The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud Review

The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud Review
The Creeping Shadow by
Series: Lockwood and Co. #4
Date Published:
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Language: English
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
ISBN: 9781484729052
Edition: ebook
Pages: 464

After leaving Lockwood & Co. at the end of The Hollow Boy, Lucy is a freelance operative, hiring herself out to agencies that value her ever-improving skills. One day she is pleasantly surprised by a visit from Lockwood, who tells her he needs a good Listener for a tough assignment. Penelope Fittes, the leader of the giant Fittes Agency wants them--and only them--to locate and remove the Source for the legendary Brixton Cannibal. They succeed in their very dangerous task, but tensions remain high between Lucy and the other agents. Even the skull in the jar talks to her like a jilted lover. What will it take to reunite the team? Black marketeers, an informant ghost, a Spirit Cape that transports the wearer, and mysteries involving Steve Rotwell and Penelope Fittes just may do the trick. But, in a shocking cliffhanger ending, the team learns that someone has been manipulating them all along....


I was almost bawling my eyes out with the intensity of Lucy's emotions 15% of the book. The four months that she was away from Lockwood was just emotionally agonizing but she definitely needed it. She was able to grow as a person, learned to be so patient with other agents (lousy ones) when she managed to successfully rent herself out as a freelance consultant psychic and work with various people including Rotwell's. She was also able to hone her unique and very rare Talents including Listening (the ability to hear ghosts and for her part, talk to them) and Touch (touch on an object of significance and drift herself to the memories of the past).

My heart was definitely like this in the beginning:

The first part of the book was definitely lonely but funny, what with the skull as the company. The emotional masochist in me basked with Lucy's emotional turmoil but at the same time, irritated with her misplaced jealousy of Holly because clearly she was just very insecure of her. But that moment when Lockwood came crashing on her door though...

The Creeping Shadow was impressive. I love the intricate weaving of the story with the different kinds of ghosts, the seeming randomness of scenarios that Lockwood and Company find themselves in and somehow all converge at a single thing: the beginning of the Problem. Everything seems spontaneous but the situations that each of our charming characters face themselves are deliberate in their designs: from the ghost that Lucy single-handedly defeated earlier in the book (as a freelancer) to the ten-year old client harassing Lockwood and Company, to the former threatening force they faced during that carnival in London that just so happens to cross paths with their current endeavor.

We know from the previous book of the attempt at Penelope Fittes' life and how Lockwood and his gang of friends saved the day. We know of the ghostly weapons the adversaries were using there. That incident was just part of the introduction in The Screaming Staircase but everyone involved there will come knocking at Lockwood and Company's door so to speak and despite Lucy's attempt at separating herself from the company, she will just have to join in on the fray.

I find this book not as scary as The Whispering Skull nor The Hollow Boy but I love the war of emotions between Lucy and Lockwood. Moreover, The Creeping Shadow is more plot-driven than action-sequence driven. In the grand scheme of things, you could definitely say that both Lucy and Lockwood almost lost their lives but when you realize the state they were in (innocent of what's really happening in that one crucial scenario), there almost was nothing to fret about unlike that incident at The Screaming Staircase and Lucy's encounter with the hollow boy. But the plot. Damn! The book ended with a huge bang that I'm teetering at the edge of the cliff.

Here's the various states of my mind during my progress in reading this book:

Chapter Two:

I just so love the skull's mastery of the language called sarcasm. I wonder if he's a very good-looking man when he was still alive. His sense of humor is just a major turn on and his overconfidence is just telling. I doubt any ghost could be so conceited and learned that conceit while he was dead with no one to notice him until Lucy happened.

“Do you see her?” I whispered. “No. She’s tricky; flicks in and out of this world. Makes her hard to pin down.” “I wonder what the Source is, what she’s guarding.” “Some bit of her, more than likely. Maybe the husband got overenthusiastic, hacked her into pieces. A toe rolled off, say, went under a chair, and got lost. Easily done.” “Why do I ever listen to you? That’s so disgusting.” “Hey, there’s nothing disgusting about random body parts,” the skull said. “I’m one myself. It’s an honest profession..."

No matter how dire and sorrowful the narration is, Jonathan Stroud could throw in humor without throwing you off. He has a keen sense of humor.

Chapter Six:

If I were a pessimist, I hate how Anthony Lockwood manipulates Lucy's emotions. Like at the beginning where he managed to convince Luce to work for Lockwood and Company again (as a hired freelancer of course), he’d very much made it seem as if the impulse had come from him instead of telling outright that it was Penelope Fittes's idea to specifically hire Lucy for the job. He made Lucy believe as if he badly needed her and Lucy went with her heart. Now, let's just say I believe Lockwood actually feels something for Lucy. He's using this chance as a way to get her back and that's why he's skirting around the real reason he wanted Lucy for this particular mission.

More than a third in the book, I was hurting real bad. I hate jealousy! I applaud the male author for instilling so much girly feelings on me. I'm just so emotionally invested in this book, I could not rein my ill feelings when it comes to Luce's romantic feelings. Add to the fact that I still can't get over my irritation with Rand's excessive romance (because he's in love with three women) in The Wheel of Time series.


When it comes to character development, Lucy has mastered her language of sarcasm and she owed that to our friendly skull. Skull maybe the damsel in distress in this book as he needs saving but he saved Lucy's life a lot of times too and I see him as the definite hero of this book.

What I'm really, really sad about was how Anthony Lockwood seems to just embrace the real possibility of mortal peril. He just accepts that he's going to die young (a teenager) and while he's at it, he just dashes in and out of dangerous situations. He's like the walking dead man, Lan Mandragoran (of the Wheel of Time series) but where Lan gives a fierce stony look, Lockwood disarms everybody with this dashing huge smile.

Possible Events in the Sequel

  • I believe the main antagonist of this book is coming back in the next book since Lucy left something essential on the site where the antagonist is supposed to have gone missing.
  • I refuse to accept this one. If the next book is the finale of the series, Anthony Lockwood might die.


The Creeping Shadow is the fourth book of the critically acclaimed Lockwood and Co. series. If you are new to this series, don't read this book yet. You have to start from the very beginning, The Screaming Staircase, as all the events in the series are essential to the story. Moreover, not only is the plot important but the emotional aspect of the story as well. Every fan of the series are hoping for a real romance between Lucy and Lockwood and we are yet to see our ship sail.

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