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Lockwood & Co. Book Three The Hollow Boy Paperback – August 16, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—As in the previous volumes, The Screaming Staircase (2013) and The Whispering Skull (2014, both Disney-Hyperion), the latest escapades of Lockwood and Co., a ghost-hunting agency staffed by the crack team of Anthony Lockwood, George Cubbins, and Lucy Carlyle, start with a hair-raising scene of murder, mayhem, and ghostly apparitions. Narrator Lucy finds herself on shaky ground as her ability to speak to ghosts grows ever more powerful and more dangerous, while changes to the agency in the form of a tidy, Type A assistant named Holly Munroe seem to spell doom for Lucy's future with the company. Meanwhile, The Problem grows exponentially worse and a fading, famous department store holds more horrors than Lucy has ever seen. A series of disturbing discoveries, building on revelations in the earlier books, make it clear that there is a more malevolent human force than The Problem at work in London, and Lucy, George, and Lockwood are drawing ever closer to its source. As always, the descriptions of the hauntings are genuinely frightening, especially that of a spindly, humanoid creature that crawls on all fours and whispers Lucy's name. VERDICT. Fans of the series will anxiously await Lockwood and Co.'s spine-tingling adventures in the next installment.—Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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 HOLLOW BOY
*". . .Stroud brings his considerable storytelling skills to bear in this riveting sequel to The Screaming Staircase and The Whispering Skull. . .the narrative has excellent pacing, fine descriptive passages, and a wry sense of humor. An unexpected development at the story's end will leave fans wildly impatient for volume four."―Booklist (starred review)
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. . . 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 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
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Top Customer Reviews
The Hollow Boy, of course, is no exception to this. We pick up with Lockwood&Co as they were previously, hunting ghosts, going on adventures, etc. The everyday routine is thrown for a loop when a new character, Holly Munro, steps onto the scene.
At first, I felt that this was a very uninspired twist that happens often in YA series. A new girl! Gasp! Tension! Jealously! And there were parts in this book, especially in the first half, where I felt like the Holly-storyline was only a cliche and added little to the story. Luckily, Holly exists less as a new point on a love triangle and more as a way for Lucy's character to develop. For that, I am grateful. At the end of the novel, I did feel that we had gotten some significant character development for Lucy, and there was a real sense of progression in the overall storyline as a result. One of the strongest pros of this series has been the protagonist, who is certainly flawed, but sympathetic and still likable. This novel only solidified my fondness for her even more.
The ghost mystery of this novel was also interesting although it wasn't really the main focus. The actual confrontations with the ghosts were (as always) intense and thrilling (pick up the book for these alone).
The only gripe I had with the novel (other than Holly's initial cliche-ness) was that there wasn't enough skull! It reminds me of Bartimaeus, in a way, which is definitely a good thing.
Waiting anxiously now for the next one.
I thought book #1, The Screaming Stairs, was good. Book #2, The Whispering Skull, was even better. And now THE HOLLOW BOY, this book, is perhaps the best of all.
What makes this series delightful and gratifying is the layering. Yes, it's a book for middle schoolers (on up) BUT it has layering and in each book questions are partially resolved, leaving room for more discoveries in the subsequent tales; while other new questions appear to tantalize us.
In addition the tableau of characters is increases (and decreases with some deaths) which gives you-the-reader the perspective that you are going somewhere. This is something many adult books don't pull off. Stroud does it beautifully.
Rabid praise aside I really want to give this book 4.5 Stars because the ending wasn't quite satisfying. But that could be me. I was racing to get to the end so may have fled past some telling point too quickly to fully appreciate it.
But in general, I think the tension of this book matches that of the first book. And the familiarity of the characters was just like a comfy sweater.
Can't wait for the next volume.
I never thought I'd like any of his books as much as the Bartimaeus, especially since this seemed geared to a younger crowd, but I was wrong. At this point, I don't care what genre he writes or for what age, I'm going to read it.