Content: Lucy is a freelance operative now, having quit Lockwood & Co. after their last big job almost spiralled out of control. But her protective bubble bursts when Lockwood needs her help to take down the legendary Brixton Cannibal. An assignment Penelope Fittes, chairwoman of the renowned Fittes Agency, herself entrusted to Lockwood & Co. and only to them. Trying to fix not only the disrupted relationship with her former team members but also focusing on bringing the assignment to a successful conclusion, Lucy already has her work cut out. But when her valuable ghost-jar containing the skull is stolen and Lockwood & Co. investigate, they uncover a mystery far greater than initially expected.
What a dragon thinks: I have been waiting for this book for an entire year only to almost miss the release date. In spite of my best intentions to immediately read it, I just finished it the other night. My motivation to read has plummeted over the last couple of weeks and my progress on books is very slow. However, once I got hooked to the story I simply couldn’t stop and felt the comfort of late-night reading again after so long.
One of my favourite parts about the books are the covers because they give away clues about the plot without really going into detail, leaving it to the reader to imagine what will happen. And only after you finish the book, the cover will make 100% sense which I absolutely love!
The story sets off with Lucy on an assignment and we accompany her into a haunted house. Already this first job sets the bar high for creepiness and as a reader, my eyes were glued to the pages. Secret rooms, mummified heads, adult supervisors who don’t care about the safety of their operatives and a ghostly atmosphere hanging over the scenes make the beginning of the book very enjoyable.
Although it was clear to me that Lucy would rejoin Lockwood & Co. by the time I turned the last page, I was wondering which angle Stroud would choose so it wouldn’t seem forced or ridiculous. But I needn’t have worried. Penelope Fittes hiring Lockwood’s agency to deal with the legendary Brixton Cannibal just did the trick. It was an assignment that could only be completed with an agent who has exceptional Hearing. And Lucy is the best. I also like the idea of Lockwood coming to Lucy for help and not Lucy begging Lockwood to let her rejoin the team.
There are so many things I would like to say about character development. For example, Lucy and Holly get along much better now which I absolutely love! The third book was the worst out of the four, mainly because of how Lucy treated Holly. But seeing them becoming friends, slowly but steadily, has made me really happy. At one point Lucy even defended Holly against criticism which to be fair sounded like: You ain’t got no right to treat Holly like that! I am the only one allowed to do that. But it’s a good start and I am expecting to see them being tight buddies in the next book.
Also Quill Kipps! I never knew whether I should like or dislike him as he has always been a bully. Having him come along on both the Brixton Cannibal assignment, as well as the final, Creeping Shadow job, made him much more of a person one could identify with. The inability to see and hear any of the supernatural gnaws at him more than anyone suspects.
Penelope Fittes. I could never quite put my finger on what was wrong with that character. She is the leader of the well-renowned Fittes Agency, as well as chairwoman of the mysterious Orpheus Society which produces equipment for ghost-fighting agents. She always seemed too perfect, too elegant and overall too aloof. Finally, in this book we find out her biggest secret and we have to decide: Do we trust her? Or don’t we?
We get to find out more about the skull in the jar! He is a problematic fave, really. But I think deep deep deep deep deep deep deep at heart he is a good person and I was quite upset when the jar was stolen. However, had it not been, several key moments would not have happened and the story wouldn’t have worked the way it did.
‘Ah, two firm friends, reunited at last! There should be sweet violin music playing for us, but I’ll settle for the screams of the dying.’
Stroud really stepped up his game concerning the creep-factor in this book. While the ghosts in the first three books were frightening to some degree, the ones in this story were really hardcore. As usual, we started out with a considerably normal haunting that is dealt with quickly and sets the story off. Then there was the Cannibal who already gave me the heebie-jeebies. The description of the site, the house and the noises really had me on edge. Also, Cannibals are gross.
However, it was the final and biggest assignment which really got under my skin. An entire village that was haunted by several ghosts being stirred up by a massive Creeping Shadow. I will not go into detail as I don’t want to spoil anything, but this last assignment was creepy from start to finish. Stroud is a genius when it comes to descriptions and his conjured vivid scenes and images that kept me on edge while reading. I even stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish the book; that is how hooked I was. The solution I found especially lovely. Horrifying but lovely. It actually gave the reader more questions than answers and I am really looking forward to the next book now! Which unfortunately will also be the final one. That’s right, people, with the next book the story will reach its quote unquote epic conclusion.
Favourite characters: Lockwood, Quill Kipps, Lucy, George, Holly … and the skull
Conclusion: Lockwood & Co. is one of the best book series out there and everyone should read it. This book was really intense and creepy but I loved every part of it. It is humorous, witty and creative. Lovely characters and a great story. And of course the ending was the biggest plot twist and cliffhanger!
Details about the book:
- Author: Jonathan Stroud
- Age: 9-11 ?! I am going to raise that to 13+
- Publishing House: Corgi
- Pages: 545
- Binding: Paperback
- ISBN: 978-0-552-57315-3