Friday, November 3, 2017

Lockwood & Co. #5: The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co. #5)My name is Lockwood, and the Fittes Agency is slowly eliminating all the other ghost-hunting businesses in London. Penelope Fittes and her cronies are watching my team closely, waiting to pounce on us to take over. Marissa Fittes founded her agency before dying fifty years ago, but Lucy's skull claims Penelope has the same essence as the "dead" Marissa. I'm now beginning to believe it. We've found Marissa's tomb empty, and George has done further research that is even more disturbing. He thinks she learned how to enter the Other Side and may have started the Problem that unleashed the epidemic of ghosts into the world! But now someone has attacked George and nearly killed him. By someone, I mean the Fittes Agency. Penelope thinks we're weak, but she has no idea what I might do. We're going to strike back and take her down!

You should read the whole series to fully appreciate what's going on. The early books focused more on ghost-hunting, while the conflicts in the last two books have morphed into a battle with the Fittes Agency. The books are descriptive and well-written, and the author is able to evoke a myriad of strong feelings. The ghostly encounters are eerie, and Lockwood's team develops great annoyance and anger toward the Fittes Agency, especially after the attack on George. I was able to experience the team's dangerous trek through the Other Side with its frigid, silent, creepy threats. Lucy's interactions with the skull are highlights in the story, although she's the only person who can hear the level 3 spirit. The skull is confined to a jar, but it doesn't hesitate to make annoying comments about events or other characters. It always thinks it would be best to kill or dismember various characters. Lockwood and George were once concerned about Lucy's relationship with the skull, however they are now starting to actually think of it as a contributing member of the team. The climax of the series involves more human versus human fighting than usual, but the skull finally gets a bigger role too. I would have liked to have seen the problem found on the Other Side resolved during this book, but that happens sometime in the future. It would have been nice to see the spirits finally achieve peace. Overall, I can highly recommend this whole series!

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