Review: The Screaming Staircase

Sunday, 20 April 2014
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Edition: Doubleday ARC/Proof
Released: 29th August 2013
Series: Lockwood & Co. #1
Pages: 440 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

I am ashamed. So deeply, deeply ashamed. This book (or should I say, proof copy of this book) came through the post to me sometime last year. It was completely unexpected, a complete surprise and I hadn't given it much thought. I hadn't heard too much about it nor did it instantly appeal to me. Last night I picked it up on a whim, more or less due to the UKYA readathon and all I can say is that I'm very glad I ended up doing so, because it was rather incredible - I adored it.

It wasn't what I was expecting. At all. I didn't know I was in for a story that would complete transport me into another world. Nor did I imagine I would fall head over heels in love with the characters. It was just such a unique, refreshing and completely unexpected gem of a book. I seriously hadn't realised how much I was craving something different until I read it. It was a real adventure that locked me in and kept me hooked.

The world. That was the thing I was probably the most surprised about. I was expecting some world-building, not the exceptionally well-developed world I got. I'm not complaining though, it's probably one of my favourites in terms of setting development. I easily got lost in the sinister London Stroud had created and didn't want to leave. The world-building is extremely admirable and definitely worthy of applause (or a good cup of tea and a sugary doughnut - whatever floats your boat).

The characters, oh my, the characters. At first I thought Lucy (our narrator) was going to be slightly pretentious and overly mature but, luckily, this didn't turn out to be the case. She ended up being a relatable teenager, someone strong who could handle herself but someone you would want to look out for anyway. Her relationship with George was entertaining and definitely lightened up some gloomy situations in the book - when they were together I couldn't help but smile. Lockwood, well, he's another story. He's sure as heck different from any other male character I've ever come across before. He's eccentric, unusual, deviously charming and maybe a little impulsive and I'm just a little bit in love with him. He's nothing like the male leads I usually fall for yet... I just couldn't help but fall for him in this book.

To conclude, The Screaming Staircase ended up being a great read and definitely one of the best UKYA books I've ever read. It was different and intriguing and I ended up adoring it. A lot. A whole lot. If anything, I would say that at some points, and these were few and rare, I questioned the solidity of the plotline and the mystery but this book ended up shaming me because I had cast it aside so quickly without giving it a chance. It really was a brilliant read and I recommend it if you're looking for something different and exciting. The world building and diverse array of characters make it one you'll be sorry you missed out on!

Huge thanks to Random House for sending me out a copy of this book!
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo
PS: I'm even more ashamed that I never realised the talented author had signed my proof and there was a letter (addressed to me, with my name and everything!) inside from Mr Lockwood himself. Not only that, but after I downloaded the Totally Random Book app and pointed the camera at the cover of the book and a photo of the author on the back, both came to life! I will now treasure these precious gifts and profusely thank the author and Random House! 


  1. This looks like an interesting book and after reading your thoughts on it, I am definitely going to pick it up. Great review as always! :)

    1. Yay! I hope you enjoy it! Thank you! :D

  2. I wasn't really sure about this but your review has definitely got me interested! I *think* I may have seen this at the library so I'll have to check next time I'm there. Great review :)

    1. Pretty much what I was like when I first read about it... Oh how wrong was I! I hope you enjoy it if you do get it out! Thank you! :P

  3. Rachel you have completley and utterly convinced me that I need this book in my hands right now. I love it when a book does a complete 360 and surpasses your expectations. This sounds so refreshing and interesting, I'm in need of a fun change. Great review :)

    1. I'm so glad! I really hope you enjoy it if you manage to pick it up somewhere! IKR?! It's the best surprise! Thank you! xD

  4. *whispers* I still haven't read this book. Whoops.

  5. i hink i have this book on my mess of a shelf somewhere...

    i'd better get it out and start reading, right?

    1. also, i just nominated you for the sunflower award!

    2. Awwww, thank you so much! >.<


  7. Aww Rachel, it's alright! Better late than never, and here you are with a beautiful review for it <3 Never seen or heard of this one but it truly sounds like a fantastic read so I'm going to add it to my TBR. Everything sounds so good!! Glad to hear that you found it so memorable :)


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