Author: Jonathan Stroud
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Ghosts
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
After leaving Lockwood & Co. at the end of The Hollow Boy, Lucy is a freelance operative, hiring herself out to agencies that value her ever-improving skills. One day she is pleasantly surprised by a visit from Lockwood, who tells her he needs a good Listener for a tough assignment. Penelope Fittes, the leader of the giant Fittes Agency wants them–and only them–to locate and remove the Source for the legendary Brixton Cannibal. They succeed in their very dangerous task, but tensions remain high between Lucy and the other agents. Even the skull in the jar talks to her like a jilted lover. What will it take to reunite the team? Black marketeers, an informant ghost, a Spirit Cape that transports the wearer, and mysteries involving Steve Rotwell and Penelope Fittes just may do the trick. But, in a shocking cliffhanger ending, the team learns that someone has been manipulating them all along. . .
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of the Lockwood & Co series. I devoured The Screaming Staircase, absolutely loved The Whispering Skull, and even gave another 5 star rating to The Dagger in the Desk, a novella set in between both books. For some reason, I completely missed the release of the third book, The Hollow Boy, and maybe that put me on the wrong track for this next book, but somehow I felt like The Creeping Shadow missed some of the magic the previous books had.
Before reading this book, I often compared the series in my mind to Harry Potter. Lockwood & Co is the best series I’ve read since Harry Potter, and although it deals with ghosts and is vastly different from the Harry Potter books, it had the same magical qualities I found only in those books – as if the characters are so awesome, the worldbuilding so amazing, that it somehow transcends the ordinary world and becomes something new entirely.
But I didn’t really feel that anymore when reading The Creeping Shadow. It’s still a pretty good book, but heck, I even skipped parts this time. It’s way too long and some parts are dragged out – like when, spoiler alert, Lucy and Lockwood go get her skull back but then fail, and when they have to figure out who took the skull in the first place. I was three steps ahead of Luce and Lockwood, and that scene just dragged on and on.
It takes a while before the story finds itself, but when Lucy and Lockwood team up again (they’ve split up, Lucy working as a freelancer for a while) and accept the Aldbury Castle case, the pacing picks up and the story regain some of that lost magic.
Lucy and Lockwood have some moments, but I wish there’d be more. Loyal fans have been waiting for Lucy and Lockwood to hoop up for ages (I know there’s no romance but give me freaking romance!) and if all we get are some sweet moments, then WE NEED MORE OF THEM. More, for God’s sake!
The story was okay. I mean, the author is very creative (I know that from the previous books) and we get some cool action scenes and some scary ghosts (The Creeping Shadow being hands-down the scariest one) but the whole conspiracy angle threw me off, and I didn’t like it as much as I liked the ghost-fighting scenes and the actual cases Lockwood, Lucy & Co worked.
Either way, moving on, the skull, a trash-talking ghost-inhabited skull Lucy keeps in her backpack and carries around with her most of the time, is AWESOME. He’s the best character in this entire series, outshining even Lockwood. The skull is hilarious and I even laughed out loud at some of his snappy comments.
Now, while I don’t think the book is as awesome and amazing as the first book, I still enjoyed it a great deal, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series which will, unfortunately, be the last Lockwood book 🙁 I do hope Lucy and Lockwood kiss in that one, or I’ll be an angry reader and will have to resort to unleashing a ghost outbreak on the author’s house…or just writing fanfiction.