Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Whispering Skull

The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

Disclaimer: I read the advanced reader's copy (ARC) of this book; this book will be released on September 16, 2014. Undoubtedly, there will be minor changes between the version I read and the published version. I picked up the ARC at the 2014 ALA Conference.

This is the second book in a series, I reviewed the first book, The Screaming Staircase, HERE.

Going into this book, I was SUPER stoked about it when I picked it up at ALA. SUPER STOKED. I'm pretty sure I gave the person running the Disney Hyperion both a mild panic attack from my abundant enthusiasm. After reading the book, my enthusiasm was well deserved.

...an amazon summary, "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 theTimes 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. 

The author of the blockbuster Bartimaeus series delivers another amusing, chilling, and ingeniously plotted entry in the critically acclaimed Lockwood & Co. series." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

I have to say it; this is one of those books that I read for. I was so pumped up to just read the next sentence of the book that there was a sleepless night involved. I just didn't want to stop reading it; especially with the last page of the book being such a cliff hanger.

I also need to tear apart this amazon summary because it doesn't do justice to the book.

The Whispering Skull begins six months after The Screaming Staircase; Lockwood & Co. have done very well for themselves since then. They have notable mentions in the different papers as well as live comfortably in the same house, and seem to have a steady stream of cases to solve. Lucy, Lockwood, and George are up to their old tricks when an interesting job happens upon their doorstep.

Mr. Saunders asks Lockwood & Co. to make a grave safe to excavate. This isn't unheard of and Mr. Saunders admits he stopped at the first agency he found. After some terse negotiations, Lockwood & Co. have agreed to take the case.

In the meanwhile, George has taken to experimenting on the ghost jar to see if the level 3 ghost can be coerced into talking. It would be one of the biggest breakthroughs since the ghosts started appearing. So far, George has had no success in convincing the ghost to speak.

As they delve deeper into the case that Mr. Saunders has tasked them too, there is no end to the trouble they unearth. Lockwood & Co. are back; exploring the mysterious surrounding ghosts, having a jolly go at each other, and trying to live.


I LOVED this book! It was a perfect, chilling follow up from to The Screaming Staircase and while the subject of the book is a bit creepy (dead people, ghosts, and usually the horrible ways that people died to end up like ghosts); Stroud makes it fun.

Lucy is still kicking butt and not stopping to take names, Lockwood is still up to his clever ways, and George has his head stuck in the library (not a bad place for it).

I enjoyed how much I couldn't figure out what was going on for the longest while but in the end it all made sense in a terrific epiphany.

I admire the pacing of the book as I was never overwhelmed by action and the explanations tempered throughout to show what was really afoot were well placed and well timed.

I am in a lot of anguish having to wait for the third book...the second book leaves off on a doozy of a cliff hanger.

Simply a marvelous read.

Happy reading!

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