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LOCKWOOD & CO.: THE CREEPING SHADOW (Lockwood & Co., 4) Hardcover – Illustrated, September 13, 2016
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PRAISE FOR THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE "A pleasure from tip to tail, this is the book you hand the advanced readers that claim they'd rather read Paradise Lost than Harry Potter. Smart as a whip, funny, witty, and honestly frightening at times, Stroud lets loose and gives readers exactly what they want. Ghosts, kids on their own without adult supervision, and loads of delicious cookies."--Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal
PRAISE FOR THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE "Stroud shows his customary flair for blending deadpan humor with thrilling action, and the fiery interplay among the three agents of Lockwood & Co. invigorates the story (along with no shortage of creepy moments)."--Publishers Weekly
PRAISE FOR THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE "This story will keep you reading late into the night, but you'll want to leave the lights on. Stroud is a genius at inventing an utterly believable world which is very much like ours, but so creepily different. Put The Screaming Staircase on your 'need to read' list!"--Rick Riordan
PRAISE FOR THE WHISPERING SKULL *"An occult portal and its spectral guardian nearly cut short the careers of three rising young ghost hunters in this madcap sequel to The Screaming Staircase (2013). For all their internecine squabbling, the three protagonists make a redoubtable team-and their supporting cast, led by the sneering titular skull in a jar, adds color and complications aplenty. Rousing adventures for young tomb robbers and delves into realms better left to the dead." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
PRAISE FOR THE WHISPERING SKULL *"In this sequel to The Screaming Staircase (2013), Stroud delivers another riveting narrative in which the three young psychic investigators deal with malevolent supernatural forces in an alternate London. Stroud writes with a fine ear for dialog, a wry sense of humor, and a knack for describing haunted places. Creating tension that ebbs and flows, he slowly builds the dramatic narrative to a resounding crescendo, and he makes the quieter scenes that follow just as compelling. The second entry in the Lockwood & Company series, this imaginative adventure features one of the most hair-raising chase scenes in children's friction. At the book's end, when the enigmatic Anthony Lockwood reveals a chilling secret, readers can only hope that more sequels are in the offing."--Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
- Lexile measure : 690L
- Item Weight : 1.4 pounds
- Grade level : 3 - 7
- Hardcover : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1484709675
- ISBN-13 : 978-1484709672
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.5 x 8.63 inches
- Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (September 13, 2016)
- Language: : English
- Reading level : 8 - 12 years
- Best Sellers Rank: #179,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I'd give this installment 4.5 stars. Overall, this is a another solid installment in the Lockwood&Co series. I'm assuming that because you made it to book #4, you're well acquainted with the general quality of the previous installments, and this novel is really no different. Fun, well-written and tense in all the right moments.
This novel follows Lucy after her decision in the last book to quit Lockwood&Co. I didn't really enjoy this decision from the previous book, and I really didn't believe Stroud's explanation for why Lucy made this choice, but eh, whatever. This should come to no surprise then, that Lucy is pretty quickly reunited with her former co-workers on a case. Overall, the amount of time Lucy spends alone is pretty low. On one hand, this is called "LOCKWOOD &Co" so this is understandable, but I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more of an opportunity taken to flesh out Lucy's character and perhaps give her a little bit of growth through her time alone. I would say this is my only small gripe with the book - that I didn't really see any character growth in Lucy.
HOWEVER, the rest of the novel is pretty interesting and follows a number of cases. The main mystery in particular was interesting and (in my opinion) a great way to introduce us to more of the mythology behind the series. AND MORE SKULL! Skull is slowly becoming my favorite character (reminds me a little of Bartimaeus actually), and there is a little more explained about him.
Again, like in the last book, the character interactions are fun and witty. The characters themselves are likable, and are still growing on me. I finished this in a day, so... you can expect it to be a page turner like the others. The ending, of course, had me wanting more. Next book please?
As much as I hated her departure from "Lockwood & Co.", I actually thought it was good for Lucy to have some time apart from the rest of the team. There had simply been too much emotional turmoil in the last book for her to remain with the team and maintain her sanity. Plus, her work as an independent agent really showed just how far she's come since "The Screaming Staircase". Of course, in typical Lucy fashion, she may not have made the best decisions, but I'm glad she had the opportunity to rediscover herself. I also appreciated how her questionable hygiene practices, poor diet, and lack of social interactions were pretty spot-on for someone just starting out on their own. It's a tough world out there, folks.
Just like the previous installments, "The Creeping Shadow" had suspense, intense action, incredibly creepy cases and ghostly interactions, and fantastic humor. But what really pushed this book into the five-star category for me were the scenes that made me swoon and gush about my love for these characters. They were EVERYTHING.
I still maintain that this is NOT a middle grade series. (I mean, a phantom cannibal is barely suitable material for adults to read, much less children.) However, I am still enjoying it and can't wait to find out how it all ends.
The fourth book in the Lockwood and Co series expands on the world even further, with the introduction of, as the skull puts it 'Death's in Life, Life's in Death'. The events of this book do change everything going forward in a big way. New antagonists are introduced, a potential new member of Lockwood and Co has been added and new questions about certain individuals start to emerge. Yes, there is a lot going on in this book. But I believe that's where a lot of the problems of this book come from.
Don't get me wrong, this book is written wonderfully, the story is fun and engaging and the characters are great to read as always. However, the previous books, I felt, could for the most part be read as standalones. This book you need to have read every book in the series to understand what's going on. The big problem lies in the fact this is basically a setup with no payoff. The first half of the book could have easily been skipped as it serves no relevance to the plot and the tiny bits that did, could easily have been fit in somewhere else. And this becomes blatantly obvious when it keeps getting referenced out of the blue for no apparent reason other than restating that, yes, these events happened. The finale doesn't really hold as much weight or danger as previous books, either. It just kind of happens and ends. The book seems to give it less importance than it really should have, leading to this odd disconnect by the end of the book.
The biggest issue this book had was it didn't live up to the previous installments in the series. But, it's still a really enjoyable read and i'd recommend it but only if you've read the other books in the series up to this point. For those who disliked Holly from the last book (as I did), she's basically pushed to the background in this one. And while the other characters make an appearance, the book is focuses solely on Lucy. For fans of the series, this is a definite read as it sets the tone for the next books to come. And while the cliffhanger wasn't as big in this one, i'm still eagerly awaiting the next installment.
Top reviews from other countries
The over-arching series plot threads are moving ahead nicely in this book, with some interesting twists. It sort of feels to me as if there is going to be a natural conclusion to the series in the next book, or possibly the one after, but I may be wrong. I sort of hope I'm not, because this time around I found the scare factor noticeably less. I particularly liked Lucy's first ghost, and the Ealing Cannibal section was suitably creepy, but when you go "big", as with Chelsea last time and now the creeping shadow, then there is a danger that the personal nature of ghost hunting and the characters' continual fear of ghost touch gets lost.
But for all of that I read it in just over a day because I couldn't put it down. 5*, and I look forward very much to the next installment. And if you haven't read it yet, why not?
The Ghost Hunters have come a long way and Lucy fearing for Lockwoods life after a vision left the team, working freelance she comes up against the team and they are drawn into solving a case together. Lucy soon has cause to seek refuge with Lockwood after her flat ins ransacked and the 'skull' is stolen. The subsequent adventure leads the team to a village over run with ghosts where their investigations take on a new dimension. The next book will be the last, it has been an excellent series, I love it.
I must have read several thousand books in my life, and this one is up there with the best of them. I remember a review of Stephen Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (I think) which said "Comparable to Tolkein at his best"; I would update that quote and say that this book is "Comparable to J.K.Rowling at her best".
I might be gushing a bit, but this book really impressed me. I have no affiliation to the author / publisher etc, and I'm a lifelong, middle-aged reader, so I like to think I can recognise a good book! If you've enjoyed the other books in this series. don't hesitate to get this one, and if you haven't, then start with the first one and enjoy the ride. I'll be rereading them in the near future, and now I can't wait for the final book in the series to come out next year.
Once out of Lockwood agency, Lucy works as a freelance agent. After months of estrangement, Lockwood contacts her to ask for help in a big case: from then on, the theft of the Skull, an attempt on Lucy's life, and the discovery of a connection between a big agency and some obscure bussines of stolen relics, make events precipitate, and force our protagonists to go further than they thought possible...
Now that we are familiar with Lockwood and Co's universe, the author takes us to some new scenarios, deepening in the dark secrets hidden by the main agencies and taking eeriness to a new level (specially in the last part). And, as always, adventure, escalating action, humour, and tea breaks.
As it's usual with Stroud, the emotional part is touching but also pretty contained, and as wisely done as in the previous books; it mostly shows Lucy's efforts to get along again with the people she cares for (not just Lockwood), and how they react.
And, of course, a juicy revelation adds to the plot in the very last page (guess who makes it?), which hints that from now on, alive enemies may be even more dangerous than dead ones...
A nice detail: two hooded ghosts witnessed by Kipps towards the end of the book...
Lucy's voice is strong throughout, and this book sees her grow and learn. The ghosts are scarier than ever and the mystery deeper. Almost anything else I mention would be a spoiler, do say only this: read this book. With the lights firmly on. -Sef