REVIEW: Lockwood & Co. – The Screaming Staircase

13555073The Screaming Staircase was a very well done start to what will definitely be a fascinating and exciting series.

Lockwood and Lucy are the top agents in a paranormal/psychological investigation agency. They are ghost-hunters. Ghosts are a plague, an epidemic in London and it’s up to young people like Lockwood’s team to take them out, help them to the other side, and protect people. 

The author knows what he’s doing, and combines great writing skills with well-rounded characters and an interesting almost-dystopic-Britain setting. The language is quirky and complex, with just the right amount of paranormal, ghost-hunting jargon. The protagonists are a perfect pair of mis-matched teens, always at each others throats but ready to take a hit for each other, too. The secondary characters are interesting enough to stand alone. The ghost-infested city of London is altogether creepy and tantalizing.

The cases that Lockwood and his team take on – both to help people and to make money to keep their agency running – are always creepy and compelling page-turners. The mysteries seem a little predictable, but then hit you with a twist. Lucy’s point of view keeps the repetition of the case->adventure->solved->basecamp routine from becoming dull.

Think Harry Potter, Sherlock, and Ghostbusters all mashed together: that’s Lockwood & Co. It’s a great new series that middle schoolers, teens, and adults will love.

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Weather Witch

Weather Witch (Weather Witch #1)

Weather Witch was a delightfully complex surprise. I’d never read anything by Shannon Delany, and this seemed different from her other books, anyway, so I had no idea what to expect. I discovered a fantastically strange alternate past America, ruled by a wealthy elite that exploited the poor and punished, yet depended on, all things magical.

An alternate history version of Philadelphia is the main setting for this drama/adventure/steampunk/fantasy story. It’s a bit confusing at first, but that’s because the reader is thrown right into the world with little introductory exposition. I absolutely love this style of writing – I do not want the author coddling me or explaining how the world works. I want to figure it out for myself! I figured out that witches and all those with magic are exploited as power sources – electricity alternatives – for the New World. They are slaves to the city’s power grid, magic drained from them in painful processes orchestrated by one man, whose position has been passed down through generations.

When a girl is mistakenly branded a Weather Witch at her 18th birthday party the story really gets going – she is sent off to be a magic slave, her best friend (who is also in love with her!) must dash off to rescue her, while the Conductor is struggling with his morality and Philadelphia’s society is thrown into upheaval by the return of a magical murderer from the past. There is so much going on in this story, it is like a hurricane of magic and intrigue that sweeps you up and carries you off into an imaginary America that you wish you had grown up in.

Weather Witch was a great book that I highly recommend, and I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series!