The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud
Published by Disney Hyperion
Genres: Children’s, Paranormal, Horror, YA
For Fans of: The Bartimaeus Sequence, sassy skulls, Skulduggery Pleasant, Rick Riordan
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
After leaving Lockwood & Co. at the end of The Hollow Boy, Lucy is a freelance operative, hiring herself out to agencies that value her ever-improving skills. One day she is pleasantly surprised by a visit from Lockwood, who tells her he needs a good Listener for a tough assignment. Penelope Fittes, the leader of the giant Fittes Agency wants them–and only them–to locate and remove the Source for the legendary Brixton Cannibal. They succeed in their very dangerous task, but tensions remain high between Lucy and the other agents. Even the skull in the jar talks to her like a jilted lover. What will it take to reunite the team? Black marketeers, an informant ghost, a Spirit Cape that transports the wearer, and mysteries involving Steve Rotwell and Penelope Fittes just may do the trick. But, in a shocking cliffhanger ending, the team learns that someone has been manipulating them all along. . . .
Something wicked this way comes. Mild spoilers, for instance.
Confession time: This book was probably my least favorite in the series. Alright, alright, put down those pitchforks and hear me out for a minute.
The Creeping Shadow was flawed. The first half of the book was, much like Lucy’s encounters with Lockwood and the gang, awkward. It took a while to find its flow, and was honestly a little repetitive until it found its groove. We didn’t need to be reminded of what happened in the previous books that many times, Stroud. Just saying.
This book picks up a few months after the events of the previous book. Lucy’s been sticking it out on her own and, it must be said, she’s been doing pretty alright. Sure, it gets a little lonely, and sure having to listen to agency supervisors whine and harp during cases gets annoying real fast, but Lucy enjoys her freedom. And, more importantly, she’s taking comfort in the fact that she’s not leading Lockwood to his death.
But all that changes when she stumbles upon a dangerous secret, and the only people she can turn to are her old friends back at Lockwood & Co. – Holly, George, and Antony Lockwood. They take her back with, mostly, open arms, and the four of them quickly fall into their old groove and move on to solve possibly the biggest mystery in their short careers. One that involves the shady as hell (I’ve been saying it from the beginning) Penelope Fittes, and the Rotwell Agency.
From thereon out, the pace picks up, and the writing finds its rhythm again. And, without spoiling, lemme tell you, that the mystery in this novel has HUGE repercussions that will impact the rest of the series. Really. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the gang in the books to come.
The characters as the same as your remember. Endlessly charming in their individuality, and each witty as hell. I was surprised the find that the character I was most excited to see wasn’t Lockwood (Kaz Brekker has officially ruined me) but the skull. Yup. The skull. He’s still a sassy, annoying little cretin, but God he was a delight.
The imagery and the description were also a true delight. Stroud definitely upped his game in that department. Like, this books shows us some of the creepiest ghouls and ghosts in the series. It was all very well done.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable read. I just… I just can’t help but feel a tad disappointed by the initial pacing issues, as well as the character growth. Or lack thereof. I felt like there were so many opportunities for these characters to grow and evolve as people – but there really wasn’t much evolution. There were few changes, yes, but for the most part, they’re all pretty much the same. Which is sad, because considering everything they’ve been through in the last couple books, there’s definitely room for a little, believable, character change.
Oh well, who knows what surprises the next book will bring. I NEED IT NOW.
PS: Lucy REALLY needs to get over the Holly hate. It’s gotten really old.