Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Now Is The Season Of Evil!

Death is but a door, time is but a window - that’s right, Lockwood & Co. is baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Now Is The Season Of Evil!

BOOK REPORT for The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud

Cover Story: Vigo, the Scourge of Carpathia, the Sorrow of Moldavia
BFF Charm: Shiny
Swoonworthy Scale: 2.5
Talky Talk: River of Pink Slime
Bonus Factors: The Gang’s All Here
Anti-Bonus Factor: Red Herrings
Relationship Status: Higher and Higher

Cover Story: Vigo, the Scourge of Carpathia, the Sorrow of Moldavia!

I love the covers on these books. They’re atmospheric, spooky, detailed, accurate, and not photos. I can look at this cover and get the creeps - but also the can’t-wait-to-find-out jitters that comes with a great adventure story. Just like Vigo the Cruel! Vigo the Butch! OH, COMMAND ME, LORD VIGO!

Alright, it's a little bit of a stretch, but I am DETERMINED to make Ghostbusters II references work here, people!

The Deal:

If you're new to this fabulous series, check out our review for The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) right here! And then hurry back!

Lucy, Lockwood and George are back - in London a few months after the successful conclusion of the famous Combe Carrey Hall case, and besides a few dust-ups with those snotty know-it-alls at a rival agency, things are going pretty well. Well, not great - they still aren't rolling in money, and they still get a lot of flack for not being as official as some of the other agencies, but hey - at least they've got one good case under their belt!

Well enough, that is, until Lockwood & Co. and their arch rivals are both called in on a case that’s way bigger - and more dangerous - than any they’ve dealt with before. The scares are big and the stakes are high as Lucy and the team race to find a dangerous Source that could unleash ghosts all over an unsuspecting London.

Oh, and on top of all that, remember that skull in the jar that was always on George’s desk? It starts talking. Only Lucy can hear it - and she doesn’t like what it has to say about her team...

BFF Charm: Shiny

Yes yes yes! Lucy’s back, but happily, she’s a bit more relaxed - settling in to her role as a true member of Lockwood & Co. and enjoying a little bit of recognition for her impressive talents as Ghost Listener (heh). Lockwood is still as odd and charming as ever, but a bit more human now, as we get to see him make a few miscalculations and attempt to let his friends more into his life. And George - oh, George. I finished Book 1 kind of wondering (secretly) why George was still a thing; I mean, he’s not as dashing and winning as Lockwood, or as kickass and empathetic as Lucy...and then I finished Book 2 with a heart full of love for that adorable grouchbag.

(Besides, I know that if I were cast in this universe, I would not be the Brilliant Plotter with a Winning Smile - a.k.a., Lockwood - or the Kickass Ghost Hunter with a Heart of Gold - a.k.a., Lucy; I’d definitely be George, the Researcher. Reading at the library, or holding the bags for the other guys...so I sympathize).

Swoonworthy Scale: 2.5

That’s a bit generous, to be honest; there is very little swoon, but there is a lot of a quality I really enjoy: that sort of under-the-surface angst that comes from crushing really hard on one of your best friends, and never admitting it to anyone (and barely to yourself). Lots of that! Lucy and Lockwood have a lot of the Unspoken thing going on, but everytime Lockwood swooped in to save Lucy - or vice versa - my heart gave a thump. And by the end of the book, I was beginning to wonder if I was having palpitations.

FETCH ME MY SMELLING SALTS!

Talky Talk: River of Pink Slime

Lockwood & Co. ramp up the delightful banter as things get crazy, and I love that - you can always count on George to talk about his bum when there’s a looming Cold Maiden waiting to suck the life out of someone, just to take the edge off. But don’t get too comfy - the banter was great, but WHOA, the scares were SCARY. And kind of gross. Which made them even scarier. Between snarky back-and-forthage and incredibly sensorily-detailed scares, this book moved even faster than the last one, and when it was over, I had to catch my breath. What a ride!

Bonus Factors: The Gang’s All Here

Not only is everyone back for this adventure, but all of the atmosphere, the thrill, the mystery - in short, everything I loved about the first book - is back, and I feel like I’m stepping right back into a world I love to spend time in, with characters I care about. And that’s always worth it.

Anti-Bonus Factors: Red Herrings

Now, maybe - probably - these are cleverly concealed clues for a thrilling continuation in Book 3, but...they felt a lot like red herrings to me. I mean, mysterious secret societies with memberships that reach all the way to the very top? Promising leads for finding out how The Problem first began? These are not things to just be brushed aside, guys! I know you’re too busy worrying about the giant all-powerful Wraith that’s trying to kill you right now, but I NEED ANSWERS!

Relationship Status: Higher and Higher!

Book, you picked up right where The Screaming Staircase left off and just kept lifting me higher and higher! Sure, I might have to go watch a couple of Disney movies to get that scene - you know the one I’m talking about - out of my head, but hey. For you? It’s worth it.

FTC Full Disclosure: I acquired this book from my local public library, and you should too. I recieved neither money nor cocktails for this review, even though I was super nice about asking. The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) is available now. 

Savannah Kitchens's photo About the Author: Savannah Kitchens is doing the Lord’s work spreading YA lit to the masses as the head (and only member - but who’s really counting?) of the YA department at her library near Birmingham, Alabama. When she’s not disappointing her parents, she’s bottle drinking wine and playing board games with her husband.