The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1)

Who ya gonna call?

The Ghostbusters are at it again!
No, really, imagine junior Ghostbusters and you’ve got a good idea of this book.

 Summary: For more than half a century, the world has been plagued by supernatural hauntings. Numerous ghost hunting companies and investigations are established to exterminate these hauntings. Lockwood & Co. is one of them. Young agent Lucy Carlyle joins a small, peculiar agency run by the unusual Anthony Lockwood. After failing one miserable case, the agency seeks redeem itself by spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive. This is the first book in the series.

This was my first Jonathan Stroud novel, and I was highly impressed by the reading. You may be familiar with Stroud’s The Bartimaeus Sequence. Stroud continues to focus on fantasy with his new novel, but in a different way: focusing on the spectres and ghost-hunting. Fans of paranormal investigations will love this intermediate read!

Stroud is brilliant at crafting horrifying and creepy scenes, where the reader is able to imagine the ghosts as if they were in the very room with you. I gasped, I curled in a fetal position, and I read this entire book in less than 24 hours. Immediately, Stroud pulls you in with his story-telling, three-dimensional characters, well-crafted plot, and mystery.

From the beginning, the reader is pulled smack-dab into the action, feeling part of the investigation itself. When the investigation goes sour, the story begins to tell itself from the beginning. The organization of the book is a bit strange. After the action, the reader starts at Lucy’s beginning and how she became involved with Lockwood & Co., which is interesting. The author made a good choice to begin with the igniting incident rather than focus on backstory. It certainly drew me in, so while it was strange, it worked well.

The action doesn’t stop after the first case. The readers follow Lockwood & Co. as they attempt to solve the supernatural mysteries of the hauntings. Things become stranger and stranger, and are certainly not as they should be. Stroud links all the lemonade-308970_640pieces of the puzzle together in one astounding conclusion. This story is a definite read for readers who enjoy a good thrill, chill, and scare!

I honestly have no qualms with the story-telling or content itself, so with that, I award this book a perfect lemonade: 5 out of 5 lemons!


The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1)

Score: lemon_1smalllemon_2small lemon_3small lemon_4smallout of 5 lemons

A magical journey if Harry Potter was underground, adopted a sarcastic and pessimistic personality, and decided to fight against his destiny.

Callum Hu20578940nt is determined to fail. Growing up, Call has always been told by his father that magic is corrupt. In order to stay away from magic, he needs to fail The Iron Trial and avoid being admitted to the magical school Magisterium. Call is admitted to the school despite his best efforts to fail. While at Magisterium, Call learns more about himself, his magical abilities, and the secrets his father has been keeping from him.

The formula is there. Young boy with one male and one female companion, check. Mysterious magical school hidden away from the world, check. An evil villain hiding in the shadows, check. Even the plot follows a similar path: young boy who has faced death as an infant is transported to a magical school where he will develop his magical abilities with the assistance of element Masters in order to stop the evil Enemy. Throw in a unique world, sinister atmosphere, and a collaboration between two authors, and you’ve got the Magisterium series (a five book series).

While I see the formula and how much it’s like Harry Potter, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I read this in two sittings. I would have read it in one had I not fallen asleep in the wee hours of the morning. I was completely hooked. It was an enchanting read, and I wanted to know more about the characters and story. The plot twists surprised me, and I loved every minute of this, regardless of it possibly being a rip-off of another successful series.