Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Screaming Staircase: Lockwood & Co. Book 1

Stroud, J. (2013). The screaming staircase. NY: Disney Hyperion.
Middle Grade / Young Adult Fantasy / Mystery / Paranormal

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Check out this CREEPY trailer:

Spooky stuff! When I saw the recommended age range for the book was ages 8-12, I was surprised. There are some pretty intense, violent, and gory -- and very well written - scenes.  I would say this is more for middle grades than elementary, and even highschoolers can enjoy it since the writing is so good and the vocabulary is more challenging.

I struggled with when exactly the story was supposed to take place. It seemed very old London at times, in the way the characters dressed and talked and the general descriptions of surroundings; however, there were modern conveniences and items that indicated it was probably more modern times. I would have liked that spelled-out, but it didn't really affect the overall story.

The premise was unique and intriguing: something has shifted in the universe and ghosts of different type and strength cause havoc after dark. Children and young teens have more acute sensory perceptions than adults, so it is young people who are the basic workers to control and eliminate the spirits.

Our main characters, Lucy, Lockwood, and George, each have their own "talents" when it comes to detection and elimination of the "visitors," as the ghostly presences were called. And Stroud does a good job of letting readers have some insight into each of them, though not as much depth as we'd like -- my guess is more background will come in the next installments.

It took quite a bit of the book to build the world of London, but I didn't mind. I was glad to have the details and the many stories of hauntings and encounters. Did I mention the scenes were pretty scary? It didn't take a whole lot of hard thinking to figure out who was the culprit of the main mystery in this one, but it unfolded in an interesting and nail-biting way, and it certainly had some unexpected turns.

Thank you to Disney Hyperion for this ARC that I received nearly a year ago -- I'm just sorry I sat on it so long before reading! Ready for the next book!

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