Thursday, December 15, 2016

Series Review: Lockwood and Co by Jonathan Stroud

I read this book because it was suggested to me through my Overdrive app and was available “now” at the time that I was looking for something to download. I had never read any other Jonathan Stroud books but had already heard great things about The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Sequence #1), which I own. That series is also available on Overdrive and it’s likely I will listen to it super soon.
Ok, so Lockwood and Co. is a series about a supernatural detective agency. The world is London following an unknown event that has led to the infestation of the dead. The dead here are ghosts, phantasms, spirits and the like, not zombies. Children and teens, being those with the most sensitively to see other worldly being are recruited and trained to be Watchmen or hunters.

The series starts with The Screaming Staircase and we are introduced to the primary characters of the story: Lucy, a powerful psychic who is honing her rare gift of Listening; George, a slovenly, bookish fellow who’s psychic skills are mediocre but whose gift of research often saves the day; and Anthony Lockwood, the fearless leader. Lockwood’s background is mostly a mystery, even though the trio lives in his childhood home. The boys have been working together for some time when Lucy joins them. And over the course of the books their relationships develop. The stories are mostly told by Lucy and from her POV though there are some chapters that allow us to see from others’ perspectives. There are also a number of recurring characters, such as the adult leader of Lockwood's rival team.


Lockwood and Co. are an efficient agency who rarely turns down a case, no matter how small. Both in the cases that are central to the stories and in those that occur “off screen” we know that these teens are among the best of their talents but are often overworked, under-supplied, and, at times, a bit brash. The other local agencies are better equipped and better manned, but Lockwood and his associates would prefer to do things their own way rather than be governed by one of the adult- led groups they are often up against for contracts.

Each book features a primary case that the team is working on as well as some smaller cases. There's a pretty consistent story and the continuity is good across the books. There are hints that Lucy is starting to have the feels for our main boy in charge, which is totally fine until she, to date a strong female and awesome lead, starts to act like a pratt when the group gets a new assistant who is a pretty girl. If it weren't for that Girls Hate Pretty Girls for no reason trope, book 3 would be my favorite, but that bad taste in my mouth leave Book 2 as the clear winner. 
Fan art by: Lea- Bea (linked)

The first three audiobooks are read by different narrators. I didn’t notice the change until Book 3, when Emily Bevan takes over and Lucy becomes Scottish or Irish or something and the males become more nasally. A few chapters in, after I stopped cursing Listening Library, I settled the change and it was fine. Ms. Bevin also reads book 4, supposedly. It’s not available on Overdrive, which obviously is just more evidence of the conspiracy trying to get my to purchase an Audible subscription, but I’M TOO SMART FOR THAT, SUCKAHS!! The Goodreads description of Book 4 says that it ends with a "shocking cliffhanger." So, I'm already pissed off in anticipation of that happening.

Lockwood and Co is listed as a YA series and might be fine for older children who aren’t easily scared by the supernatural. And people die. Not prettily. It’s kind of like Scooby Doo and Ghostbusters sorta rolled up into one. If you like these, you might also like: Jackoby by William Ritter, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, and Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement- Moore.


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