The Hollow Boy is the third installment of Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood and Co series. The series continues on from the Whispering Skull as Lockwood and Co’s string of recent success has resulted in a flood of clients. Well, that and the fact that most of the other big name agencies are tied up with a sudden outbreak in the Chelsea area of London. As a result, our main characters often split up to tackle cases and tire themselves out. And without the other watching her and with prompting by the Skull, Lucy begins to test the boundaries of her ability to communicate with the ghosts.
(Jonathan) Stroud is a genius.
– Rick Riordan
Truer words have never been spoken…would be an over-exaggeration, but I definitely feel that Stroud has earned the praise. Lockwood & Co has been a great series so far. With the Empty Grave, which could be the final book in the series, coming out this September, I really need to get to the Creeping Shadow ASAP.
We learned more about the characters in this book. Lucy and Lockwood in particular had more of the story focused on them, but even George and Kipps had their moments. Bits of Lockwood’s past is made known to us and his motivations become even clearer and this made his actions seem much more reckless rather than heroic. And I love that. Lockwood didn’t change because his past was told to us. It was our view of Lockwood that did.
The book also gives us a whole lot more information than just the characters. We learn a little more of the history of the Problem, faced more fights and learn that the Visitors are perhaps not as malevolent as they seem. Lucy tries to learn more about this but is often stopped by Lockwood as he considers it too dangerous. But when she starts working alone, she tries to explore and learn more about her abilities. But it’s dangerous for her, as even the slightest amount of silver, i.e. her only defense against these ghosts, would affect her ability to communicate with them. The fact that it kept me on the edge of my seat whenever she does this is a testament to Stroud’s writing.
As mentioned in my Whispering Skull review, the book ended with a cliffhanger. The story in the Hollow Boy did not directly continue from that cliffhanger! I was fuming when I started reading. It was about 50 pages in before the events from Whispering Skull’s ending was even mentioned and a while longer before the full details of the incident were told. I kept flying through the pages to find out what the hell had happened, almost barely paying attention to the story because I was desperate to know what happened.
And to top it all off, there’s a freaking cliffhanger again. Okay, to be fair it really isn’t a cliffhanger as much as a freaking bomb dropped on us. There’s some semblance of resolution, the details are known but the full impact of the decision isn’t made known to us. It isn’t as bad as the cliffhanger from the previous book but at the same time it’s worse. You’ll understand when you get to it. Book 4 has a cliffhanger ending too, it’s blatantly written in the Goodreads synopsis. I’m questioning whether I should read it now or wait until the Empty Grave is out…
There’s a new member to the Lockwood and Co family and I’m not sure what to make of her. I’ve always been excited by the idea of a new addition to the crew, a new agent who could hold their own and affect the group dynamic in an interesting way. I saw it as a good way to create conflict and expand the story. I was dreading the thought of Kipps potentially being the one. And well, in this book, we get a new character named Holly and she’s not an agent. She’s just the agency’s secretary who helps them get organized as their workload threatens to kill them. She’s not what I had expected and exactly what I would have wanted the new member to be, but she does help transform the group dynamics in a good way, so that’s always a good thing.
Freaking cliffhanger and time bombs. Don’t buy this book. I’ve said it multiple times, and I’ll say it again, read Lockwood and Co. Maybe not right now, you know, with all the cliffhangers and stuff, but make sure you read it when the series ends.