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

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The Empty Grave ends the Lockwood & Co series, that with this novel reached the fifth installment. In the ending of the previous novel (The Creeping Shadow), thanks to the skull’s revelations, we could guess the main narrative line of this novel.

The Lockwood & Co. team main focus here is to understand better the outside world, discovered in the previous novel, but they also are after some ghosts, and these parts of the book are mainly interesting because they provide info about the feeling of the main characters.

To talk about the plot of this novel is quite hard (if one wants to avoid spoilers), so I leave the book to the readers.

I liked very much this ending novel, also because of some well-devised plot twists. The characters are always coherent with the background built with the previous books; here the main focus is on Lockwood and on his recklessness in finding dangerous situations, as Lucy has by now understood.

This series is a very good and enjoyable one, an absolutely suggested read.


* The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud ★★★★☆

*I read this book in english

The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. #4) by Jonathan Stroud

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The Creeping Shadow is the fourth installment in the Lockwood & Co. series.

In the previous book (The Hollow Boy), we left Lucy deciding to leave Lockwood’s agency to protect her friends, so in this novel we follow Lucy as a freelance operator, at least until Penelope Fittes asks for her to help Lockwood & Co in a particular case.

In the meanwhile Lucy discovers that some ghost sources are sold in an auction instead of being destroyed, and she soon finds her life at risk, ending up asking Lockwood for help.

The whole group begins investigating the creeping shadow, a mysterious gigantic ghost appearing in a town far from London, but very near to a branch of the Rotwell’s agency.

The novel is as always nice and engaging, however it’s a bit disappointing with respect to the preceding one that was much more emotional. The big twist here it’s at the very end, and only in further novels we will see how this news turns out for the Lockwood & co. team.


The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud ★★★☆☆½

*I read this book in english

The Hollow boy (Lockwood & Co. #3) by Jonathan Stroud

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The Hollow boy is the third book of the Lockwood & Co. series (The other two are: The Screaming Staircase and The Whispering Skull).

Lucy, the narrating voice, Lockwood and George are still working as an agency to catch the spirits haunting London, and they sill want to be involved in some major case, in order also to promote better their agency.

The numerous – small – works force them to work separately, and from this derives the decision to hire an assistant to help them in sorting out their activities: Holly Murno, who is however not liked by Lucy, also due to their character differences.

Lucy is more than ever the main character of the novel, and, her being the narrating voice, we see her bein uncertain, torn between wanting to test her listening skill and restraining to avoid unnecessary risks.  She always doubts her role in the agency, also because she is jealous of Holly, who seems to her as perfect and insufferable.

In the series The Hollow boy is the most well-built novel, or the one I liked more, thanks also the availability of two novels before to set out world and characters build; here we face more delicate aspects of the characters (Lockwood and her sister death, Lucy and her uncertainties). The novel ends with a shocking event, and so I’m already waiting for the fourth book to come out.


* The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud ★★★★☆½

*I read this book in english

The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus trilogy #1) by Jonathan Stroud

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L’amuleto di Samarcanda è il primo libro della trilogia di Bartimaeus scritta da Jonathan Stroud (di cui ho già letto un paio di romanzi della serie Lockwood & Co.: The screaming staircase e The whispering skull).

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The Amulet of Samarkand is the first novel of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, written by Jonathan Stroud (author of the Lockwood & Co series: The screaming staircase e The whispering skull).

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Theatre by W. Somerset Maugham

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“Beginners, please.”

Those words, though heaven only knew how often she had heard them, still gave her a thrill. They braced her like a tonic. Life acquired significance. She was about to step from the world of make-believe into the world of reality.

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[ARC] The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

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When I made a request for this ARC I expected a cheesy YA, instead it resulted better than this: despite the centre of the novel is the meeting of Lucy and Owen, the two main characters, and the beginning of their relationship, the novel focuses also on other themes that determine the characters behaviour.

Lucy would like to have a stronger relation with their parents, always busy travelling without her, while Owen travels with his father trying to forget the recent death of her mother.

Lucy and Owen meet in New York during a general blackout but soon they have both to leave New York: Lucy for England due to her father new work, and Owen for a long travel without specific destination, direction California. That single night was enough to create a bond and a passion for postcards, useful to fill the geographic gab between them.

It’s a nice novel with main normal characters and normal parents, overall well-built and less cheesy than its cover.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in English

The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud

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In The Screaming Staircase we met the three main characters of this series of novels: Lucy, the narrating voice and unique POV, Lockwood and George, three agents able to deal the issue of ghost apparition.

In this second novel they will carry on an investigation in parallel to some Fittes agents in order to find which group of agent is the best on, the small Lockwood & Co. or the bigger and more organized Fittes; the investigation has the aim to find a mirror stolen during the recovery of the coffin of Edmund Bickerstaff, a mysterious evil man who was interested in making contact with dead people.

While searching for the mirror Lucy will have the chance to meet old Lockwood friends and to test again her skill to communicate with the skull preserved in a jar within the Lockwood agency, a mostly unique talent that will provide some useful information.

Here the plot is more linear with respect to the previous one, nevertheless the story is engaging and well-built; it is introduced the theme of relic theft and market, a new element that composes the worldbuild of this alternative England subjected to ghost apparition.


* The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud ★★★★☆

*I read this book in english

From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell

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My opinion about Alan Moore works is complex, various and in evolution. I think Watchmen to be one of the best graphic novels about how hard is to be special, to be superheroes, and I like its graphic structure made by recurring symbology.

Neonomicon instead to me does not work for the excessive violence also respect to the original Lovecraft atmospheres.

From Hell is not one of my favorite graphic novels, but it stands among the two I mentioned. Its pros are the accurate events reconstruction (of one of the possible solutions, as explained in the appendix) and of the London areas where Jack the Ripper killed. It’s also interesting the idea of vision of the modern world by one of the character who does not expect them – as the reader.

The con – and From Hell being a graphic novel it weighs a lot – is the fact that the images are roughly sketched, so much that som characters are so similar to get the reader confused.

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* From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell ★★☆☆½

*I read this book in English

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

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The England where the novel is set has to face from some years a great problem: ghosts apparitions that can kill with their touch.

The best in spotting and fight them are child and young adults, in fact they possess a certain sensibility that adults have no more, and they are able to locate the ghostly presences, someone by spotting some light effects, someone by hearing cries and voices.

The agency protagonist of the novel is the Lockwood & Co. formed by three children: Lockwood, who has a mysterious past, George, skilled in tracing historical information and Lucy, able to hear faint voices and the narrating voice of the novel. They have to deal with a murder case happened decades before and with the most terrible hunted house in the London area.

The novel is very engaging and well written, the events compose an interesting puzzle and some ghost apparitions are quite creepy; I will read for sure the following novel of the series.


* The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud ★★

*I read this book in english

The scandal of the season by Sophie Gee

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The author, in this novel that mixes historical events with fiction, tells about the rise of the poet Alexander Pope and about the creation of the poem that made him rich and famous, “The rape of the Lock“, an epic style satire about the mundane society of that epoch.
And the novel describes vividly that same society, the noble spending their time in entertainment and at parties, the girls always trying to get attentions and maybe a rich husband, the witty dialogues, everything with in background the political tensions between catholics and protestants.
The author is able to describe the historical London and the customs of its inhabitants, such the preparation to feasts and dinner and the entertainment of the period.

The historical part is the one that in my opinion works well, I doubt more the fiction one; in fact I found difficult to have sympathy for the characters and their issues, moreover I think that this mix between history and fiction could appear too much a fake: for example the love between Arabella and Lord Petre is the author mere speculation, who in fact knows the true dynamics of their relationship? It should be clear that I’m not a priori against this kind of transposition of true story in forms of entertainment (a miniseries that works very well is Hatfields & McCoy), maybe in this specific case – considering also the competences of the author – the novel could have worked better with less fiction, better described characters and much emphasis on the historical component; despite this the novel is still a nice reading.


* The scandal of the season by Sophie Gee – ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in italian