Most helpful positive review
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Mostly delightful, but perhaps not for 10 year old kids
on 18 September 2014
Actually, I doubted whether to give it five stars after all, because it's been so enjoyable.
In a world where paranormal phenomena have become usual and deadly dangerous, kids with psychic talents are responsible for protecting alive population from the dead. After one ghost raid gone wrong, three teens, Lockwood, George and Lucy, are compelled to accept a suspiciously timely case in the most haunted house of Britain, if they are to save their little psychic agency from bankruptcy.
As he has done before, Stroud creates, basing on modern Britain, a rich and fascinating parallel world. Luminous mists creeping through the street at night, curfews, charms, and children going around dark houses armed with rapiers and iron chains; the background/atmosphere building is subtle and brilliant.
The narrative pace is light and pleasant, without unnecessary padding, but never too hasty, either; full of good old fashioned action and of the author's characteristic sense of humour.
The main characters are teens dealing with adult problems, loyal, brave, nicely portrayed (specially Lucy and George) and mainly lovable.
I took one star off because, although this is partly an intrigue story, the characters show a slightly nagging tendency to look over clues; besides, team leader Lockwood seems to keep crucial information to himself for no reason, so the mystery resolution is not as interesting as it could have been. On the whole, though, it's been a very pleasant reading and I'm eagerly waiting for the second book.
Just one warning: I've seen negative critics from young kids and parents who had bougth the book for their 10 year old children, and they have a point. Editors and publishers may consider this book as for 9-11, because main characters don't dwell on sex or romantic dramas, but, even so, its best qualities are better appreciated by more mature readers: the atmosphere (you relate better to it if you have seen some ghost movies; besides, you must have the patience to read descriptions), the absolute lack of soppiness (teen protagonists even sneer at "unhealthy and obsessive love relationships"), and the overall sensation of moving in a dangerous world facing death and adult dilemmas.
So I wouldn't handle this book to anyone younger than 14, unless he/she is a real bookworm.