The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Unlike the last book I reviewed, this one is not tough. The Screaming Staircase is a very good book, with a few small issues.
I saw this book mentioned by a literary agent on Twitter as the kind of middle grade horror they’d love to represent. Intrigued, I fired up my Kindle app and dove in. I was not disappointed.
Prose – Strong, elegant, and consistent, but not always efficient. Overall, it’s quite good.
Story – In a world where “Visitors” (ghosts) are a publically-recognized threat, children-who are the only people who can see the spirits-risk their lives to put the ghosts to rest. The story is told by Lucy, the newest member of the London-based ghost-fighting agency, Lockwood and Co.
The story is engaging, with the main focus on a violent ghost attached to a locket the team finds on an investigation. The best (read-page turner) scenes are those where ghost-fighting takes place. The author creates a real sense of danger by not only describing horrific manifestations, but also reminding us throughout of children who’ve lost their lives combatting ghosts. This results is gripping waves of dread and relief. The main story’s climax is also satisfying.
By the end, I wanted more, and look forward to reading book 2.
Favorite thing – The sense of dread the author creates in ghost-involved scenes.
Overall – Recommend.