Lockwood and Co: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud
|Lockwood and Co: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: Swash-buckling, rapier-wielding ghost-busters fight to rid Chelsea of a sudden flood of vicious phantoms – all before they're old enough to hold a driving licence. Thrilling battles, sardonic wit and some very nasty villains of the see-through variety.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448||Date: September 2015|
|Publisher: Corgi Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
The adults are baffled (as usual) and only Lockwood, George and Lucy can save London from the murderous ghosts. But it won't be easy: as the smallest agency of licenced psychic investigators in the capital no one is willing to listen to them, and besides, they have their own problems. A new member of the team, secrets that threaten to destroy friendships, and the sheer exhaustion that comes from trying to deal with too many hauntings – it surely can't be long before something has to give?
Oh, this series is brilliant! Spine-creeping terror is balanced by the kind of throw-away comments that will have readers snorting with amusement and the drama never lets up until the very last paragraph of the very last chapter. So – cancel your plans, send the rest of the family out for the day, and lay in a stock of biscuits (George would approve of that last bit of advice). Then settle down for a thrills and spills ride that will have you shuddering with disgust, then punching the air with delight – until the next shock-horror moment. Just make sure the curtains are closed and all the lights are on well, well before dusk...
Long coat, slim figure and dark hair that flops over his brow – Lockwood has more than a touch of the Cumberbatch magic about him, and a family secret that leaves him at times melancholy and distant only adds to his mystique. Handsome boy, shared life-and-death moments: it's pretty well inevitable that our narrator Lucy should feel a strong attraction to him, but what really shakes the fierce loyalty and affection of the three young people (apart from coming close to death on a nightly basis) is the introduction of a fourth and extremely pretty girl. Even George isn't immune to her charms (and her home-baked cookies). In a job that demands constant attention to detail and complete trust in each other, things are bound to go wrong. The only question is – how badly?
For those new to the series (where were you when volumes one and two hit the bookshelves?) Lucy, Lockwood and George live in a more-or-less contemporary Britain where only the young can see the dreadful influx of ghosts which throng streets and homes every night and threaten the lives of everyone in the country. Some children have special gifts to help them deal with the disaster: Lucy, for example, is turning into quite a powerful Listener, who can hear the voices of the dead and even echoes of past events. The downside of that, of course, is that she's plagued and occasionally assisted by a snarky, devious talking skull that sees, way before she does, her growing feelings for her leader, and comes up with constant suggestions for ways to eliminate the fragrant newcomer Holly which are both evil and dreadfully funny. Who knew the humble coat-hanger could be such an effective means of assassination?
Like all excellent books this story can be read without the previous two, but honestly, they're so good it would be a pity to miss them. Start with The Screaming Staircase then move on to The Whispering Skull. After all that, feel like something a bit more light-hearted while you wait for the last two volumes? Try Mountwood School for Ghosts by Toby Ibbotson: utterly silly and lots of fun.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lockwood and Co: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lockwood and Co: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud at Amazon.com.
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