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Lockwood & Co.: The Creeping Shadow (edition 2016)

by Jonathan Stroud (Author)

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995122,024 (4.38)9
Member:bibliovermis
Title:Lockwood & Co.: The Creeping Shadow
Authors:Jonathan Stroud (Author)
Info:Disney-Hyperion (2016), 464 pages
Collections:2017, Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, middle grade, young adult, adventure, fantasy, horror, supernatural, ghosts, mystery, adolescence, series: lockwood

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The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud

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**This book was reviewed for the Manhattan Book Review**

I am sad to admit that Lockwood and Co: The Creeping Shadow was my first foray into Stroud's Lockwood books. I absolutely adore his Bartimaeus series. Stroud has a true gift for weaving tales of gritty magic, and stringent societies, complete with strong females, and witty (if enslaved) sidekicks.

Lucy Carlyle is a freelancer agent, in a world where only children have the psychic sight to see spirits. Lucy, and child agents like her, respond to calls of hauntings armed with the tools to fight against them. They must find and dispose of the hauntings’ Sources, and a whole industry has sprung up to support agents in dealing with the ever-growing threat of ghostly invasion. There are the agencies, run by adult supervisors, the vast furnace complex to burn the Sources, and entities such as the Orpheus Society, that are working on new weapons and tools to stay the tide.

When Lucy teams up with Lockwood and Co, her old agency and the only one fully run by youths, to tackle the haunting of the Ealing Cannibal, she gets far more than she bargained for. In the aftermath of the case, Lucy's prize ghost-jar, containing a Type Three spirit that only she can speak with, is stolen. Attempts to retrieve her erst-while companion lead to the discovery of a black market for powerful Sources, and beyond that, a plot so sinister Lockwood and Co can scarce countenance it. By the time they are done one agency will be ashambles, and they will have earned some fearsome enemies.

After reading this book, I went out and snagged the others in the series. I love British writers in general, and Stroud in particular. This book can certainly be read stand-alone, though. Enough backstory is given via dialogue and mental processing. So delicately is it woven in that you won't even realise you've missed other books before it, if you didn't know ahead of time.

The tone of this book was a little different from Stroud's Bartimaeus series. It was a little less formal. I must admit, I do believe I like this series more than Bartimaeus, though I still love that one too. The pacing seems quicker. There’s always some action going on. My only puzzlement is in regards to the occasional swapping of American words with British ones. If you don't know 'chips’ and 'fries’, or 'biscuits’ and 'cookies’ refer to the same thing, this could be confusing. It does not happen often, and I only noticed it with foods. There was also 'chips’ and 'crisps’.

🎻🎻🎻🎻🎻 Perfect for fans of Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy, Grossman’s The Magicians trilogy, Rowling's Harry Potter series, and books such as Susanne Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell. ( )
  PardaMustang | Apr 3, 2017 |
As this series goes on, the mysteries of each book, and the ultimate mysteries of the series, are becoming increasingly obvious to me, and yet there's no indication the series is ever going to end. It's kind of boring, waiting for characters to understand things you figured out whole books ago. ( )
  bibliovermis | Mar 2, 2017 |
After an ominous glimpse at the future, Lucy decided it was best to part ways with Lockwood & Co. She transformed herself practically overnight into a successful freelance agent (with the help of the talking skull in a jar that she carries around with her) that have many vying for her services. When a knock on her door early one morning brings Lockwood back into her life, requesting her services in a most important job, she struggles to decide which is the right path for her. Lucy begins to realize though that the premonition she foresaw for Lockwood just might happen with or without her presence. The jobs the group takes on though continue to increase in the risk involved and Lucy realizes she’d be hard-pressed to say no to the opportunity to work alongside him and the group once again.

‘It was a bit annoying not being able to sleep, but it was a change being kept up by moral conundrums rather than Wraiths and Specters. Doubts, like ghosts, gain strength in darkness; even with the dawn I wasn’t sure I’d done the right thing.’

While Lucy’s apprehension about re-joining the group, albeit temporarily, was understandable, I sure did love to see the gang all back together. Lucy, Lockwood, and George always had a fantastic team dynamic and the addition of Holly in The Hollow Boy did cause things to go somewhat askew but fortunately that wasn’t for good. Holly has become a full-fledged, active member of the team, her and Lucy have repaired their personal rift, and she even briefly shows a bit of her badass side much to my satisfaction. Skull still manages to keep his spot secured as my favorite character of the bunch though, despite his partial absence in this tale. His snarky commentary is so very comical.

“You’ve got a good thing going here,” the skull said. “It’s called independence. Don’t throw it away. And, speaking of throwing things away – your dress. Too tight.“
“You think so? It looks all right to me.”
“You’re only looking at the front, love.“
An altercation ensued here.

What with Skull’s partial absence, George stepped in as a suitable replacement for the time being.

“George.”
“What?”
“We’ve got to destroy the circle. That monster flare of yours. Now might be just the time for it.”
“What? Big Brenda?”
“You’ve given it a name?”
“I’ve grown kind of attached to her.”

When the group begins investigating why someone could be stealing powerful sources, this leads them to convoluted conspiracies, ghostly experiments, and all sorts of danger. Stroud still manages to deliver on the creepy too. Extremely unnerving lines that’ll make your eyes widen from unseen horrors. I loved seeing Lucy operating successfully solo but it was such a joy to see her back with the team again. Stroud leaves us with yet another stunner of a cliffhanger that will leave fans of this series both anxious and nervous for future dangers in store for the team.

‘There are many new questions to answer, and our investigations have only just begun.’ ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Nov 3, 2016 |
This is the fourth book in the Lockwood and Co series and I thought it was the best book in this series yet! I really enjoyed all the creepiness, the characters, and the larger story that has gone from book to book. This is a great Halloween read that I think all readers middle grade and older would enjoy. Part of the book can get pretty scary and intense; I know the first book in this series was too scary for my 9 year old son so he stopped reading it.

The book starts out with a bit of a melancholy tone as Lucy is trying to make it on her own with only the skull in the jar for company. This is a bit depressing but things really pick up for her when Lockwood and Co hire her to consult on a case with them. On her own Lucy has discovered some strange findings as well; she has discovered that Sources that were supposed to be destroyed are ending up on the black market.

The story is fast-paced and engaging, I love how well the writing style flows as well. These characters are so much fun and I really enjoy this alternate world where ghosts are deadly and can only be seen by children. This whole series has had great atmosphere to it and I have really enjoyed the format. I love that each book has a mystery that needs to be resolved but that there is a broader story that spans multiple books as well.

Overall I am loving this creepy series; I enjoy the alternate world it’s set in, the writing style, the fast-pace, and the engaging characters. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book! ( )
  krau0098 | Oct 16, 2016 |
After the events in The Hollow Boy, Lucy is now a freelance psychical investigator, making good use of her special Talent, Listening. After another successful mission, Lockwood suddenly appears on her doorstep, asking her to come on board for one special assignment in which her Talent would make all the difference to the outcome of the case. She agrees, albeit reluctantly, and is soon involved in an investigation that requires all her skill, resourcefulness and Talent to solve ...

More than any other books in the series so far, I feel that familiarity with the events in the previous volume is absolutely essential to understand characters' motivations, though they are alluded to briefly. Already this volume is becoming one of my favourites, along with The Screaming Staircase, as not only does Jonathan Stroud serve up yet another superb helping of incredibly tense and atmospheric ghost story (in the second part you can almost cut the tension with a knife, it is done so phenomenally well), he also emphasises the importance of friendship and individual acts of courage which make Lockwood & Co. so remarkable as an agency and as a series. Wonderful stuff. The downside? After racing through the book in less than 24 hours, I now have to wait an almost unbearable 365 days (or thereabouts) for the next – and very likely to be final – volume. ( )
1 vote passion4reading | Sep 18, 2016 |
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Superb ghost story
that emphasises friendship
and bravery too.
(passion4reading)

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