Book Review: The Screaming Staircase

Book Review
Lockwood & Co. Book 1: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming Staircase

Jonathan Stroud

Rating: 5 out of 5.

When entering a house occupied by a Visitor, it’s always best to get in quick. That’s one of the first rules you learn. Never hesitate, never linger on the threshold. Why? Because, for those few seconds, it’s not too late.

Plot & Premise

Recent addition to the minuscule Lockwood & Co. agency, Lucy Carlyle, is eager to put her talent to good use in London, where sensitive young people work to protect the general public against unwanted–and often dangerous–Visitors. When a poor call in judgement escalates to a disastrous encounter with a vengeful ghost, Lockwood & Co. faces serious danger of being disbanded unless they can land a high-paying, high-profile kind of case.

Things to Love

~a murdered socialite
~iron rapiers
~the charismatic leader
~DEPRAC
~the very haunted house

Personal Thoughts

The Screaming Staircase is a chilling start to a series that’s sure to enthrall and delight readers who like their adventures to be filled with paranormal peril and unknown phenomenon. While appropriate for braver pre-teens, the worldbuilding and mystery elements are complex enough to satisfy any reader who likes a taste of horror. I look forward to reading the second installment soon!

I read this via audiobook and loved Miranda Raison’s narration, which captured the dark details, awkward conversations, and constant suspense masterfully.

Ideal Readership

If you like a truly scary paranormal/mystery story, Lockwood & Co. manages to strike the balance for MG readers masterfully. While undoubtedly creepy and sometimes unsettling, it stays away from being gratuitously violent or morbid (for a ghostly murder mystery) so it’s all in good fun at the end. Just be wary of reading too close to bedtime!

Fans of The Screaming Staircase may also enjoy:
  • Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty for its brave heroine, creepy historical setting, and horror/mystery elements.
  • The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann for its alternate London setting, unfriendly paranormal races, and perilous adventure.
  • The Spiderwich Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black for its invisible creatures, sword fighting, and overly-confident team leader.

Have you read The Screaming Staircase? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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