Book: The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. 2) by Jonathan Stroud
Release Date: August 28th 2014
Reading Format and Edition: English hardcover by Disney Hyperion, released in 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
This second book is a solid sequel to The Screaming Staircase filled with more ghosts, a whispering skull and some good old rivalry. Plot wise I felt that The Whispering Skull was a little better. It was not as predictable as The Screaming Staircase to me. They have to work with some other agents on a case with whom they have a bet going. Normally I’m not one for rivalries like these, but it was a nice underlying more light hearted story line underneath the scarier main one.
I was pleased to see that at least one of that team was given a tad bit more background and a slight deepening of character. Through characters like Flo and the head of Fittes we are given more world building. That ending. Of course everything is nicely wrapped up with this case. However the ending scene gives us a big hint towards the next book, making me want The Hollow Boy now. Things are about to get deep I feel.
One of the things in this book that stood out to me was Lucy’s negativity to other girls and women. Now she’s a bit judgy to everyone, but I feel she is particular negative to females. I hope that this will change by her having more positive interactions with other girls in upcoming books. It stood out this book, though it didn’t entirely annoy me yet. Other than that Lucy was a joy to follow throughout this book again.
This time Lockwood and George have to sort some things out between them. Lockwood sometimes is too quick with stepping over things that has happened to his other team members. But despite George not being happy with Lockwood at moments there were no moments of ignoring each other which I thought was nice to see for a change. The skull also added for a nice dynamic. It is a bit sinister, but it also helped to gain some laughs and keep things light hearted. It also influenced the dynamic between the three. I’ll be happy to see it back again in the next few books.