Hazel West's Reviews > The Screaming Staircase

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
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really liked it
bookshelves: summer-reading-2014

Thoughts on the Overall Book: I always love a good ghost story, and what's better than professional ghost hunters? I thought this book had a really cool twist to the traditional ghost story and was overall a really awesome adventure with cool characters.

Cover--Yea or Nay: Yes! I really love the cover. While there are people on it, you can't see any definitive features and I think it works. It has a cool ghostly look to it to indicate the kind of book this is.

Characters: Lucy is the protagonist and narrator of the story and I really liked her a lot. She's a sensible heroine, she knows what she's doing and when she does make mistakes it's more in the way that people are human and not because she does it out of stupidity. In fact, usually her mistakes ended up being for the better in the long run. Lockwood was also a totally awesome character. I loved him; he's just the kind of guy character I love to read about. He was humble, somewhat quiet, and not afraid to speak his mind. He was a very mature individual and he also had an awesome fashion sense ;) George was your typical quirky member of the group, the geeky one, but he definitely stepped up to the plate when needed, and despite his shortcomings, I liked him as well. What I loved most about them was that there was no romance at all between them. They worked as partners and had a very familial relationship which was totally awesome. I'm not going to say much about a lot of the supporting characters because I don't want to give away spoilers, but I liked the supporting cast a lot too, and the baddie while not totally present was creepy even if he did monologue a little more than needed.

The Romance: None!!

Writing Style: I really loved the writing style; Lucy's narration is awesome, because she has a very dry sense of humor which I always love, and though the book never really became actually scary, at least in my opinion (but it takes a lot to creep me out) it had a really almost noir feel to it. The book is actually set in modern days, but it has the feel of a Victorian novel. In fact, I had to keep reminding myself it wasn't, even though modern technology does show up. Apart from being a ghost story this was an awesome mystery and I loved how all the seemingly unconnected bits fit together. The story itself is set in kind of an alternate version of our world; it's all the same places and everything, but for some reason in Britain, there has been an influx of ghostly activity and that's why they have to create ghost fighting companies. Since Children are able to see ghosts better than adults, they make up the most of the companies. It was all a very clever and unique idea, even if the reason for all the ghostly activity is never really explained. No one knows why in the book either, so it didn't really bother me, and is not entirely relevant to the plot, at least not in this book. It also had a very British feel to it which I loved. My only complaint, which isn't even really a complaint because it's not the author's fault at all, was that when the book was published in America they Americanized it and I HATE it when they do that. It sounds so wrong to have American words in place of British ones that should be there and it kind of took the feel away for me on occasion. I never understand why they do this anyway, it's not that hard to figure out. It will teach kids something. Kids aren't stupid, after all. I was also insulted when people spelled things out for me in books when I was a kid.

Accuracy/ Believability: Not applicable. But the ghostly lore from what I've known prior is pretty traditional; iron, salt, that sort of thing, but I loved the gadgets they used too. Very fun!

Problems/What bothered me: No problems, I enjoyed the book a lot.

Conclusion: 4 stars. This is the first book I have read by Jonathan Stroud and I can't believe I haven't read any of his books before. I really enjoyed this a lot, and I'm looking forward to continuing the series.

Recommended Audience: If you enjoy ghost stories, this is a great one to add to your shelves. Girl or guy read 12 and up.

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Reading Progress

November 4, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
November 4, 2013 – Shelved
June 14, 2014 – Shelved (Other Hardcover Edition)
June 15, 2014 – Started Reading
June 15, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read (Other Hardcover Edition)
June 15, 2014 –
page 89
June 16, 2014 –
page 150
June 17, 2014 –
page 205
June 17, 2014 –
page 247
June 19, 2014 –
page 277
June 20, 2014 –
page 337
June 20, 2014 – Shelved as: summer-reading-2014
June 20, 2014 – Finished Reading

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