Lockwood & Co: The Whispering Skull by Johnathan Stroud Book Review

Lockwood & Co.: The Whispering Skull by Johnathan Stroud
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: September 16, 2014

It has been six months since Anthony Lockwood, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England. Although they are able to pay the bills now, they still aren't as well known or as often called as some of the other ghost hunting agencies. When a new client calls needing some help with a grave excavation, the team is cautious but not concerned. That is until the grave is open, revealing a relic known as a bone glass which is subsequently stolen. On the trail of the thieves, Lockwood & Co. know they have stumbled across something big, but as things begin to spiral out of control, they realize they may be in over their heads.

I don't read horror. Mostly because my dreams are already crazy strange and I don't find nightmares to be particularly pleasant. So it is strange that I would pick up the second book in this series after the first one became nightmare-fuel. For those who like horror, perhaps this is the sign of a good book in this genre. I wanted to read it because my interest was piqued. Who was this whispering skull? What is Lockwood hiding in the room that no one can enter? Will they ever get uniforms?

Like the first book, this is a witty, character driven story with the same characters from the first thrown into another adventure. There is some character development, although not as much as I would have liked. Although the characters are all teenagers, they lack a certain amount of youthful vivre. I was also a bit confused with the parallel history, because at times the story feels very Victorian with swords and uniforms and then one of the characters mentions wearing flip flops. Often this felt very incongruous and jarring, which made that particular aspect of the book a bit confusing.

On the whole, the book was enjoyable, not quite as scary as the first, but I look forward to seeing where the author plans on going with this series. Oh and what a fantastic US cover! I would tell you who the cover artist is, but I can't find it anywhere.