Darth J 's Reviews > The Screaming Staircase

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
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really liked it
Recommended to Darth J by: Andrea ❤Ninja Bunneh❤

3.75 stars

*Please note that an Amazon seller sent me an uncorrected ARC of this instead of the hardcover I actually ordered so the book I read may be different than the final product.*



Initially I liked the concept of this book: young, psychic ghost-hunting sleuths who use an array of gadgets to solve mysteries in haunted houses. The problem is that the writing is sometimes too dry to keep your attention. Though the dialogue is realistic for the characters, not the overly snarky way adults writers think teens speak but intelligent yet somewhat flawed in their rationalizations.

The world building is roughly half telling and half showing, but there is plenty of background to slog through until you get to the meat of the story. The first mention of the Screaming Staircase (you know, the subject of the title?) happens when the novel is approximately 2/3 over. Until then, there is plenty to learn about the ghosts in this world like how they are categorized (which is somewhat vague) and what materials are used to contain them/keep them at bay.

Probably the scariest moment in this novel is when the trio find their house has been broken into and are faced by an assailant wielding a rapier and wearing a “white cloth mask [with] eye sockets [of] black slashed holes [and] another slash, jagged and off-center, formed the mouth.” (p. 205)


There were times I’ve wanted to give up on this book, but the thing that really kept me going was seeing the intriguing cover of the sequel. This novel could have been campy and gone in a very Scooby Doo direction, but I’m glad it didn’t. I don’t like the horror-comedy hybrid genre as a rule and that would have turned me off completely. What you have here is a dark MG novel that takes itself with the appropriate amount of seriousness.
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Reading Progress

October 1, 2014 – Shelved
October 8, 2014 – Started Reading
October 8, 2014 –
page 101
22.95% "Lavender candles keep ghosts away. Who knew?\n "
October 11, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by T.B. (new) - added it

T.B. Markinson Well that's a useful fact for this time of year.


Darth J T.B. wrote: "Well that's a useful fact for this time of year."

Apparently. I guess Yankee Candle must be rolling out those 22 oz. tumblr ones around graveyards like nobody's business. :P


message 3: by T.B. (new) - added it

T.B. Markinson J. wrote: "T.B. wrote: "Well that's a useful fact for this time of year."

Apparently. I guess Yankee Candle must be rolling out those 22 oz. tumblr ones around graveyards like nobody's business. :P"


I wonder what their tagline is.


Darth J I'm pretty sure it's part of their Exorcism collection. It says lavender but it probably smells like patchouli. Hahaha


Michael Fierce (Gandalf the Red) I like your comment on the cover of the sequel...why I want to read this series, really.


Darth J Michael Fierce wrote: "I like your comment on the cover of the sequel...why I want to read this series, really."

It is a pretty awesome cover :)


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