A sinister problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren't exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see - and eradicate - these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.
In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood and Co., a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood and Co. survive the Hall's legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?
Listeners who enjoyed the action, suspense, and humor in Jonathan Stroud's internationally bestselling Bartimaeus books will be delighted to find the same ingredients, combined with deliciously creepy scares, in his thrilling and chilling Lockwood and Co. series.
©2013 Jonathan Stroud (P)2013 Listening Library
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I have only one negative thing to say about this new Stroud series - Book 2, The Whispering Skull, is not due for release until September 2014 and I want it now! The Screaming Staircase is a wonderful beginning to the new Lockwood & Co series and shows promise of being every bit as engaging and well-written as the oh-so-funny Bartimaeus series. Once again, Stroud gives us a classy "young adult" book that you can comfortably share with a younger audience that is still very entertaining for a seasoned fantasy reader. In Bartimaeus, the young male main character is challenged by demons while the young protagonists of The Screaming Staircase are both male and female with Lucy Carlyle taking the lead role and ghosts are their paranormal challenge. While the Lockwood kids are not as cleverly snarky as the characters in Bartimaeus, they are witty and charming in their own right and have a nice balance of kid type flaws (willfulness, egotism, etc.) mixed with compassion and a good internal moral compass that you didn't see as much in Bartimaeus. Lucy Carlyle is as well-written a young heroine as I have met in fantasy since Garth Nix's Sabriel and Lirael - she's smart and vulnerable and very easy to identify with and root for.
Miranda Raison is a great choice as narrator. Her rather melodic voice and pleasant English accent fit perfectly with the setting, ghost-laden London, and she capture the essence of Lucy quite well. Raison does nice character voices and I really enjoyed her performance.
Whether or not you have young listeners to share with, anyone who enjoys paranormal fantasy will have fun with The Screaming Staircase.
I am sure I will relisten to this book again before the second in the series is released. It was a great ghost story with some detective elements that made me regret hitting the pause button. I finished the book in three days.
Like the Bartimaeus books, Stroud gives us interesting characters, strong development, and despicable antagonists. This book had elements of Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, and Young James Bond. It will get it's claws in you early and despite some slow spots, always keep you guessing.
Listening to Miranda was like eating Belgian Chocolate. So delicious and silky, you forgive the simple flavor. She does not have a wide range of character voices, but her natural speaking voice could make listening to the phone book being read soothing and irresistible. She has joined Nathaniel Parker, Katy Kellgren, Simon Vance, Simon Jones, and Jim Dale as one of my favorite narrators.
Well worth the time invested, buy this book!
I loved this. The story is great, the characters are charming, and I could listen to the narrator all day long.
I came across this book because I have read all of the Bartimaeus books by Mr Stroud and enjoyed those, and Goodreads sent me an email telling me about "new releases by authors I've read", including this one.
I liked this even better than the Bartimaeus books because it seems more universally appealing. As with those, there's still some magic involved here, but it's fairly subtle, and you get more of the "human side" of things. Plus, it's a mystery with enough plot twists that you spend good time on the edge of your seat.
This is likely intended for a young-ish audience as the protagonists are teenagers. Yet, I'm a 37-year-old whose children are far too young for books of this ilk, and I absolutely loved it. To enjoy it, you don't have to believe in magic, but you do need to like hearing stories in which the characters display some degree of supernatural power.
The narrator makes it incredibly enjoyable to listen to, capably bringing the characters to life.
Mr Stroud, please hurry up and write another; and Ms Raison, please insist upon narrating it.
Great story - I liked everything about it. As per his usual style, Mr. Stroud mesmerizes us with his excellent story development, original plot, lovable characters, and sly witticism.
I really liked her voice and diction however, it is clear that she simply "read" the page instead of understanding the material in it. She comes across as having no sense of humor. There were so many jokes and tongue-in-cheek moments that she absolutely flew through the book and consequently got ruined. I purchase the hard copy so I can read it for myself. She really rains down on the otherwise hilarious Stroud-esque passages. I think she could narrate any of the Russian classics or those gothic romance novels really well. But anything with any kind of humor in it is lost on this lady.........Publishers: Change the narrator for the next book - PRETTY PLEASE??
The story was incredibly engaging and original. The characters were relatable and sincere. I am very anxious to read the second book in the series when it comes out.
I haven't listened to other books by her. My only criticism is some of her voices for different characters sounded the same and it became a little confusing after a while. I eventually was able to figure it out, she just wasn't my favorite narrator.
There were the occasional amusing dialogues as I come to expect with Jonathan Stroud books which always elicit a chuckle.
Loved the book. Read it right now and share it with your friends!
Story and narration.
My listening enjoyment was an overall experience.
All the characters were well balanced.
No, I wanted it to last.
Definitely in the top 10%. The story is so original, rich, and interesting that I was immediately swept up. The ending was so amazing that I cannot wait to learn the secrets that book 2 reveals.
The author did a great job explaining the magical reality and world the characters live in (so like ours just altered in one major and devastating way). I came to love the characters and rooted for them every step of the way.
Totally different from his Bartemeus series and it starts with twists and turns and excitement galore. Ms Raison does a very good job bringing the story to life. Anxious for book 2 already.
The narrator is a good reader but not a true performer. All of the voices sound the same and, if anything some of the male characters have higher voices than the female. Also, as one of the other reviewers said, there are some really good ironic comments in the story and the narrator reads through them and totally misses the irony. I have heard other books with what I think was the same narrator and they weren't well done either.
The story is entertaining, although the "spirits" in the story seem to vary in how powerful they are based on what is convenient for the author. Sometimes the characters seem a little shallow and the events aren't written in order to be very "believable".
Overall I liked the book and I bought the second in the series and will buy the next one too.
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