Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Cover image for The screaming staircaseIn this alternate reality London, the city is terrorized by aggressive and dangerous ghosts. The only ones that are able to sense the ghosts are children and teens.  Teens that have extraordinary psychic abilities are hired and trained by psychic detection agencies.  People hire these agencies when they have a ghost infestation, and the children use wards and rapiers to illuminate the problem. Most of the agencies are run by adults, but one is run by the teens, themselves.  That is Lockwood and Company, and their newest agent is a girl named Lucy.  Lucy has an exceptional talent for psychic hearing, but when she hears the details of a girl's murder, she is thrown into a situation where the most dangerous things are not necessarily ghosts. This is a great spooky ghost story with interesting characters, and detailed world building.  I loved Stroud's Bartimaeus series, so I was eager to read this one.  This one didn't quite have the charm of the Bartimaeus books, but it was still a great read, and well worth the time. My son and I debated whether this was horror or just dark fantasy.  I put anything with evil ghosts in the horror catagory, but my son said it is only horror if the main characters are helpless victims most of the time, which in this book they are certainly not.  Horror or fantasy, it is a good book for young teens who like to be scared, but not too much. (394 p)

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