The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud
Reviewed by Clover Brooks
Amazon Rating: 4.8/5
WARNINGS: Violence, Murder, Mentions of Blood and death
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.
This book is amazing! Like, holy cow, I loved every bit of it!
Just like the first book, The Screaming Staircase, you’re thrown right into the action with Lucy, Lockwood, and George. Lockwood is as cocky as ever, Lucy is kick-butt, the ghosts are terrifying, and (what I loved the most) George’s character took center stage.
You don’t know it at first, but as the book progresses, you learn to love and understand the all-knowing sidekick. In the first book, George was a great character, and I didn’t realize I wanted more of him until I read this book. His decisions were key to the plot, so when the poop hit the fan, it was like everything fell into place. Book one introduced us to who George was, but it isn’t until this book do we really understand how important he is to the team. A lot of the focus is handed to Lucy (the main character) and Lockwood (the leader and [hopefully] love interest) in the first book; George deserved the attention.
Overall, the pacing was on point. I read this book in less than two days, I didn’t want to put it down! It kept me on the edge of my seat, even when the characters weren’t ghost chasing. The plot had no problems whatsoever. My love for the world and the characters grew even deeper (Kipps is hilarious, Lockwood is still hot…headed, Lucy is so sassy, and George is a sweetheart who needs to shower more).
All in all, I would give it a standing ovation. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.
[Sidenote: I’ve finished book 3 (The Hollow Boy) and book 4 (The Creeping Shadow), so those reviews will be coming soon!]