The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co #5)
|Series:||Lockwood and Co Ser.|
The Empty Grave is the final book in an extremely good and also extremely terrifying fantasy series. The story is set primarily in London, which has been the epicentre of an ever-increasing influx of highly dangerous supernatural activity for over fifty years - a phenomenon referred to, aptly, as "the Problem". Some children (but not all, and no adults) have strong psychic sensibilities, making them the only members of society capable of fighting the Problem. Most of these children are recruited by large-scale, adult-run agencies, but the heroes of this series work for Lockwood & Co: the only psychic agency run by agents themselves.
I've never read ghost stories like these before. The cases themselves are electrifying and uniquely imaginative, and the arc of the story through the five books is immensely satisfying. Similar to Stroud's earlier (and equally excellent) Bartimaeus sequence, the main characters are burdened with more responsibility than most adults, but are still young teenagers navigating their world with totally believable (and endearing rather than off-putting) angst and frustration. And the world they are in, fantastical though it is, draws some nicely layered parallels with our own world. Where Bartimaeus critiques systemic social inequality, Lockwood tackles unchecked corporate power and corruption - but it's never heavy-handed. The Empty Grave is a tightly wound conclusion to a powerful, empowering story. I totally dig it. (11+)
"Stroud's prose is evocative . . . and his horrors, pattering in the footsteps of M. R. James, depend more on the reader's imagination than the writer's gruesome welter. His humour is also perfectly judged, never undermining the terror, but allowing the reader to bask in the camaraderie of London's smallest, most slapdash and unlikely ghost-hunting agency, the eponymous Lockwood and Co. Throughout the series, he has achieved great feats of -characterisation." -- Imogen Russell-Williams * TLS *
"A devilishly good combination of engaging cast, memorable locations, comforting food and delicious pace all sewn together with seriously good, unaffected writing, The Empty Grave is the full monty; entertainment, excitement and intelligence sprinkled with wit and verve and sparkling throughout with an endorphin-laced exploration of a liminal frontier - in this case the very boundary between the living and the dead. The Empty Grave is a fitting and extraordinary end to a remarkable series; I am very envious of those who are yet to discover Lockwood & Co. for themselves." -- Zoe Toft * Playing By The Book *
"[T]he thrilling finale to the multi award-winning series, and the excitement and tension are held right to the very end. Sad to see a great series reach its conclusion, but better to go out on a high note, as this does." * Parents in Touch *
"Stroud brings his intricate, series long storyline to a close with a complex, dramatic climax followed by a simple, satisfying conclusion. A first-rate adventure, full of memorable, original characters" * Booklist *
Jonathan Stroud was born in Bedford in 1970. After studying English Literature at York University, he moved to London, where he worked as an editor in a publishing firm. He is also the author of the best-selling BARTIMAEUS sequence, which is published in 35 languages and has sold 6 million copies worldwide, and also of four other novels: HEROES OF THE VALLEY, THE LAST SIEGE, THE LEAP and BURIED FIRE. He lives in Hertfordshire with his family. He has yet to see a ghost, but is keeping his eyes open.