I've read this book five times now since 2010, and I'm still standing by my originally given five stars. To me, this is the
best children's action/adventure/fantasy (middle grade urban fantasy?) written and published in the last five years at the very least - well, since Harry Potter, anyway. Nothing else I've read lately, and I've read a lot, comes close.
The plot of the first book, such as it is, is pretty simple, really ... but it's fairly decent, stands well on its own, and is significant for the rest of the first trilogy as well as laying the basis for the whole series, so I think it does a good enough job at being the first book in a longer series.
It's the characters who carry this, Skulduggery and Stephanie more than anyone else, but almost anyone who gets a word in is memorable in their own right. I think characters are Landy's greatest strength - characters and dialogue.