgetting about Lord Vile as she flies off.
Awesome McCoolname: Most of the people in the magical world. Justified as they choose their own names.
Berserk Button: Don't threaten Valkyrie in front of Skulduggery. Or Skulduggery in front of Valkyrie. Or lay a finger on Valkyrie's mother, if you don't want bothDesmond and Valkyrie beating the shit out of you. Or harm China if Mr Bliss is around. Or damage China's books.
The Faceless Ones, for the first three books. Insane, murderous gods bent on destroying reality for their capricious whims, their return was the subject of plots behind the first three books. They soon become Out of Focus after their appearance in, appropriately enough, The Faceless Ones.
Darquesse for the rest of the series (Although the Necromancers are involved heavily as Big Bads and have much more plot relevance for books 4 through 6), a powerful sorceror prophesied by Sensitives to bring ruin and catastrophe to the world with her hands. She is Valkyrie's Superpowered Evil Side and takes over whenever Valkyrie is in extreme duress and definitely has the power to ruin the world.
The Man With The Golden Eyes, a mysterious Man Behind the Man who works behind the scenes and helps initiate some of the schemes in several books, all to some nebulous plan to have mages create a new dominion over mortals. Revealed to be Erskine Ravel in Last Stand of the Dead Men.
Blue and Orange Morality: The Necromancers (Or at least, the experienced ones). This is because the passage is when the 'Death Bringer' uses Necromancy to kill 3 billion people at once. Solomon Wreath, possibly the closest thing to 'good' Necromancers have, is alright with killing 3 billion people, but not millions because then the plan wouldn't work. Valkyrie calls him out on this, but at the end of the book he's still up for it.
Body Horror: A Faceless One taking over someone's body. The host's face literally melts. Almost every other death in each of the five books can count, as some of them are quite... gruesome.
Break the Badass: Skulduggery at the end of Book Five, upon witnessing Lord Vile, still alive.
Brick Joke: In the first book, upon Skulduggery's first visit to Stephanie's room, he comments on the general untidiness of the place, causing Stephanie to kick some underwear underneath her bed. Two books later, Stephanie (Now Valkyrie) tells her reflection to hide underneath her bed. It comments on finding some of her missing underwear.
An absolutely hilarious one in Kingdom of the Wicked. Valkyrie shows Alternate Meritorious her phone, playing a game of Angry Birds. Later on in the book, Skulduggery tells Eliza Scorn that his phone has a secret passage finder on it. After she accidently gives away the secret passage, he reveals that his phone doesn't have any such program, saying that the only things phones are for is making calls and playing Angry Birds.
Or the part where The sparrow flies south for winter crops up, again, used also by Ghastly and Ravel, with a comment by one of them along the lines of "Wow, I can't believe that worked...".
Remember the nameless Mook from the first book who broke into Gordon's house, attacked Stephanie and eventually fell into a river, causing him to fall apart due to his fire-immunity? His name is finally revealed as Vindick Leather in The Maleficent Seven, over six books later.
The Deadpan Snarker boxing champ Ghastly Bespoke is actually a tailor. Think about that for a second.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Rare hero-on-villain version in 'The Lost Art of World Domination'. Scaramouche is crushed to discover Skulduggery doesn't list him as an Arch-Enemy, wasn't actually trying to stop his plans (they just happened to run into each other while Skul was on a different mission) and didn't even know Scaramouche was still alive.
Scapegrace is a prime example of this. Book 2, beaten up, arrested, misses a chance to escape. Book 3, freed, beaten up, arrested, beaten up in his cell, then is helped escape. Book 4, killed, reanimated as a zombie, embarrassed by the pathetic zombie horde he builds, burned in the face. In Book 5, he list of ways to come back to life quickly shrinks as science can't help, and nor can Kenspeckle. Book 6 Dr Nye won't help them, and he later ends up lost underground and gets decapitated by the White Cleaver. Book 7, Nye gives him a new body, but accidentally makes him a woman.
Vaurien Scapegrace. Taken to extremes in Death Bringer. He gets his head chopped off. He's still alive.
Even better: In book seven He wants to get transplanted into a new body, but Nye messes up/ wants to play a prank and he ends up in a woman's body...
Civil War: The war between the Irish Sanctuary and the Supreme Council at Last Stand of the Dead Men. Much is said of the two sides having friends on each side forced to fight each other.
Cliff Hanger: Pretty much standard for the end of each book if not a Wham Line to end things off though The Faceless Ones takes the cake with Skulduggery seemingly trapped within a parallel dimension with the Faceless Ones.
Skulduggery carries a gun as well as using magic, and is quite willing to use it against enemies who insist on melee weapons.
In book 4, Fletcher puts his teleportation to good use by teleporting away from attackers and coming back with increasingly effective weapons. Fletcher gets another moment of this in book six. He gets a baseball bat to hit vampire Caelan, but Caelan is too fast. So Fletcher starts swinging and then teleports to him, and away again before Caelan can hit back. Going for that axe was a bad idea, though.
In Mortal Coil, Craven mentions that he wears thermals underneath his Necromancer robes. We see them in Death Bringer when Valkyrie sets fire to them.
Eliza Scorn is mentioned in Mortal Coil. She's back in Death Bringer
The one thing that was able to defeat the White Cleaver was Lord Vile, Skulduggery's Superpowered Evil Side. When it returns as the Black Cleaver in Last Stand of Dead Men, it goes up against Skulduggery. Skulduggery wins, naturally enough, by using Necromancy.
Cool Car: Skulduggery's classic Bentley. Though at one point he's forced to swap it out for an absolutely terrible, bright green and yellow one.
And a hideous purple one in book 3.
It's suggested that he keeps a bunch hidden around. They're probably all just as terrible.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Pretty much all the villains, with some notable circumstances, but Eliza Scorn comes on top of them all by not trusting Jared Gallows completely, and stopping Valkyrie from being murdered by her church because she knows Skulduggery would hunt down whoever was responsible and their family/friends.
Apparently this happens to Finbar on a regular basis.
Diabolus ex Machina: In Last Stand, Dusk, having not appeared until then, ends up killing Moloch, meaning the vampire reinforcements the heroes were expecting aren't coming, and if they get free they have another problem.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In book 2, Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Tanith, Mr. Bliss, China, a small army of Cleavers, and a mage called the Torment manage to kill the Grotesquery, a creature partially constructed from the corpse of a Faceless One's host. In book 3, Valkyrie manages to kill two Faceless Ones using the Scepter of the Ancients, a weapon specifically designed to do so. Skulduggery manages to force the third back through the gate into their prison dimension by hitting it with a strong gust of wind.
At the end of Kingdom of the Wicked, Skulduggery manages to induce an epileptic fit in Argeddion and Darquesse, thus beating the most powerful sorcerers in the universe.
Dirty Coward: Necromancers, or at least the necromancer elite. They're willing to murder billions of people to cheat death themselves, simply because death terrifies them so.
Dissonant Serenity: In book 6, Death Bringer, Valkyrie is surprised at how calm she is after Melancholia tortures her. It's implied that Darquesse is the one calming her down.
They even call the Desolation Engine a weapon of mass destruction, and its development seems to recall what scientists working on nuclear bombs have said they felt about it.
In Book 5, Mortal Coil, Caelan the vampire kisses Val and becomes obsessed with her; hanging around her house and watching her family, and leaping to her defense with vim and vigor, thought she doesn't ask him to. It's faintly reminiscent of Edward Cullen in Twilight.
In Book 6, Death Bringer, she breaks up with him, telling him they're "not Edward and Bella". (Or Buffy and Angel.)
The zombies are massive sources of this.
Sanguine: Look at it swingin' there. For God's sake, man, put it away. That's disgusting.
Thrasher: I am who I am.
Sanguine: Hey, you go fly your freak flag high, but you just tuck that little bit of yourself back in so you don't scar no minds. Have some dignity. note They're talking about Thrasher's intestines.
The Dog Was the Mastermind: In Skulduggery Pleasant and the Faceless Ones, we find out early on that the elusive Batu is the man behind the Diablerie, but the mystery remains: Who the hell is Batu? It was a mortal Farmer who wanted to bring back the Faceless Ones as a means of getting his own magical powers.
Kingdom of the Wicked implies that Valkyrie's reflection is actually The Chessmaster.
Thrasher: [About being a zombie] We're happy the way we are. Scapegrace: Happy with power. Thrasher: Very happy, just the two of us, and there's nothing wrong with us either. It's very natural in fact. Nothing to be ashamed of- Scapegrace: Thrasher, shut up.
And the first book gives us this:
Serpine: ...What can I say? I crave instant satisfaction. I'm shallow like that.
Most of the books end with the heroes at least saving the day or postponing the inevitable. "The Faceless Ones" ends with Skulduggery being dragged into an alternate dimension currently home to Eldritch Abomination, evil Gods. "Mortal Coil" ends with Tanith being posssessed. "Last Stand of Dead Men" ends with Darquesse taking over Valkyrie, Ravel betraying and murdering his friends and what looks like Desmond finding out what his daughter has been doing for the past six years.
The Dreaded: Skulduggery himself. It's a large reason why Valkyrie's still alive. Also Lord Vile who is Skulduggery without any of the morals.
Darquesse is so powerful and terrifying that for a year and a half before she even surfaces every psychic on the planet starts to have horrifying visions of her ending the world. It goes downhill from there really...
Valkyrie and Melancholia at the end of Death Bringer. Kind of.
This also happens with Billy-Ray Sanguine a few times, most notably in Mortal Coil.
Skulduggery and Valkyrie team up with Serpine and China in the Alternate Universe.
The Sanctuary teams up with Kitana and her gang against Argeddion at one point.
Even the Girls Want Her: Gender seems to not have any effect on China's ability to make others fall madly in love with her. However, as it's not exactly romantic love all the time. More like helpless adoration, like a puppy.
On the other hand, it's worth mentioning that in Death Bringer, she says that she only employs unmarried/single mortals to make sure nobody leaves their partners over her. This includes the women.
Evil Me Scares Me: Valkyrie is really scared of becoming Darquesse... although the fear starts to get replaced by temptation in Book Six. When Skulduggery comes face-to-face with Lord Vile for the first time, it's enough to terrify him.
Stephanie, the reflection, starts to get very unhinged and scares the crap out of Valkyrie, who thinks her reflection is an evil counterpart holding her family hostage. Turns out later that Stephanie thinks that Valkyrie/Darquesse is the evil one and is terrified of her
All over the place in Death Bringer. Darquesse (evil Valkyrie) versus the Jitter Girls, Lord Vile (evil Skulduggery) versus the Death Bringer and (the most disturbing of the lot) Darquesse versus Lord Vile.
Darquesse and Vile take on Kitana's gang. Lord Vile fights Darquesse again when she tries to take off his armour. She rather enjoys it. This particular fight sequence also includes Well-Intentioned Extremist Argeddion, who probably still counts as evil given the number of people killed by his experiments, as a separate side altogether. Oh, and MEVOLENT.
Alternate Serpine joins the resistance and helps Skulduggery and Valkyrie (somewhat unwillingly). He still worships the Faceless Ones but thinks that Mevolent is insane.
Eye Scream: During their fight, Lord Vile sticks his thumb in Darquesse's eye.She lets him do it to see if it will heal. The Moral Guardians must be on holiday or something.
Family-Unfriendly Death: Some of the deaths, like the first book's water related death, seem just slightly on the creepy side considering the books' target audience. Another good example is in Book Three, when Mr. Bliss is grinded to a mush of bone and flesh by a Faceless One.
Most of the deaths in book five. Darquesse kicking Burgundy Dalrymple so hard in the jaw, that she literally boots his brain out of his head like a football, comes to mind.
Family-Unfriendly Violence: Every now and then. Special mention goes to Tanith getting nailed to a chair, Valkyrie getting cut all over to the point where she nearly bleeds to death, Lord Vile sticking his thumb in Darquesse's eye, everything involving Darquesse in Kingdom of the Wicked, numerous people getting graphically burned alive and Valkyrie losing limbs in Last Stand of Dead Men
Fan Disservice: The, err... butterfly from Kingdom of the Wicked. Also... Alternate Universe Serpine in his towel. And without it.
Fighting Your Friend: Valkyrie and Skulduggery versus Remnant!Tanith (and Remnant!Everyone Else for that matter) at the end of Mortal Coil. The end of Death Bringer brings us the far more disturbing battle between Darquesse and Lord Vile.
Book 2 keeps the same, but adds Gordon as an Eccentric Mentor (Although only Valkyrie and Skulduggery are aware), and makes Kenspeckle The Medic. Book 3 adds on Fletcher as a Tag Along Kid, but he gets promoted to Sixth Ranger in book four (After Mr. Bliss gets killed by a Faceless One. In book 5, Kenspeckle dies, and Tanith gets possessed, leaving the Five-Man Band. Gordon reveals himself to everyone, and officially becomes The Smart Guy, with Fletcher becoming The Chick in Tanith's place. Book 6 adds Nye as The Medic in Kenspeckle's place, although nobody trusts or likes him, with Caelan becoming Sixth Ranger. He also becomes a Sixth Ranger Traitor, which does stick, and forces Valkyrie and Fletcher to kill him.
In the first book Steph wakes up to Wagner's Ride of the Valkryies at thunderous volume, the day she gains her third name. In fact, in the very next paragraph she is wondering what name to take. Slightly later on somebody makes the statement that 'Trouble follows' in Skulduggery's wake. It's reasonable to guess that this foreshadows Valkyrie's second name, Cain, which is an intentional reference to her being troublesome, and at the point it's said Stephanie is basically just following Skulduggery around. Indeed Skulduggery describes her as "troublesome" very soon afterwards.
In the second book Tanith wonders what would top fighting a god, and in reply Valkyrie makes a comment about fighting two gods. They then proceed to fight more than one god in the next book.
The ball of energy that destroys the Sanctuary at the end of Dark Days is visible on the front cover of the paperback edition.
In Dark Days Solomon Wreath, Valkyrie's necromancer magic teacher and possessor of a rather better moral compass than most Necromancers (this is not hard) warns that if Lord Vile hears about the preparation of Valkyrie to become Death Bringer, he will come back to destroy them all. When he returns at the end of Mortal Coil, this is his stated intention according to Skulduggery.The Death Bringer is also the title of book six.
In book one, Skulduggery mentions a rare ability where a sorcerer can be both an Elemental and an Adept. He has it.
"You want to know my nature? It's a dark and twisted thing."
And most blatantly:
Valkyrie: You didn't tell me you had history with the Necromancers.
Skulduggery: I'm over 400 years old, I haven't told you a lot of things.
At the end of Book 5, Tesseract asks how Skulduggery knew Vile enough to have a conversation with him. He reveals that Skulduggery 'arrived' when Lord Vile was 'gone'. Cue the revelation of Book 6 where we find out Skulduggery WAS Lord Vile. In the same discussion, he asks if Lord Vile brought Skulduggery back from the dead with Necromancy. It wasn't Vile, but it was Necromancy, or rather, a Necromancer: Tenebrae.
Skulduggery threatens to shoot Craven in the head if he attempts to attack him and the other Sanctuary Agents. Guess who gets shot in the head by Skulduggery at the end of the book?
Lord Vile and Skulduggery Pleasant.
When Valkyrie is Only Mostly Dead and facing off Nye in Mortal Coil, she is incredibly overpowered and he warns her against using necromancy because she's 'a dead person'. Who is another person using necromancy while dead? Lord Vile. No wonder he was so powerful.
Skulduggery tends to do this after he's made a comment referring to death.
Skulduggery: "We're not dead yet. Well, I am, but the rest of you have a bit to go."
From book 5:
Doctor Nye: You'll forgive me if I don't make any jokes about how I've stolen your heart. I've used them all up on previous patients, I'm afraid. Rest assured, every last one of those jokes was suitably morbid and witty.
Desmond needs help getting Melissa an anniversary present so he asks Stephanie.
Stephanie: Well, what did you get her the year before that?
Desmond: A...a certain type of clothing. I forget.
Vex: Francoise. Remember her, Ghastly? Remember that weekend we couldn't find you? We thought Mevolent had snatched you away and was torturing you within an inch of your life. Valkyrie, would you like to know what he was really doing that weekend?
While trying to determine who Tanith is dating, Sanguine brings up Skulduggery's inability to keep a woman happy in that way. "He's got no skin, or lips or... or nothin'." Right...
Alternate Universe Serpine makes it rather obvious that he's having sex with Harmony.
The entirety of the "naked skeletons" conversation in Kingdom of the Wicked.
There's also a scene where Valkyrie is captured by a group of prisoners. Valkyrie is an attractive young woman, who they want to either kill or keep as a "hostage". Intended rape is pretty strongly implied, but not stated.
China changes in the back of a taxi. The driver actually whimpers.
In The Maleficent Seven, Billy-Ray Sanguine's reaction when Tanith's "past" is brought up certainly counts as this.
Tanith: I'm not even one hundred percent sure I recognise him.
Sanguine: You may have dated him at some point.
Tanith: I'm sorry?
Sanguine: Wouldn't be surprised. You seem to have dated most everyone else.
The radar seems to have been abandoned altogether in Last Stand of Dead Men.
Fletcher goes to see Stephanie in her room, utterly distraught. Stephanie kisses him. And then cut to the next scene where Fletcher has just left. Uh huh.
The scene also included Fletcher subtlety trying to ask Stephanie if Valkyrie and Caelan had sex. She doesn't answer.
Fletcher and the Brides of Blood Tears.
Skulduggery: And what do you want with young Mr Renn here, may I ask?
Ajuoga: He's a Teleporter. He's a natural. We want his blood.
Fletcher: I don't think so.
Ajuoga: We want his genes.
Fletcher: That one's a little more vague...
Ajuoga: We want him to breed with us.
Fletcher: *to Skulduggery* I reckon I'll be OK here on my own.
Dexter Vex even calls Erskine Ravel a "son of a bitch".
Solomon Wreath makes an offhand comment about Skulduggery's tendency to turn up outside Valkyrie's window uninvited being "unhealthy".
Valkyrie very subtly asking Scrapegrace how he's handling his period.
The interrogation of Davina Marr, in which Marr less that subtly implies that Tanith Really Gets Around and Tanith frowns and asks if Marr is "coming onto her".
Saracen Rue evaded the Butcher in the backstory by spending those days behind enemy lines sleeping with his wife.
Godzilla Threshold: Book Six a few instances of this. Melancholia is about to kill three billion people and they can't stop her. Skulduggery decided that it's time to give Lord Vile free reign. When it looks like Lord Vile is going overboard, Valkyrie lets out Darquesse to stop him. It ends surprisingly well considering the good guys unleashed two Godzillas on the world.
In Kingdom of the Wicked, stopping first Argeddion and later Kitana is deemed to be worth pretty-much anything. Argeddion anticipates this and does his best to neutralise both of the Godzillas they released last time. Neither of them works very well.
Headless Horseman: Mortal Coil features the Dullahan as the servant of a banshee: twenty-four hours after hearing the banshee's wail, the Dullahan drives up in his Coach-a-Bowers to get you. Anyone who enters the Coach-a-Bowers dies (though it is reversible, if you weren't supposed to.)
Hope Spot: A tragic example In Last Stand. It seems there might not be a war after all, and everything is going to work out-no, wait, never mind. Those Two Bad Guys just slit a foreign prisoners throat live on TV broadcasting everywhere. So close.
Hourglass Plot: Between Valkyrie and the Reflection. As the series progresses, Valkyrie has less and less of original Stephanie Edgley left, while the Reflection essentially becomes Stephanie.
What, pray tell, made Tenebrae think that putting a malevolent force of evil energy into a person, where it would probably break free, was a good idea? Especially since he tempted fate right after!
Valkyrie dating Caelan. Nice one.
Sanguine in The Faceless Ones has a flash grenade when he's captured so everyone will be blinded. It's a good trick, because he doesn't have eyes, but then the book notes: neither does Skulduggery. Previously, he revealed in the last book the fact that shackles have no effect on him, meaning he can't trick them with it in this book.
If I Do Not Return: Skulduggery has pulled this on Valkyrie, asking her amongst other things to not fiddle with the radio because he's just got it set right.
I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Played with in regards to Dusk, who fully embraces his vampire heritage (Or at least uses it without problem) but ends up killing his sire, Moloch, because he hated being made a vampire.
In the Blood: The usual effects are notably averted. While Stephanie is descended from the Ancients, it mostly doesn't mean much as she still has difficulty in using magic and has to learn it slowly. At one point, her blood line actually works against her.
And now, it may or may not indicate she is 'The Death Bringer', who necromancers believe will break down the walls between the worlds of the living and dead. The end also implies it might turn her kind of evil. No pressure, then.
Iron Buttmonkey: Tanith, when you think about it. Normal women are not supposed to survive being beaten up, stabbed, thrown into walls and cut up so many times.
Skulduggery: She'll be fine. Tanith Low has fallen off more cars than you've ridden in.
Word of God states he's doing it on purpose, as Tanith was meant to die in the first book (Killed by the White Cleaver). However, his agent said it was too depressing, so he brought her back on the condition he would be able to torture her in every book.
Scapegrace is still alive by the eighth book, outliving quite a few characters despite being the most unluckiest ever.
Jumped at the Call: Stephanie, though the second book seems to be setting up that this may not have been the best idea.
Katanas Are Just Better: Tanith's sword is apparently one. Her silhouette in the first book's cover makes it more obvious.
Kill It with Water: The logical way to kill someone who's fireproofed himself, apparently.
Killed Off for Real: Averted multiple times with Scapegrace, but played straight with (not including the Big Bads of each book) the Sanctuary Elders from book 1, Mr. Bliss, Davina Marr, Kenspeckle Grouse, the Torment, Tesseract, Caelan, Carol Edgley, Spring-Heeled Jack, Anton Shudder and Ghastly Bespoke.
Knowledge Broker: China Sorrows. Myron Stray used to be this before Mr. Bliss found out his true name.
Kung-Shui: Darquesse and Lord Vile basically demolish everything in the immediate vicinity.
Any fight involving anything to do with the Faceless Ones or the Ancients.
Ladykiller in Love: Billy-Ray Sanguine is a notable skirt chaser and getter, but he seems genuinely infatuated with Tanith, which is kinda cute. Then Tanith gets possessed by a remnant and runs off with him, and it gets pretty squicky.
Magic A Is Magic A: While the series hasn't gone into large amounts of detail as of yet, it seems to be going this way, with set types of magic used by specific people, for example, adepts and elementals. Subverted when Skulduggery reveals he's one of the few rare magic users who can use both Elemental and Necromancy magic after the Surge.
Book 5 says that magic is derived from one's true name.
Magic Is a Monster Magnet: The tunnels under Uncle Gordon's house are filled with various monstrosities attracted to magic and those that use it.
There's about three hundred years between Ghastly and Tanith, give or take a century or two. Though, given the age of most sorcerers, this is most probably still acceptable in their society.
On a somewhat more dysfunctional and squicky note, sixteen year old Valkyrie and one hundred year old Caelan.
Meaningful Name: Of a sort. Magic users can cast harmful spells on people if they know the person's given name. As a result, most of them take a second, self-chosen name (or a 'taken' name), as doing so means their 'given' name can no longer be used. Most of these names are not real names at all, but generally some form of cool-sounding descriptor.
Smart sorcerers use names that describe them; the less intelligent ones use names that sound cool. Skul knows a woman named Jet who was overweight.
Though she probably meant jet the stone, not jet the plane.
There is a third name that all people have, a 'true' name, and if someone learns that, God help you.
Valkyrie: What happened (to him)? Skulduggery: Mr. Bliss found out his true name.
The true name has a second role: learning your true name (and sealing it, preventing anyone from using it against you) means you can become much more powerful by being more connected to magic... but you get a little unhinged and develop a new personality which might have a god complex (Argeddion) or just be plain omnicidal (Darquesse)
The Medic: Kenspeckle. After he dies Doctor Nye fills this role. A Doctor Synecdoche becomes this for Valkyrie, since she refuses to be treated by Nye.
Ghastly: There was a rule that we had back then. You don't go up against Vile alone. You wait until your army is gathered behind you, you all attack together and you pray that someone gets in a lucky shot.
Tanith: Vile was that dangerous?
Ghastly: Maybe, maybe not. It's hard to separate the fiend from the legend, you know?
Mercy Kill: In Last Stand of Dead Men, Skulduggery does this to his own soldiers who were going to be burned alive by the Wretchlings.
And in Last Stand of Dead Men we have a cheerful and heartwarming chapter featuring the reunited Dead Men. Stories are told, laughs are had, misunderstandings are cleared up. And then they tell Valkyrie about an encounter they had with Lord Vile. Skulduggery grows very quiet.
Muggles: The third book plays up the split between muggles and magic users a lot.
This turns into a Mind Screw when you realise it was the Big Bad making the anti-magic comments all along.
Not so Above It All: Tenebrae, so far being a The StoicReasonable Authority Figure, who freely admits he's not one for gloating, expresses a certain amount of glee at 'scratching an itch' because he revealed to Valkyrie Lord Vile is Skulduggery, which until then only he knew, and how Skulduggery was brought back. By Tenebrae himself.
Oh Crap: A lot of these, usually about 3/4 of the way through every book when it looks like the world is basically screwed.
Skulduggery Pleasant is pretty much badass incarnate, a virtually unkillable Deadpan Snarker who's laughed in the face of every supernatural threat he has encountered, no matter how big the threat or how dwarfed he is in comparison. So to see him break down completely at the mere sight of Lord Vile is quite disturbing.
Skulduggery has beaten the crap out of Mevolent, Serpine, Scapegrace, and countless others over the years. Tesseract holds his own. Cue Oh Crap.
Tesseract doesn't just hold his own. He beats him.
Lord Vile killed Tesseract so technically Skulduggery didn't lose at all. Granted that makes it even more of a Oh Crap moment.
In Kingdom of the Wicked, Valkyrie thinks she hears Skulduggery coming to rescue her from Mevolent's palace. It turns out to be Alternate Universe Lord Vile.
Older than They Look: Almost all the main characters, and it's lampshaded in the first book. A good proportion of the cast even tick over into Really 700 Years Old territory. Valkyrie and Fletcher seem to be the only ones who avoid it, and even then...
One-Liner: If it's not exposition, the dialogue tends to be lots of these.
Our Liches Are Different: Liches don't really seem to exist in the series, but Lord Vile was an incredibly powerful, skeletal, undead necromancer who put a bit of himself into his armour to make it evil and magic.
Serpine experiments with necromancy and creates the white cleaver so he can kill and resurrect himself safely making him effectively immortal. It does nothing for his necromatic powers, just makes him really hard to put down
They're very normal during the day, but at night, they tear off their skin and become a pale-skinned, cat-like, savage monster. Sunlight doesn't kill them (salt water does), and apparently the best method is to just pump them full of bullets and hope for the best. This is pretty helpful against any enemy really.
This is actually referenced when the heroes start to trade off Fletcher for Thurid Guild in The Faceless Ones, with everyone, but Fletcher, aware the bad guys will try to doublecross them, so they'll do it first, and it really comes down to how many of them the winning side has. Batu had one more up his sleeve than the rest.
Although the one who really comes out on top in the end is Stephanie, aka the Reflection who manages to steal the Sceptre of the Ancients when no one was looking and thereby plant the seeds of her inevitable betrayal of Valkyrie. Better still, she does it all without anyone even realising she was involved!
The Man With The Golden Eyes AKA Erskine Ravel's plan seems pretty straightforward in a twisted way when revealed, but then it goes south when the Warlocks, who he purposely tried to goad into attacking mortals, do their own research, find out who really killed their brethren, and attack the sanctuary with a massive army.
Kenspeckle for Valkyrie. He occasionally tears Skulduggery out for not taking proper care of her.
Mr Bliss for China.
Parental Obliviousness: Granted she has her reflection to live her normal life, so her parents just think she's just a bit distant. Given that all the books are set during her teens, most parents would consider this normal.
The harbinger of doom known only as Darquesse, prophesised by worldwide Sensitives to be the one who will destroy the world. Anytime she takes control over Valkyrie she proves she's more than capable of doing so.
The Death Bringer, prophesied by the Necromancer Order to bring out the Passage and knock down the walls between life and death. This involves killing three billion people to clog up the cycle of death and ensure immortality for the remaining three billion.
In turn, China seems to genuinely care about Valkyrie and Skulduggery and actually hesitates before trying to kill Darquesse, even though she knows what she's capable of.
Platonic Life Partners: Valkyrie's relationship with Skulduggery is explicitly stated to be more important to her than any love interests. If Fletcher's correct, Skulduggery even gets the honour of being the first person she ever said "I love you" to and meant it.
Poor, Predictable Rock: One guy makes himself immune to fire. Results in seriously squicky results when he jumps in the water.
Power Nullifier: There are special handcuffs that can cancel out the magic of those who're cuffed with them, with the exception of Billy-Ray Sanguine.
Batu also has a ring made to block all magic that the wearer tries to use
Professional Killer: Tesseract. Differs from Billy-Ray Sanguine (see Psycho for Hire below) in that he is a consummate professional, he avoids killing anyone he hasn't been contracted for if he can help it, and tends to be very polite. Although the chapters written from his perspective show him in an entirely different light, making quite a few mistakes and making it seem as if he's bumbling through his job. None of the other characters pick up on this however, to them he's just an indestructible badass.
Older than They Look: Magic users. As an example, Tanith looks about twenty two, and is actually about eighty.
One of Us: Derek Landy is such a nerd. The shout outs have their own page.
Reality Ensues: Caelan acts like Edward, and though Valkyrie is at least initially attracted to him, she otherwise acts not like Bella, but like any normal human being would when confronted with his behavior (borderline stalking, obsessiveness, Purple Prose-style declarations of eternal love), and becomes progressively more uncomfortable around him.
Gordon Edgely tracks down a weapon used to kill gods and later commit genocide for his book. He then gets murdered for it.
The numerous times the heroes just save the day does not sit well with the other councils. It turns into a civil war when neither side backs down
Rule of Cool: Skulduggery is pretty much this personified. Take any aspect about him. He's an undead skeleton, who wears a suit and a hat, drives a vintage Bentley, and his favourite pastimes are shooting/punching people, setting them on fire and flying. This is his job. Oh, and he's saved the world a few times as well. Indiana Jones would be proud.
Oooh, Landy was having fun with this. After a little Ship Tease, China/Skulduggery was brutally sunk at the end Death Bringer. Skulduggery found out she handed his family over to Serpine and walked away while she was getting beaten to a bloody pulp by Eliza Scorn. Valkyrie/Caelan was also sunk. Valkyrie/Fletcher hit an iceberg but a life raft may be available.
Valkyrie/Fletcher seems quite thoroughly sunk after Kingdom of the Wicked, too. As is Valkyrie/Hansard.
The nail in the Chinduggery coffin was Last Stand of Dead Men.
The Last Stand of Dead Men could realistically be called The Last Stand of Fan Preferred Couples. So far, the list of ships to be sunk (brutally sunk) include Valkyrie/Fletcher, Ghastly/Tanith, China/Skulduggery, and probably any ship involving Valkyrie in fact.
If she bothered with idle conversation, she would have told the poor boy (Fletcher) that this thing with Valkyrie was never going to go anywhere, not when Skulduggery got back. Valkyrie's life revolved around Skulduggery now- she was caught in his orbit, and someone like Fletcher didn't have a chance. Skulduggery and Valkyrie were meant for each other. China could see that now. They were meant to find each other, to form this bond and affect each other's lives. The best the boy could hope for, the best anyone could hope for, would be to stand in the wings and look on.
A few characters have made disparaging remarks about the Valduggery ship. Solomon Wreath refers to Skulduggery's tendency to show up outside Valkyrie's window uninvited as "a bit unhealthy". Davina Marr refers to Valkyrie's supposed crush as "sad and pathetic and highly amusing".
No one but Sanguine ships Tanith/Sanguine. Ghastly makes his feelings known by beating the crap out of Sanguine.
Ghastly is not a fan of Chinduggery. In Last Stand of Dead Men, Ravel implies that Ghastly thought the reason for her initial Face-Heel Turn was Skulduggery falling for his wife.
Ghastly: Please tell me you're not trusting her these days.
Spot of Tea: Valkyrie finds the time to brew a calming cup of tea during Davina Marr's interrogation in Mortal Coil. Unfortunately for Valkyrie, Tesseract uses the opportunity to creep up behind her...
Take That: The fifth book seems to take a few subplots straight from Twilight, and then make them hilariously, hammily awesome. Any subtlety about the subplots in question are gone by Death Bringer. Yes, it was deliberate. Yes, Landy was shamelessly mocking Twilight. And yes, it somehow got even hammier.
There Was a Door: In Book 1, Skulduggery discusses about entering from the window, instead of simply entering from the door. He explains to Val that doors are for people with no imagination, and he was right.
Thirty Gambit Pileup: Death Bringer has the Church of the Faceless clashing with Jaron Gallow and China Sorrows clashing with Skulduggery himself clashing with the necromancers clashing with the Sanctuary clashing with the Death Bringer clashing with her own mentor clashing with Solomon Wreath clashing with Lord Vile clashing with Darquesse...and Kenny the journalist is in there somewhere... and it's unclear where Madam Mist and Doctor Nye's loyalties lie. Oh, and Vaurien Scapegrace.
The Man With The Golden Eyes is still lurking around as of Kingdom of the Wicked. He's been quietly intervening into the affairs of the series since Playing With Fire, and there's still been no hints as to who he is or what he really wants.
Aaaaaand it turns out he's Ravel
Tin Tyrant: Mevolent and Lord Vile both have evil-looking, head-to-toe armour as their battle dress.
Trolling Creator: Derek Landy is very open about how much he enjoys crushing the souls of his readers.
Landy: *on The Last Stand of Dead Men* A lot of people are going to hate me. *laughs* You know... when you're reading this and you finish it. You're going to hate me. You are. And you know you are. Yeah, but... I don't care. Because I'm a genius. *Evil Laugh* That's really all I have to say about that.
Landy: I shall live forever. And I donít mean in a metaphorical sense. I donít mean Iíll live forever in the hearts and minds of my readers. I mean I will literally live forever, drawing as I do from your pain and suffering. Your pain makes me strong.
Book Seven: So close, but no. Skulduggery tells Greta "You think they will create a kingdom of the good, of the noble, but they won't." Greta cuts him off before he can actually utter the title phrase as an alternative.
Book Eight: Skulduggery laments that "The Dead Men have had their last stand."
Token Evil Teammate: China Sorrows. She used to be a murderous psycho cultist, and her fighting style makes it clear she didn't shed the "murderous" when she shed the "cultist".
To the Pain: Darquesse performs one of these on Erskine Ravel in Last Stand Of Dead Men, and makes good on it. Few would say he didn't deserve it, but you can't help but feel a little sorry for him.
Darquesse: What mercy? But no, death is too good for someone like you. You know what isn't too good for you, though? You know what's just right? Pain. Lots and lots of pain...Agony. Constant agony for twenty-three hours a day. No painkillers or sedatives will do anything to alleviate what you're feeling. If and when your body compensates, if you find that you're starting to get used to it, the pain will increase. One hour a day, it'll stop. You can eat, drink—sleep, if you can. But mostly you'll just dread the agony returning.
Tranquil Fury: You can tell how angry Skulduggery is by how quiet he gets. Lord Vile especially.
Skulduggery: You're waiting to see if I'm angry.
Ghastly: I already know you're angry. You're sitting very still and you're talking very quietly. You're getting ready to kill someone.
Skulduggery: I just need a name.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Although in the series it's more like Ugly Guy Hot Almost Girlfriend due to Tanith being possessed by a Remnant before she and Ghastly could officially get together.
Unequal Rites: Necromancers and the Children of the Spider are not exactly respected by other magic users. Warlocks too, although they prefer to be left alone.
Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Valkyrie and Fletcher. Valkyrie regrets cheating on and dumping him almost immediately, even to a point that she asks him whether they could still be friends, at least, but he doesn't forgive her and moves on.
China insists that Skulduggery is capable of this, and hints towards it being something of a permanent state several weeks after his 'resurrection' and his family's deaths. Also, Shudder, in book four, and as of the end of book five, maybe even Valkyrie.
Skulduggery is Lord Vile. It was a permanent state for years after his family died.
Unskilled, but Strong: Kitana's gang can easily take Skulduggery and Valkyrie. Darquesse and Vile? Not so much.
Urban Fantasy: It really is a modern setting with some nifty magical stuff.
"China Sorrows, China Sorrows. She's the one, she's the one. Nefarian Serpine killed Skulduggery Pleasant, but China Sorrows led his family into the trap."
"Tell me how many people she's going to have to kill!" (beat) "Three Billion ought to do it."
"Skulduggery Pleasant walked off the battlefield, and Lord Vile walked into my temple."
"I can't ask Valkyrie to charge it, because she'd know I was planning to kill her with it."
Not a quote by a character, but in the narration itself: "Those golden eyes."
What the Hell, Hero?: Fletcher gives an incredible tongue-lashing to Valkyrie when she dumps him for purely selfish reasons.
Fletcher: "If you're expecting me to teleport away, you can forget about it. You're the one doing the dumping, so it's up to you to walk out first. So go on, Val. Walk."
Fletcher: "You look at Skulduggery and that's who you model yourself on. He's brave, you're brave. He's cold, you're cold. He's ruthless, you're ruthless. Well done, Val. You share the emotional range of a dead man."
Dexter Vex gives one to Skulduggery, for knowing that Valkyrie was Darquesse and not dealing with her appropriately. Of course, he doesn't know that Skulduggery was Lord Vile, which was one of the reasons why Skulduggery could empathise with Valkyrie's situation.
Oh look, a bad guy. Let's try punching him, then throwing fire at him. And then, to mix things up a little, shoot at him.
How do you catch a Remnant? Soul catcher. How do you catch a whole army of Remnants? Really big Soul Catcher.
At least twice, the heroes have been in a position where literally all they have, advantage-wise, is the existence of Lord Vile. Both times Skulduggery used it, without much of a plan for how to escape afterwards. It seems that when all you have is a Godzilla, everything looks like a Godzilla Threshold...
Tanith is normally introduced in every new book soundly beating a powerful monster. She will then spend the rest of the book being horribly maimed, wounded and tortured(With a hammer and nails no less!) Finally comes to a head in Mortal Coil as after all the threats that a Remnant may permanently possess someone, Tanith is the ONLY character that this happens to.
Tesseract is barely slowed down by inconveniences such as being outnumbered, poisoned and/or buried alive. Lord Vile takes about five seconds to mortally wound him.
The White Cleaver is introduced as an unstoppable Badass. Skulduggery, Ghastly and Tanith can't take him on. Lord Vile takes less than five seconds to kill him.
The Black Cleaver kills Anton Shudder and beats the crap out of Skulduggery. Skulduggery uses Necromancy. Fight over.
If it can beat Mr Bliss, you know you're in trouble. Serpine managed it due to cunning. The Grotesquery managed to injure him. The Faceless Ones squished him dead. Alternate Universe Mevolent keeps Alternate Mr. Bliss's naked corpse in a tank as a trophy.
Just to hammer home how dangerous Darquesse is, Kingdom of the Wicked shows her to be capable of surviving (if not winning) a one-on-one brawl with Mevolent.
World of Badass: To the extent that it actually becomes funny every time someone turns out not to be.
You Talk Too Much: China tells Skulduggery this in Last Stand of Dead Men when she's telling him how terrified she was of what he'd do to her and how sorry she was about his family, and he's too busy trying to think of a way to save her.
You Would Do the Same for Me: Averted. Valkyrie goes to visit China after China is shot. When China tells her it really is unnecessary, Valkyrie replies that she knows China would do the same for her. China points out that she's not the type to make house calls, and true to her word, when Valkyrie is later hospitalised there's no sign of China.