As a supernatural outbreak baffles Scotland Yard and causes protests against the psychic agencies throughout London, Lockwood and Co. continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in exterminating spirits. Anthony is dashing, George insightful, and Lucy dynamic, while the skull in the jar utters sardonic advice from the sidelines. There is a new spirit of openness between the team now that Anthony has shared his childhood story, and Lucy is feeling more and more like her true home is at Portland Row. It comes as a great shock, then, when Lockwood and George introduce her to an annoyingly perky and hyper-efficient new assistant, Holly Munro. Meanwhile, there are reports of many new hauntings, including an old school where bloody handprints and a glowing boy are appearing. But ghosts seem to be the least of Lockwood and Co.’s concerns when a living assassin makes an attempt on Fittes’s and Rotwell’s lives. Can the team get past their interpersonal issues to save the day on all fronts? Danger abounds, tensions escalate, and new loyalties form in this third delightfully terrifying adventure.
You know, it doesn’t often happen that I rate books higher as the series goes along. But this third installment definitely deserves that. Jonathan Stroud stepped it up a notch.
Especially in the plot department and world building. Things from the first and second book, like the figure on the goggles in the first book, are now becoming a part of a larger plot. Not everything is clear about this larger plot yet, but they are slowly falling into place. Another aspect that I liked is that I am getting a better feeling for the world throughout the events of this book and when it comes down to the problem. Before we saw mostly cases that were bound to one room or house, but this time we also get a cluster of the problem that has caused an area to be evacuated. It gives a better idea of how it has been affecting London, and some social reactions and politics are also shown.
I also feel that things have taken a darker turn nearing the end of this book. While the humor is still present, the characters are deepening out further. There is a lot of character development here, mostly in Lucy’s case. The relationships between the three are also deepening. I especially like how Lucy and George’s relationship continues to grow throughout each book. Lockwood remains a bit of a mystery, though we do learn quite a bit more about him. I’d still really like to learn more about his parents.
The skull is back. He gives a lot of comic relief throughout the book, but he also voices Lucy’s doubts, dark thoughts and sometimes is even right, though he uses it to manipulate Lucy. Another we see back is Kipps and his team. I kind of love that throughout these books they are kind of trusting each other, and that they begrudgingly see the others talents.
And last but not least, there is a new addition to Lockwood & co. Holly becomes their assistant to help them out in the home and at times with cases. Holly and Lucy do not take to each other. I liked how their dynamic was partly dealt with during the ending of this book. It fits with these characters, and I do feel that a change between them has occurred towards the positive. It also helped with Lucy’s character development.
I can’t wait for the fourth book (which is yet to be titled)!