Six months after the events in The Screaming Staircase, Lockwood and Co. are doing better than expected, except for the fact that Lockwood’s rival, Quill Kipps, is constantly stealing their jobs. In a fit of anger, Lockwood challenges Quill Kipps that on the next job they have together, the loser has to publicly state that the other is better.
Why this book?: I enjoyed the first, although I have to say I wasn’t excited for this one after seeing the summary. I was, though, interested in learning more about the skull!
After struggling immensely with the pacing in the first novel, I wasn’t sure how I would fare with this one. The ending in The Screaming Staircase had me grabbing a copy of this as fast as humanly possible, though, so I knew that I would be reading it, if only to answer my questions than for anything else. And, in all honesty, my feelings for this one is exactly the same: the story is good, love the characters, but the pacing and structure are truly horrendous.
I will admit that Stroud managed to blend two interfering plots better than before, and that there was clear connection with still an added air of mystery. There was a twist at the end that was surprising, yet if you thought back it would have been obvious with the information provided. That’s how you mix dual plots. Not by just shoving a completely random connection at the very end.
I kind of struggled with the characters, and what seemed to be a very unnecessary romance forming between Lucy and Lockwood. While I like both of the characters, it just felt very off and not well thought through. And then there’s Lucy herself. I don’t have a problem with her, but the way she shoved herself into Lockwood’s personal life, his past, made me very uncomfortable. She almost forced Lockwood’s confession out of him, so that portion of the novel felt very stressed. With this added to the possible relationship between her and Lockwood? That would have been a very unhealthy relationship.
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
The Whispering Skull was just as enjoyable as The Screaming Staircase. This series is fun and entertaining, despite having things that bother me (such as the structure and character interactions). I will be continuing the series just to see where it will go, but I don’t know how much further I will be reading it.
Would I Recommend?
If you like paranormal mystery novels that are middle grade, totally. The world is very interesting and fun, and I really enjoy the characters and their relations (except Lucy + Lockwood). I kind of wish that I knew more about each of the characters, but that’s what the rest of the series is for. The rest of the series is definitely worth struggling through Stroud’s bad decisions.
Published: September 16th, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Page Count: 435
Synopsis: via Goodreads
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 the Times 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.