Monday, 25 August 2014

Review: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud
Publisher: Doubleday Children's
Released: September 25th 2014
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Life is never exactly peaceful for Lockwood & Co. Lucy and George are trying to solve the mystery of the talking skull trapped in their ghost jar, while Lockwood is desperate for an exciting new case.

Things seem to be looking up when the team is called to Kensal Green Cemetery to investigate the grave of a sinister Victorian doctor. Strange apparitions have been seen there, and the site must be made safe. As usual, Lockwood is confident; as usual, everything goes wrong – a terrible phantom is unleashed, and a dangerous object is stolen from the coffin.

Lockwood & Co must recover the relic before its power is unleashed, but it’s a race against time. Their obnoxious rivals from the Fittes agency are also on the hunt. And if that’s not bad enough, the skull in the ghost-jar is stirring again…
(from Goodreads)

The Whispering Skull was a fab addition to the Lockwood & Co. series, which I am really loving at the moment. Very excited to see where things are headed next!

Lucy was even awesomer than she was in book one, and I really liked her in book one. Her Talent was getting stronger, to the point where she was able to communicate with a Type Three Visitor - the first person to do so since the famed Marissa Fittes. Of course, she couldn't tell anyone (besides Lockwood and George) because of the lack of evidence and all the commotion it would cause (especially if Inspector Barnes found out the spirit she was communicating with was the skull they were supposed to have gotten rid of), but her potential was growing and growing. I really liked the way her Talent worked and how she didn't let people like Kipps get to her. And she really did have a great sense of humour. I'm glad the book was from her point of view, because I definitely think she was the best at describing things in a hilarious way.

Lockwood was as mysterious as ever, except in this book, I was starting to get a bit suspicious. As much as I loved Lockwood's adventurous personality and charm, I could understand why Lucy was concerned about his secretiveness, and why she was so curious to find out what was in the room neither she nor George were allowed to go in. And after that ending, now I'm even MORE intrigued about Lockwood's past. But I did really like Lockwood and the way he cared about his colleagues, and his business. I also loved the witty retorts he came up with when talking to Kipps! I am wondering if a romance will appear in the future between Lucy and Lockwood. Lucy seemed to like him (as George liked to point out at awkward times), even if she didn't perhaps realise it herself, but Lockwood was very cryptic and I couldn't tell how he felt about Lucy. I do think they would be very cute together should a romance happen, but I'm also happy with the way things are now.

George went through a lot in this book, and perhaps learnt some important things about himself and the people around him. While his questionable hygiene and manners didn't improve much, he and Lucy were getting along better than they had been in book one, and it was interesting to see them agree on stuff while Lockwood disagreed. It was also interesting to see how George's mind worked and the way he viewed the cases differently to both Lucy and George.

Funnily enough, I think one of my favourite characters in this book was the evil, whispering skull - the Type Three Visitor. Even though he was undoubtedly evil and trying to mess with everyone's heads, he was really funny and knew how to talk, and I really enjoyed the scenes the skull was in. I'm very intrigued to find out more about him when he was alive and how he ended up as a skull in a jar.

Plot-wise, I really enjoyed the mystery in this book. While certain parts dragged a little bit, I was really interested in Bickerstaff's story and the creepy mirror that seemed to kill everyone who looked into it. Some things were a bit obvious - I did guess a little of what happened at the end, but the story was enjoyable all the same. The contest between Lockwood & Co. and Fittes also added a bit of light-heartedness and it was fun to try and guess who would win and how (obviously I was rooting for Lockwood & Co. - the Fittes agents were just too arrogant!). Penelope Fittes turned out to be an interesting character and I really want to know what that covert meeting she had in the Black Library was all about! The ending though, what a way to end the book. I have so many questions! And I really can't wait to read the next one now. The one thing I wish we found out more about, which is the same thing I said about the first book, is how Visitors became so prevalent in the world. Why did they suddenly appear, and how did the ghost fighting technology develop? Hopefully more will be explained in future books!

Overall, The Whispering Skull was a great sequel to The Screaming Staircase, and Jonathan Stroud has impressed me once again. Series is definitely recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Ooo, Hubby loves these books! They are definitely on my to-read list. I'm glad to hear the second book lives up to the first!

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