I am delighted to share my review today for The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud. This is the 2nd book in the Lockwood and Co series and it is a fabulous follow-up for this Young Adult fantasy series.
When the dead return to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in.
A series of grisly thefts have been taking place across the capital: powerful supernatural artefacts have been stolen, and their warders murdered. In an atmosphere of mounting panic, a mysterious skull in an iron box is unearthed in Kensal Green Cemetery.
Witnesses hear it whispering urgently, but the words cannot be understood. Lockwood & Co. will have to use all their ingenuity and skill to uncover the secret of the whispering skull.
Having read the first book not so long ago, I decided it was time to continue with the second book. I have been told that the Netflix series is good but to be honest I am enjoying the books so I won’t probably watch the series.
As this second book gets off to a great start. Things have been slightly easier for Lockwood & Co when it comes to getting cases to solve and therefore being paid. Their latest one is of an old relic or artefact that had been removed from a recently discovered lead coffin. The artefact is extremely dangerous and Lockwood & Co, as well as their rivals Fittes Agency, have been called in to work this case together. If you have read the previous book then you will know that these two agencies do not see eye to eye when it comes down to working together.
I really enjoyed this one as much, if not more so than the first. I think this is because I was already aware of the characters and also the feel of the story. It meant I was able to get straight into the story and plot as I knew who was who. The author has once again created a superb story that has mystery, suspense, and danger and it is a thriller that has some great humour to it as well.
While this is aimed at a younger adult audience, I have to say it also works so well for grown-up readers! It does have an almost gothic feel to it and I wouldn’t be surprised if carriages, police with whistles and truncheons and lamplighters were seen. It is when the author mentions phones, cabs and the more modern items that I realise this is not a Victorian gothic fiction story, but a modern-day one. It has the right vibes and then there is the atmospherics that the author injects into it as well.
As the characters creep around there are orbs of light, glimmers, ghosts, lurkers and various other spectre and creepy things hovering around. It does give it a gentle horror feel but for me, it feels more suspense based.
If you are looking for a fantasy, mystery thriller series and you also enjoy reading YA fiction then this is a series that you should read, if you haven’t already. I have only recently started it and it has been around for quite a few years already. A brilliant book and it is one I would definitely recommend reading.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Anthony Stroud is an author of fantasy books, mainly for children and youths.
Stroud grew up in St Albans where he enjoyed reading books, drawing pictures, and writing stories. Between the ages seven and nine he was often ill, so he spent most of his days in the hospital or in his bed at home. To escape boredom he would occupy himself with books and stories. After he completed his studies of English literature at the University of York, he worked in London as an editor for the Walker Books store. He worked with different types of books there and this soon led to the writing of his own books. During the 1990s, he started publishing his own works and quickly gained success.
In May 1999, Stroud published his first children’s novel, Buried Fire, which was the first of a line of fantasy/mythology children’s books.
Among his most prominent works are the bestselling Bartimaeus Trilogy. A special feature of these novels compared to others of their genre is that Stroud examines the stereotypes and ethics of the magician class and the enslaved demons. This is done by examining the perspective of the sarcastic and slightly egomaniacal djinni Bartimaeus. The books in this series are The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, and Ptolemy’s Gate, his first books to be published in the United States.
Stroud lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire, with his two children, Isabelle and Arthur, and his wife Gina, an illustrator of children’s books.
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