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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

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

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.

The author of the blockbuster Bartimaeus series delivers another amusing, chilling, and ingeniously plotted entry in the critically acclaimed Lockwood & Co. series.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
Very rarely is a sequel better than the first. In this case, I would have to say parts of it were better and some parts were not. Now before you all jump down my throat or look at the screen crazy saying, "what?", let me explain. The story was even better than the last. The humor was even  better and everything is progressing nicely and setting up for the next book. However a select few of the characters were just not on their game. I'll get to that later.
This sequel was even more chilling than the previous book.  I'm not going to spoil it, but the plot was dreadfully good! (See what I did there?). Once again, it is in first person POV with the reader seeing through Lucy's eyes. I'm not sure if I like reading from Lucy's point of view, to be honest. Despite this, I deeply enjoyed then book. I am absolutely in love with the premise. It's like Ghostbusters meets the Three Musketeers.
And now for the nitty gritty. As stated previously (up above), I said stated that certain characters were not on their A-game, which was kind of a drag while reading (a big enough drag that deserves a place in RuPaul's Drag Race! LOL I'm so hilarious...). Lucy seemed to be a real wimp in this book. I just don't understand it since she didn't really act like this in the first book. She was acting way too much like a "scared-y" cat (yeah, I said it!). I kept wanting to say that this is the Lockwood & Co. series, and not Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Get it together, girl; you're an agent that fights ghosts.

The wisecrack of the group, George, was his ever so charming self and continued to make me laugh with his sarcasm and dry humor. However, in every group there is one token damsel in distress; i.e. Daphne in Scooby Doo, Amy in Doctor Who etc. And who was it in this group? Hint: starts with a "G" and ends with an "E". That's right folks, you guessed it: George. I totally face palmed when it happened, it was so ridiculous. Besides George, the skull was funny too. I liked the introduction of this new character...err...ghost?
Anyways, I loved the mystery and suspense factor within the plot as well as the team work between the protagonists. The suspense really kept me on edge. I said it before and I'll say it again...I love this series! You already know Stroud is setting us up for something quite spectacular in this book as well as the future books.

Favorite Quotes:

     "Where was that recent strangling case?" George said. "Where the ghost knocked on the window and killed the old lady?"
     "George, that was a window! This is a door!"
     "So what? They're both rectangular apertures! I can be strangled too!"

     "I'm fine," I said briskly. "So who's opening it?"
     "Not me," Lockwood tapped the sewn-up clawmarks on his coat front. "I did Mrs Barrett."
     "Well, I did that trapdoor in Melmoth House. George?"
     "I  did that secret room at the Savoy Hotel," George said. "You remember-- the one with the ancient plague mark on the door. Ooh, that was eerie."
     "No, it wasn't. It wasn't haunted or secret. It was a laundry room filled with pants."
     "I didn't know that when I went in, did I?" George protested. "Tell you what, we'll toss for it." He rummaged deep in his trousers, produced a dirty-looking coin. "What do you think, Luce? Heads or tails?"
     "I think---"
     "Heads? Interesting choice. Let's see." There was a blur of movement, too fast for the eye to follow. "Ah, it's tails. Unlucky, Luce. Here's the crowbar."
     Lockwood grinned. "Nice try, George, but you're doing it. Let's fetch the tools and seals"

400 pages
Expected publication: September 16th 2014 by Random House UK
Rating: 🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔
Recommend?   Yes. I demand that you read it! Just kidding (kind of)

(ARC courtesy of Net Galley and Doubleday Children's)


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