Book Review

Book Review: The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult paranormal mystery
Length: 435 pages
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: September 16th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn’t made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood’s investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.

Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George’s curiosity attracts a horrible phantom. 

Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood’s annoyance. Bickerstaff’s coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.

EXCELLENTLY SPOOKY.

I think I can easily say this one was better than the first. I loved getting to know these characters more and having already established themselves I was further invested in the story.

The banter and team dynamics of Lockwood & Co. is what keeps me coming back for more. They are fantastic. It reminds me of the Jackaby series I’m currently reading right now. Everyone cares of each other, but they are also not afraid to give it to another if necessary to put them back in line. A close knit group that makes me so happy every time they’re together.

I love Lucy’s inner dialogue. This girl tells it like it is. Not everyone is handsome or beautiful and things are not always going the right way. I love how she puts her world together and is smart and strong-willed. I didn’t initially like that it was from her perspective, but book two has convinced me that this is the way to go.

Since I’m personally not a big horror fan, this is right at the level that I can love. It’s creepy, spooky, and I felt it should be fall every time I picked this up. The ghosts are definitely a bit haunting and the descriptions really bring them to life.

Even when you can kind of tell what’s going to happen and who the main culprit is in the the given scenario, there’s still enough pieces missing to keep you interested. I found myself second-guessing and freaked out at what was happening. Some moments where I know I was shouting wild thoughts hoping that everything worked out in the end.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal mystery + fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: swords, descriptive ghostly apparitions, description of murders and corpses, murder, explosions

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Middle Grade/YA Mystery + Fantasy (paranormal)
Length: 381 pages
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: August 29th, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business. 

In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day? 

Readers who enjoyed the action, suspense, and humor in Jonathan Stroud’s internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books will be delighted to find the same ingredients, combined with deliciously creepy scares, in his thrilling and chilling Lockwood & Co. series.

VERY SPOOKY INDEED.

I read this book based off of a recommendation from Bookstagram, and it did not disappoint.

I generally don’t read much middle-school books unless they come highly recommended, I had seen this enough from her to know I must have it (even better, if you’re a Prime member, the first book is free on Kindle!). While they’re some YA aspects, it generally leaned towards a younger audience, yet I can see how it captivates older groups. It’s a really underrated book.

This group: Lucy, Lockwood and George are a hoot to watch interact. They have funny banter, quiet moments and are a great team. Lucy and Lockwood especially made this book. It was narrated by Lucy (which I wasn’t expecting given it’s called Lockwood & Co.). I loved the world-building and how *just* enough was left out to keep me interested for further installments.

The Screaming Staircase is CREEPY. This is honestly the closest I’ll ever come to a horror book. They’re ghosts that can do all of these crazy things (including kill you). Blood coming off of ceilings, things jumping out, it was definitely intense at times.

I liked the addition of a mystery within the paranormal activity. It made me more invested as I am weary of reading paranormal books. It was another level of intrigue and wonderment as I flew through this.

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle school/YA Paranormal Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: descriptions of murders, detailed hauntings, physical, swords, guns, explosions

Instagram || Goodreads