Book: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. 1) by Jonathan Stroud
Release Date: August 29th 2013
Reading Format and Edition: English Paperback by Disney-Hyperion, released in 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.
In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?
Part of me was dreading reading this as I was scared this would not live up to my expectations. And though this is not as dark or gritty as the Bartimaeus series, it is a good start to a series as to be expected from Jonathan Stroud.
Like with the Bartimaeus series Lockwood & Co is set in our world, but with a slight change. Everyone knows of the existence of ghosts which was discovered fifty years prior. It has become a real problem. Lockwood & Co is one of the agencies that deals with these ghosts. The ghosts used in the book are the variants that are already known like poltergeists, shades and such. There is also a glossary in the back.
An eerie mood is set throughout the book, befitting of the material. Don’t mistake that for this book being a scary read however. Of course there are some events that could have been rather scary, but the interactions between the characters lighten the mood, and dissolve some of the tension.
There are various cases in this book which at first glance seem to have nothing to do with one another. Things fall into place at the end. Unfortunately I very quickly guessed this. It was a tad too predictable for me. There are however little things throughout the story that I feel will play a part later in the series. The skull in the jar for instance. Or Lockwood’s background and house.
The narration by Lucy was easy to follow. She is very down to earth. Lockwood is easy to like. He is that mysterious leader with the long cloak that so often appeals to us. George is also down to earth and loves knowledge. He doesn’t seem to care too much how others perceive him. Their interactions grow throughout the book. Lucy and Lockwood go through the issue of trust in places while Lucy and George are trying to learn to get used to each other. Their interactions with each other is one of the things that appeals to me the most in this book. There is still a lot of potential in these characters to grow and deepen their bonds.