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The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan StroudPrepare yourselves, because The Creeping Shadow ends in one hell of a cliff hanger!  Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. series goes from strength to strength, widening its scope with even novel and hooking me in with every page.

Not often can we say that middle grade fiction rises to the strength of the Harry Potter series, but I honestly believe that Lockwood & Co. is just as good.  And finally, with this new installment we are entering the territory surrounding the root of ‘the Problem’.

Lockwood & Co. are a small, independent agency dealing with the problem of ghosts that have been plaguing the UK.  No one knows why the problem began and only children are equipped with the psychic talents to deal with the infestation.  The small agency must battle internal politics, external politics between the largest rival agencies, navigate the criminal underworld, the paranormal otherworld and eat cake!

The characters are strong and flow with personality.  They each have a unique voice and represent archetypes to which we can all relate.  Watching Lockwood, Lucy, Holly and George (with the newest addition of Quill Kipps) fight side by side is an absolute joy.  The way they interact with each other, their humour and their individual ideals make them the perfect team.  You can’t help but be invested in them.

The plot of The Creeping Shadow finally leads us down the path to resolution.  The source of the ‘Problem’ has been hinted at since the beginning, but the events of this novel really make it feel like we’re reaching a climax.  People we trusted turn out to be up to no good, and characters who we’ve learned to distrust save the day!  Everything happens for a reason, nothing is incidental, and the descriptions of ghosts, ‘sources’ and other paranormal activity are visceral and spooky.  The way the story unfolds is like a puzzle, with all the pieces coming together right at the end to reveal the big picture.

I finished The Creeping Shadow in a day, and I’m desperate for more.  Jonathan Stroud is the reason I look forward to September.

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