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Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase Kindle Edition
|Length: 401 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 8 - 12|
|Grade Level: 3 - 7|
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Top Customer Reviews
On one hand, there was the fact that it was written by Jonathan Stroud, author of the Bartimaeus series (quite good, BTW). On the other, we have the label in the description telling us this book is intended for readers in grades three through seven. (Elsewhere, it says grades six through nine, but still.) It seems to me that for every Harry Potter, you have about a thousand middle grade books that, though I can easily see why they'd be enticing to kids, simply don't hold up to a discerning adult's eyeballs.
But holy cow, people: we've got a Harry Potter.
Now, before you all start shrieking at me because this book is nothing at all like Harry Potter, let me just say this and hope that I'm being quite clear: this book is really nothing at all like Harry Potter. Except maybe in the most superficial of ways. (Magical Britain, two boys and a girl...) What I meant was that this is a book that was no less delightful just because it was written with a younger reader in mind...and though it's rather darker than the first HP book, it still manages to introduce some of the same sort of literary magic that made me fall in love with Hogwarts.
The Lockwood & Co. series is set in the "real world," with one major divergence: several decades ago, ghosts started appearing. Turns out that ghosts aren't benign, and to make things even worse, the only people who can sense them with any sort of reliability are kids. And those with the most psychic ability? They're on the front lines.
The characters were quite well done, I thought, and so was the plot. Where this book really shines, though, is the setting--Stroud's land of malevolent spirits is rich and well-planned and masterfully painted. The descriptions of the ghosts and the dangers the characters faced were vivid, and though I didn't personally find the book frightening, precisely (though if you really are buying this for a child, you may want to make sure they have a strong constitution...or at least read it first yourself), I was sucked into this baleful world expertly enough that I could almost feel the chill the specters were emitting.
I've already said this book reminds me a bit of Harry Potter, at least in the way it made me feel, but it also reminds me of John Bellairs's The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt). Again, not really in substance, in experience. I read HWACIIW as a kid--maybe 3rd grade?--and it was the book that turned me on to fantasy. I do recall finding that one a bit frightening, but far more important was how it opened me up to a world of magic. I can easily see the Screaming Staircase doing the same for a new generation of readers.
Seriously, folks. If the description makes the book sound like it's up your alley, don't let the reading level scare you off. This grown-up will be reading the whole series, doubtless over and over, until my eyesight finally goes.
The world of The Screaming Staircase is very much like our own, except that for the past fifty years, dangerous ghosts have been haunting the world at an alarmingly high rate, and only children have the psychic sensitivity needed to sense and combat them effectively. We follow Lucy Carlyle, a fourteen year old Agent from the country that moves to London and joins the small Lockwood & Co. company. After one of their ghost investigations goes horribly wrong, they are forced to take on one of the country’s most haunted homes.
I read this book by flashlight at night during a power outage, and although it was fun in a terrifying kind of way, I don’t recommend it. I wouldn’t call the genre horror exactly – it’s supposed to be middle-grade, and it mostly focuses on the adventure, but there are some nail-bitingly creepy parts that Stroud really brings to life. I thought Lucy was a great protagonist, she’s earnest and vulnerable, she doesn’t take any crap from anyone but she’s not showy about it, either. Lockwood seems to be cut from similar cloth as Nathaniel in the Bartimaeus series, he’s self-possessed and precocious and you forget that he’s young until he does something ridiculous that makes you realize how young he is. I wanted to know more about George, but he seemed to get the short end of the stick (primarily because Lucy and Lockwood thrive on action, and George is the researcher they often ignore.)
I wasn’t that excited by the plot itself. There wasn’t anything notably bad about it, but I just wasn’t drawn into it that much. I was willing to forgive that because it’s clearly setting up a larger world and mysteries to explore. Overall, I’m glad to report that instead of tarnishing my memories of Stroud’s previous works, reading The Screaming Staircase just made me want to reread them.
In a time when children are the only ones that can see and feel ghosts, and adults can't, come groups of ghost fighters in the heart of London and surrounding areas.
Lucy has just joined Lockwood and George. They form a small group fighting all kinds of ghosts: specters, screamers, and more. Lucy can hear and feel the ghosts, Lockwood can see them and George, well George is a slob but he does a lot of the background history of the ghosts they go after.
After burning down a house and putting their company in jeopardy, Lockwood takes on a case that could finish them for good. Lucy has taken something from the burned house and it may have something to do with the next case. Will Lockwood and Co. finish off the ghosts? Is there something lurking behind the object that someone wants and the ghost that inhabit it?
I started this book while working in a school library and was so caught up in the story, I got my own copy to finish. It kept me on my toes and I had to finish the story when I had time to read. Jonathan Stroud has written an exciting ghost hunting book. I can't wait to get to the next one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I already found book 3 (miraculously at library #1), but when I went again yesterday I found book 1 as well!Read more
On the rainy night of October 18th, I began Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase.Read more
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