England, ghosts and haunted houses; The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud sounds like the perfect Autumn book. This first book in the Lockwood & Co. series just begs to be read on a dark, rainy October day. Something funny happened this month: My friend Nadia absolutely loves this series and was going to write a guest post about it. Then I decided to pick it up on a whim and I wrote a review! Turns out our thoughts are quite alike, so I decided to make kind of a duo review of it! Was it actually scary? Was it worth my time? Yes, definitely. Read more about our thoughts in this spoiler free review.
Before getting into the actual review, let’s introduce my friend Nadia! She doesn’t have a blog, but she does have a Twitter and a good taste in books. Also, her tattoos are pretty, hehe! She’s 20 years old and we actually went to college together for like 1,5 years! That’s how we met. She’s also the reason I decided to pick up Lockwood & Co. because she’s been telling me to read it for a while now!
“Really?” “No. I’m being ironic. Or is it sarcastic? I can never remember.”
“Irony’s cleverer, so you’re probably being sarcastic.”
I was pleasantly surprised the story was narrated by a girl. To anyone who’s read the synopsis, this might come as a shock because it does say it’s told from Lucy Carlyle’s perspective. Lucy. Yes, a girl. Anyway, that’s as far as the pleasant surprises went for a long time. I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters. It’s like going to a new school in the middle of the year and being thrown into this group of people you don’t know. There was zero introduction. Who exactly were these people?! I was about to give up when I got into part two
or I think it was part two. That’s when we finally got introduced to our narrator Lucy and “the rest” of Lockwood & Co. A.k.a. Anthony Lockwood and his colleague George. It was like Lucy’s origin story and I needed this to connect with the characters. I enjoyed the story a lot more after that. I think I just would’ve liked it more if part one and two were reversed. Yes, it might be a bit boring. But I struggled with relating to the characters and that in turn made me enjoy the book less.
Nadia’s thoughts: The book gives such a good explanation of the world we are in. Though I was really enjoying reading this book, I had one big question. In what century is this book set in? After searching the web, I saw I wasn’t the only one who had this question. Turns out Lockwood & Co. takes place in the future, but because of all the ghost problems, it’s like we’re back in Victorian London. Which I absolutely adore. It’s not only the ghosts that make this story so good, it’s the way the story is explained.
I absolutely love Lucy, Lockwood and George. They’re such a fun group! And what I love most, is that there’s no romance! YAY! Let me repeat that: there’s no romance in The Screaming Staircase. None. Nada! Well, there might be a teeny tiny little bit, but not in the “usual” way, if that makes sense? Their group dynamic was great. I like Lockwood as a leader and Lucy as our narrator. George was a really great character and so funny! I listened to the audiobook and loved the tone of voice the narrator used for George. As for Lucy and Lockwood; I almost feel like the narrator didn’t use different voices for the two and that’s a shame. It made it a bit difficult to follow their dialogue sometimes.
Nadia’s thoughts: Lockwood is actually my fictional crush! Also, the competition between the other businesses and the big companies (and people) who are in charge of a lot of cases and the government are so well explained.
As for the scariness… Ha, literally the only part that really freaked me out was the end, after all the scary stuff is over. Sure, the entire story is about ghosts so it has this creepy vibe, but I was disappointed. I hate scary stuff, really, but I wanted this book to scare me a bit or freak me out a little. It didn’t and that’s a bit of a shame.
Nadia’s thoughts: The book get’s scarier after Lucy starts working at Lockwood & Co. The scariest part of them all is the Screaming Staircase!
As for the audiobook, I already talked about the narrator not really using different voices for Lucy and Lockwood, but other than that? She was really good! The voices she used for the different characters fit those characters really well and that definitely added something “extra” to it. Looking back, I honestly wish this one one of those audiobooks with sound effects. Can you imagine how scary it’d be!? That would be something I’d absolutely LOVE. And I think it would just be SO SCARY! Oh well, we can’t have everything we want now, can we?
My Rating: ♡♡♡
I did enjoy The Screaming Staircase, but not as much as I wanted to. The series does have potential, though, and I might even pick up the next book sometime!
Nadia’s Rating: ♡♡♡♡
What I love a lot about these books is that they are written a bit childish. With a lot of funny jokes and an easy writing style. But this is what makes these books such a nice read. I’ve read a lot of different styles in the YA-genre, but I honestly believe that these books are in my top 3!
About The Screaming Staircase
A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes.
Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business. In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision.
After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England.
Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day? Readers who enjoyed the action, suspense, and humor in Jonathan Stroud’s internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books will be delighted to find the same ingredients, combined with deliciously creepy scares, in his thrilling and chilling Lockwood & Co. series.
Have you read any Halloweeny or Autumnal books this year? What was your favourite? Will you read The Screaming Staircase if you haven’t already?
* This post contains affiliate links. More info in my Affiliate Disclaimer.