Thursday, August 22, 2013
Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
374 p. Disney/ Hyperion, September 17, 2013. 9781423164913. (Arc provided by publisher at ALA Annual.)
England has a Problem. For the past fifty years it has been inundated with ghosts. But not just ordinary ghosts, these are malevolent beings intent on doing harm. Since only certain psychic children below the age of 18 are even able to see these wraiths, the job of ghostbusting falls to them. Of course, they must be supervised by adults. Most of these supervisors were, at one time hunters. Some are losing their touch, such as Lucy's previous employer and the reason why she's in London seeking employment. The only outfit even remotely interested in Lucy's qualifications is Lockwood & Co., and that is because it is a two person operation run by one Anthony Lockwood and ably assisted by George Cubbins, the brains of the duo. There are no adults involved. This gives Lockwood certain freedom, but also draws the ire of the many companies in London as well as Scotland Yard.
I'm not going to say much more about the plot. It's best left to discover on one's own. The story is narrated by Lucy Carlyle, gifted but untrained, and prone to doubt. Anthony Lockwood, owner/ proprietor of Lockwood & Co. is charismatic and energetic and George Cubbins is never happier than when he is buried in research or tinkering with equipment. The worldbuilding is incredibly vivid. The humor dry. The horrors spine-tingling. My humble advice is to fasten your seat-belts and let Jonathan Stroud's rip-roaring yarn work its magic.
I loved the opening line so much that I featured it last week in a Friday Meme. I ripped right through the durn thing and was so entertained that I considered turning back to page one and starting all over again. But I think I will wait for the release of the audiobook and reread it with my ears.
This is a great book to give to those readers who want scary. Fans of the author's Bartimaeus books will not be disappointed. Really, a must purchase.
Author web site.
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