Review of AUDIOBOOK The Empty Grave – Book 5 of the Lockwood & Co series by Jonathan Stroud #Brainfluffbookreview #TheEmptyGravebookreview

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It took me a while to summon up the courage to listen to this slice of Lockwood & Co’s adventures, because it’s the last book in the series – and I so very much didn’t want the awesomeness to end…

BLURB: Five months after the events in THE CREEPING SHADOW, we join Lockwood, Lucy, George, Holly, and their associate Quill Kipps on a perilous night mission: they have broken into the booby-trapped Fittes Mausoleum, where the body of the legendary psychic heroine Marissa Fittes lies. Or does it? This is just one of the many questions to be answered in Book 5 of the Lockwood & Co. series. Will Lockwood ever reveal more about his family’s past to Lucy? Will their trip to the Other Side leave Lucy and Lockwood forever changed? Will Penelope Fittes succeed in shutting down their agency forever? The young agents must survive attacks from foes both spectral and human before they can take on their greatest enemy in a climactic and chaotic battle.

As is apparent from the blurb, this isn’t a series you can easily crash into. As each of the stories, while standalone for each of the mysteries they pose, adds another piece of the puzzle that Lockwood and his young associates are struggling to solve – what caused the Problem in the first place, some fifty years ago. Why did ghosts suddenly take to infesting the world of the living, causing fear, havoc and so many countless deaths?

By now, I am thoroughly at home with Lucy, the main protagonist whose dry humour leavens the creepier moments, and her companions – the dashing young Anthony Lockwood, clever, spiky George, precise and poised Holly and acerbic Kipps – not to mention Flo Bones and the Skull, who Lucy carries about in a rucksack in a jar. While this apparently a children’s book, there are plenty of moments that are genuinely creepy – sufficiently so that when my grandson was listening, he decided that he’d rather hear them during the day rather than when he was trying to get to sleep. In my opinion, this series is definitely more suited to the eleven to fifteen age-group, though this rather picky granny absolutely loved it.

There is a layering in the characterisation, a real sense of poignancy when dealing with Lockwood’s loss of his family and a depth of scene setting and worldbuilding that is a solid delight throughout. While I loved the Bartimaeus series, I’ve enjoyed Lockwood & Co even more, given those footnotes got a bit annoying halfway through.

As it is the final book in the series, there isn’t much to say that won’t immediately lurch into Spoiler territory – but don’t start at The Empty Grave, please do begin with the first book, The Screaming Staircase. Right now, I wish I had a timeturner so I could give it a twist and begin allll over again. I’m feeling drained and a tad emotional… the way you do when a world has sunk its hooks right into your heart and you know that even if you reread the story, you can’t ever experience it in quite the same way again. Highly recommended for everyone and an outstanding ending to an outstanding series.
10/10

14 responses »

    • I hate it! I feel like I’ve lost something precious:(. There’s a number of wonderful listening experiences that have suddenly come to an end and I’m experiencing multiple withdrawal symptoms. I think I need treatment…

  1. Ah the end! Delightful and sad all at once. I wish I could experience this one for the first time all over again. Hard to believe I read the series two years ago. I do think I would potentially reread these in audiobook format in the future. Did ye listen to all of them with yer grandson? If so, did he have a favourite book?
    x The Captain

    • No… to be honest, he’s a bit young for them – but my granddaughter burned through them and loved them all, though I think she mentioned that she found the last one her favourite. What about you, do you have a favourite, Cap?

  2. I’ve read the first book but haven’t continued yet… It’s neat that the audiobook was so good that your grandson got creeped out! That is a real testament to the atmosphere. Maybe this is one series I need to listen to with my nephew on audiobook. TBH I don’t get into audiobooks often but what a neat way to bond over reading. ❤️

  3. This sounds like a wonderful series for Middle Grade readers, however, it also sounds like one I would like to give a go to. I will have to see if I can find the audiobooks on Hoopla. Great review Sarah.

    • The audio versions are excellent, though the narrator of the second book isn’t perhaps as good as the narrator who then takes over and narrates the third, fourth and fifth books. I loved listening to them – in amongst the mayhem, there remains plenty of humour.

  4. Oh, it’s so hard when a beloved series comes to a close, but if it closes strong, then one can always start the series over knowing the journey’s fun from start to finish. (Ironically, Bo’s watching a review for TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, which is apparently awful for killing off the old franchise so they can start a new one. That does seem to be Hollywood’s song these days…)

    • Yes… though as I don’t generally reread, there is always a moment of acute loss. I’m not sure if I’m going to end up being a re-listener, given that I’ve only had the pleasure of audiobooks since February. But this series is wonderful…

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