Friday, November 28, 2014

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

I have two big papers due for a class I'm taking for certification credits and made the foolish mistake of picking up this book to read on the high-speed train to Tainan, Taiwan. What a ride! I couldn't put it down. If I could only read at a 150 miles per hour. Stroud's descriptions and character development are fantastic as always, but I really liked the twists and turns of the plot in book two of the Lockwood & Co. series. This mystery was cranked up a notch from book one with a snarky, harbinger skull that added ghoulish humor and three-dimensional villainy. Be warned, I guarantee you'll be shirking responsibilities once you start this creepy ghost mystery.

Lockwood & Company, made up of agents Lockwood, Lucy, and George, is trying to survive in a competitive ghost agency market. Even though six months earlier the trio rid London's most haunted house of powerful ghosts, they still have to work hard to keep the business going and more often than not come up against the Fittes Agency, the biggest ghost-busting outfit in town. When the two groups come head-to-head, they challenge each other to a competition where the loser must put an advertisement in the London Times announcing their loss.

The teams get hired by the government to solve a case involving the ghost of a Victorian doctor, Edmund Bickerstaff, and a powerful relic he created out of bones thats kills when a person looks at it.   The case was the result of George letting his curiosity for relics get the better of himself and endangering his life. Lucy is there to save the day. Her talents are becoming more focused and powerful. She is a strong female character that is smart and clever.

Lucy narrates the story in first person which adds to the claustrophobic tense situations. Her narrow viewpoint supports the mysteriousness of Lockwood as she is always trying to figure him out. She admires and likes him but resents that he is so reserved at times. He doesn't talk about his past or family and doesn't have hobbies. All three characters have nice arcs that tie in with the themes. Lucy learns more about trust, Lockwood learns to open up about his past, and George learns that being too obsessive can be unhealthy.  Lockwood also does the right thing in a competition when he recognizes that his win wouldn't have happened without the other teams help. Meanwhile the Fittes leader, Quill Kipps, gives a reason for his motivations and meanness toward Lockwood & Company when his life is saved. Great ghosts. Great gore. Great fun. Sure beats writing a college paper.

5 Smileys

No comments:

Post a Comment