The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. # 2)
by Jonathon Stroud
published by Hyperion
genre: MG/YA, Supernatural, Fantasy, Paranormal
Summary (Goodread): In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.
Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George's curiosity attracts a horrible phantom.
Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood's annoyance. Bickerstaff's coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.
My Thoughts: This is a book where I really like the world the author has built. Ghosts of every type have taken over the night time and the only ones that can see and stop them are the young. The only down side is the POV. For some reason I do not like Lucy's voice. She seems very snobby and at times seems to be trying to hard to be the "mean girl". My annoyance with her made me put the book down several times.
It's unfortunate because when I forced myself to look past her and focus solely on the story it was really good. We had talking skulls in a jar, a source that kills with a look, and a "friendly" competition between Lockwood agency and one of the large official agencies. Throw in deaths, black market auctions, and an interesting mystery and you have a good read.
Overall, I had a hard time rating this one. The story was good, with lots of interesting elements that kept the story moving. On the other hand I wish it had either been told by someone else or mixed in at least one other voice. The ending makes me want to find out what happens next but it's really going to depend on mood and who's POV it's told in.