Wednesday 31 October 2018

Book Review: The Creeping Shadows by Jonathan Stroud

The scariest thing about this the toxic work environment.

A city besieged by Spirits? A cannibal risen from the dead? There's only one ghost-hunting team you need...

But Lockwood & Co. is an agent down - Lucy Carlyle is now a freelance operative.

ANd they have a lot on their plate: monstrous handprints on a window, sinister chopping sounds from a haunted kitchen...
Not to mention the Creeping Shadow - a hulking menace that stalks a village churchyard, raising spectres from their graves. 

The team desperately need Lucy's help. If she can be persuaded to return...

This is the fourth book in the series of Lockwood & Co. series, four months after the last one that had Lucy leave Lockwood & Co, but obvious she joins back up. Making the whole reflective thing that last book had weird.

The Lucy joins back in due to a cannibal killer named Soloman Guppy that is of course a giant, because if you're named Soloman. Of course, this is clearly based on a myth that is also a DC villain, Solomon Grundy, the nursery rhyme says nothing about him being giant, I guess the giant thing comes from the Soloman Island, also that has cannibalism link too. I didn't mind the body in the walls, in the first book, that was fun for me, but this rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe because I'm kinda just done. It's not a main plot thing. It's just the usual single ghost set up.

I've never really liked any of the characters, but the more I read the more they feel the same. I mean they technically all have different roles in the plot/team but they all talk the same, despite being from different places/classes. Basically, they all dig at each other except for Holly who turns out is just there to be all the rep we're going to get (that's me having a dig at the next novel in the series. It's dumb so don't worry about it).

Turns out Lucy is still the catty idiot we all hate, and doesn't realise what a major dick she was to Holly for no reason. The conversations about her leaving due to Holly is done several times (I've got four counted, basically she has with every series character). I think Holly and Lucy are meant to be friends by the end of this, but honestly I think Holly should be the one to leave, go get a job that's not fighting ghosts in an unsafe environment. Basically, Holly only full likable character in Lockwood & Co. and I want better for her.

The big problem with this series and the reason that I would not recommend it for it's target audience, is there is a lot of toxic shit in this book. There is the girl hate, the fat shaming of George by all the characters (I mean his last name is also Cubbins) and at the same time Holly is shamed for being thin, liking "healthy" food. I know the hate of salad is probably to be #relatable but there are kids who like lettuce. I was one of them, still ended up over weight. I'm just not here for body shamming anyone especially at someone who is possibly going through puberty. The more the series goes on, I'm not sure what the intention is with Lucy being obsessed with Holly's appearance and never acknowledges even to herself what a tool she been. Some of this comes from all the characters including Lockwood so it meant to be acceptable thing. Maybe Stroud thinks that because Lucy isn't being as straight up hostile to Holly in this one, that's character growth when Lucy is constantly taking stabs at Holly. Even if it meant to be Lucy having issues with her self-image, it's not great. It's still Lucy not being happy unless she the prettiest girl there.

Overall, I give this 3/5 stars for Skull Sources. This book feels like tries to answer some of my issues I had with the last one, but does so terribly and in a way that in denial. The character pretty much trash, but weren't as big as trash as Lucy was in the last book. The world building is something but also feel kinda unstable. We finally actually getting in over-arcing plot of the series that's only been hinted at so far. I don't know, of course I'm going to read the last book, maybe because I hate myself. Also Lucy was less annoying but still her same self.

Four months later and we find out that Lucy has learnt nothing.

Page 42, "It had just been me; Anthony Lockwood, who ran and George Cubbins, who researched stuff. We'd lived in a house in Portland Row, Marylebone. Oh, there'd been another employee as well. Her name was Holly Munro, she was new, a kind of assistant to the rest of us. She  sort of counted too, I guess, but it was George and Lockwood who had meant the most to me. Meant so much, in fact that in the end I'd been forced to turn my back on them and go a different way.
Four months earlier, you see, a ghost had shown glimpse of one possible future. It was a future in which my actions would lead directly to Lockwood's death. The ghost itself was malignant, and I had no reason to trust it, except for one thing: it echoed my own intuitions. Time and again Lockwood had risked his life to save mine, the line between success and disaster growing finer and less definite on each occasion. Coupled with that, even as my psychic Talents had grown strong, my ability to master those Talents had become frayed. Several times during cases I had lost control of my emotions — and this had dangerously strengthened the ghosts that we fighting. A series of near catastrophes had ended me unleashing the power of a Poltergeist; in the ensuring battle Lockwood (and others) had nearly died." So she really doesn't get it does she.

Page 43, "And here he was, finally, in perhaps my least favourite image of the sequence, receiving the Coveted Agency of the Month award at the Times offices in London, With the slim and elegant figure of Holly Munro standing picturesquely beside him." She fine with him by himself and with George.

Page 52, about the Furnaces where the sources are burnt: "They said that if you stood on the viewing platform after dark, you could spot a dozen ghosts at once, writhing briefly, blue and green, as the flames engulfed their objects and their ties to this earth were finally snuffled out. Right now it was getting light outside and the ghosts were not visible, but even from a distance I could feel the occasional psychic aftershock. Each was like the moment of silence after a scream." Okay, that's disturbing. 

Page 75, "He flicked a glance up at me — it was sad and hopeful all at once, a glance that presumed nothing — then gently lowered his gaze and went back to contemplating his hands. He'd made his pitch; there wasn't much else he could say. I was looking at my own hands, frowning at the scrapes on the knuckles, the faint magnesium staining on the fingers, the dirty flecks of iron and salt crusted under the nails ... What was all that about? Flo Bones probably had a better manicure, and she made her living scraping holes in river-ooze. The skull was right: I wasn't in good shape. Sometime over the winter I'd stopped taking care of myself; I'd let myself go. But in the meantime I had been focusing on some- thing else, and that was my Talent. Could I control it better now? I thought so, yes — working with adult super- visors was an endless test of the emotions."

Page 76, "'There are other Listeners out there,' I said. 'Good ones too.' 
'Like who?'
'Kate Goodwin's okay.'
'Oh, come on, she not half the listener you are.' [names others that are not worthy to Lockwood.]
This was true. And he was quite incidentally. The rest was rubbish compared to me. Only one other person who had ever spoken with ghosts the way I did, and she'd died a long time ago."

Page 82-83, "'I'm not "back" with them,' I said. 'I'm helping them out. It's one time only.'
'One time? Pull the other one! Give it five minutes, and you'll be back sleeping in your cramped little attic at Lockwood's, snuggling up with that Holly Munro. I bet she uses your room now.'
'Ugh! That's never going to happen.'"

Page 90, "Charming Holly, as pretty and perfect as ever. She hadn't altered much during these last months; she hadn't suddenly become saggy or bedraggled or noticeably flawed or anything. In fact, because of the importance of the meeting, she'd dolled herself up even more than usual. She wore the kind of dress you need to be poured into; the sort I would have ripped as soon as I tried wiggling it over my shoulders. It was the sort of dress that would have got stuck halfway down my midriff, with my arms trapped and my head is covered, and left me bouncing blindly off the walls for hours, half naked, trying to struggle free. That sort of dress. For completists, who want details, it was blue." I actually have no idea what style of dress you're describing Stroud, a dress too small for Lucy is all I got. Holly is described as being taller than Lucy so it possible they actually the same dress size.

Page 91, "'It's lovely to see again.'
'Yeah, you too. You look good.'
'So do you. Freelancing obviously suits you. I'd love to hear all about how you've been getting on. I've heard great things. I think you're doing so well.'
Once upon a time it would have annoyed me, the record number of fibs crammed into that single scrap of dialogue. I was sure Holly had about the same interest in my freelance work as she had in my choice of toothpaste (less, actually - given the way her perfect teeth gleamed so brightly every time she smiled). And everything else was a lie too, since I was clearly didn't look good at all." A conversation between Holly and Lucy, Lucy is also sweating a lot.

Page 107, "'Going to do a job with him. Only a one-off. I'm not rejoining.'
'No, well, of course you aren't.' Flo picked up a sharper tool, thick with blue-black river clay. "That Holly Munro's still there, isn't she?'
I paused. 'Actually, it wasn't because of Holly that I left.'
She scraped muck off her prong. 'Uh-huh.'
'I had other reasons.'
'You don't believe me?'
'Can you hold this muck prong a tick?'" We will have this conversation often. This feels like Stroud responding to criticism from the last book.

Page 110, "I sit back and considered her. It was her skin that always got me. It was darkly buttery, with not a pimple to be seen. And her features too - everything in it's proper place. There'd been a time when her easy perfection drove me mad, and I knew that in my dishevelled, wildly imperfect way, I'd done the same to her." I guess Lucy is clearly meant to be deluded about this one sided rivary. But I continue to be done with this.
"'You're so brave,' she said. 'To leave and strike out on your own. It's very risky.'
'Well, it has its compensations. I've learned a lot about my Talents and got better at managing other people, even the irritating ones.' She gave a laugh. Oh joy — it was the special tinkling one that set my teeth on edge."

Page 111, "'I know we had our issues, Lucy, but it's been odd being the only girl. Lockwood and George are lovely, of course, but they're both off in their own worlds. George with his experiments and Lockwood . , .' Her brow formed shapely furrows. 'He's so restless and remote. He never sits still long enough for me to reach him." Holly basically saying she misses Lucy.

Page 114, "More than one lady was obliged to leave the room." About the Soloman trial. Yeah, women love that shit. Sounds like sexist bull to me.

Page 115, "No one's that scary, not even a big fat cannibal." said by Lockwood.

Page 130, "I thought you'd basically just hoofed it when Holly Munro showed. Still, what do I know?" Kipps in response to Lucy reasons to being freelance.

Page 131, "To my surprise, Holly had taken a biscuit."

Page 143, "I'm very happy to be working alongside you all again.'
There was silence. 'Are you?' he said. 'That's a surprises me.'  [setting up chains] 'And why wouldn't I be?" I asked.
He didn't answer for a time. [more chains] 'Well,' he said at last. 'There's Holly'.
'Not you as well!' I let out an angry oath. 'I keep telling everyone. I didn't leave because of her." Except you clearly did.

Page 144, "'That Poltergeist was you sorting things out," George said, and in a way he was quite right. 'You left because you got so mad at her.'
'No. I left because I lost control of my Talent,' I said. 'Because I roused the ghosts and endangered you all, and I couldn't face doing it again.'" Not at all that all what happen, Lucy roused the ghost by losing her cool and starting an argument with Holly at the centre of a massive haunting. It's absolutely nothing to do with her powers. Like Stroud this feels like you trying to backtrack more than Lucy being in denial, even that's the case. It's book four out of five, move on to actually character development.

Page 221, " I was staring at him. My warm feeling had partially retreated, 'I'll take the juice, So Holly stayed over last night?'
 'Personally I've always thought straining it through your teeth is part of the fun,' Lockwood said. 'You can pretend you're a blue whale.' He caught my look. 'What?'
 'Holly, She's staying over now?'
 'Oh, not always. Depends how the night turns out."

Page 222,"How often does she stay over?' Lockwood flicked the toaster on. 'I don't know that it's  really something for a freelance like you to worry about. She's not using your old room, if that's what bothering you.'

Page 231, "Holly had stopped pouring and was gazing at me with evident concern. In the old days I'd have bristled at her attention, suspecting it of being patronizing and insincere."

Page 251, Holly has made a cake and Lucy of course questions it. "Oh, Hol's still fixated on salads - but don't worry, I'm corrupting her slowly. We'll have her scoffing junk food by and by." said by George.

Page 252, "Tom Rotowell holding his homemade sword, and Marissa beside him holding her little lantern. The two objects become symbols of their agencies. It's funny to think of them actually used, the first time." But they both use animals for logos, a lion and an unicorn. How many symbols do they need?

"True to form, Holly had piled her plate up with salad, but I pleased to see a decent mound of spaghetti too. She twirled her fork with a delicate motion of her wrist." Lucy made the spaghetti.

Page 283, Lockwood said "I've missed you so much, Lucy" and with that Lucy dropped down dead.

Page 290, About Leopold Winkman "He was in his mid-teens, his face dumpling-soft and malleable, with toad-like strongly reminiscent of his father, the imprisoned Julius Winkman." This is funny because Julius Winkman was described as having very feminine lips.

Page 343, "One's a double. Here's the key for the double room — it's also got a camp bed at the end. The other's a twin. hope you have a lovely stay. I'll leave you to settle in, and see you in the bar later.' With that, he departed.
There was a heavy silence. I scanned the others, taking in at a glance Holly's neat traveling bag, doubtless crammed with body lotions and skin cleansers; George's ominously light rucksack, which lacked room for any conceivable change of clothes; Kipps's angular and palely ginger frame, the horrors of which were just hinted at beneath his roll- neck; and Lockwood. To share a room with any of them presented problems.
The others were making similar swift calculations.
'Lucy—?' Holly began.
'You beat me to it. Don't mind if I do.'
'In that case,' she said, plucking a key from Lockwood's hand, 'we'll take the twin room and leave you boys to it. Good luck deciding who gets the camp bed.' All the fanfiction about Lockwood and Kipps sharing a bed is about to be lost. Also I really can't remember the exact the age difference between  these characters anymore, especially as there are all as immature as each other.

Page 344, 'You know something? Holly said. I'm glad it worked out this way. I'm pleased you're here.'
'Well, if I wasn't, you'd have to share rooms With one of the boys,' I said.
 She gave a delicate little shudder and drew her coat, elegantly around her. 'True . . But I didn't just mean that. I've felt bad ever since you left. About you about the way it all ended back then. I felt responsible.'
'Oh, don't you start!' I said. 'Everyone thinks I because of you. And I really didn't. If it was just you, believe me, I would have stayed.' I gave her a stern glare.
Holly lifted her hands in a peaceable gesture. 'There you go with that look again! I just mean it was the arguements we had that brought it to a head — that made you lose control.' She was referring to the Poltergeist I'd conjured up during our blazing row at Aickmere's department store, and she was quite correct — but that didn't mean enjoyed hearing her say it. My frown deepened." I'm real confused as to when Lucy gained the power to summon ghosts, because everything we've been told that's not how it works. It was her negative emotions that brought the ghost out at full strength.

Page 344-45,"'Oh, you're getting angry at me again,' Holly went on, 'and I don't think I'm doing anything wrong.'"

I gave up writing the quotes I took photos of, what does it matter really.

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Book Review: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

When you've got to be slightly different?

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong? 

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.
Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…

She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

I reviewed Alice Osman's debut, Solitaire and just to say that this book is set in the same world/town so Radio Silence spoils the end of Solitaire, not majorly but I know some people don't want to have knowledge of any kind about the books before they read them. So just a heads up.

So why don't I liked Radio Silence as much as everyone else. Okay, this story doesn't feel like it about Frances. Yes, she has a lot of growth and realisation about herself and life. However, we also  have an odd ball character that Frances saves, with me relating to that character more (shared labels and all), I didn't like that.

I do find it kinda funny that Tumblr is called Tumblr in this book instead of just refereed to as blogging like it was in Solitaire, but I suppose that was the early days of Tumblr so no way to know if it would last any point of time. The internet use to move on a lot quicker than it does now. Does anyone still use LiveJournal anymore?

This book is more than diverse than her last book, with the main character being mixed-race  and other characters clearly being described as not being white. There is a conversation about growing up in a British white dominated culture and with Frances lives with her white mum, how she feels like she is not in touch to the other side of her heritage. As I am Scottish white, I can't say how good this diversity is. It's seems like a good effect, the things I can comment on. Once again, there is a character that could be read as being autistic, as in if I met them in real life I would wonder if they were autistic.

This book might have been sold to you as having a demisexual character. It does, but it's a big reveal at the end of the book. It's discussed by other characters more than the the demisexual character themself. It's more this is a thing than exists and you shouldn't be confused by Ace/greysexual people. It's a starting point but don't get your hopes really high in finding yourself if that you. It's wrote more for others to understand than it being about that character. There's not a lot of other demisexual characters so it's something to be appreciated, but in the hope that it will cause other books to have main characters that are demisexual or even side characters from the start being stated as that.

In terms of plot structure this is a mystery, Frances wants to know who the creator is, then what happened to this person, what is behind this plot element which I guess is why the book in the point of review of Frances.

Another good thing is that this book explores possibilities outside of going to uni and how that's not for everyone, and is some for others. Not many YA books discuss this positively.

This book as also been sold on it's fandom Tumblr aspect, of this story podcast/hosted on YouTube in the vain of "Welcome to NightVale." That sounded cool, but similar to in her last book, in it is more to surfiliate the characters interaction with each other. The only fandom parts it goes into is the annoying, toxic side of fandom that harass the creators of shows, the side that ruins it for everyone else. Parts of the podcast are in the book, but it was disappointingly lacking in those part of the audiobook. But hell I finished listening to this book right after Sadie by Courtney Summers which will go down as the standard to beat when having a audiobook involve a podcast. This was an okay book to listen to on audio.

I am a fan of NightVale and found it an odd choice to make it so that NightVale exist in this world. I think that always a risky thing to do to co-exist with the thing you're inspired by. I think the fictional Podcast, University City is meant to be smaller than NightVale at the start of the novel. Also University City is different, it's just be this odd alternative place like Night Vale and is also used to give insight to the Creator. Fan Theories are thing that plays into character plot.

I wouldn't recommend reading Oseman's books back to back, she could have up her game with "I was Born for this", but these books are actually really similar except now it a podcast that pushes the plot instead of a weird prank website. I definitely wouldn't recommend reading Solitaire while having Radio Silence be the audiobook you listen to while you have to do stuff other than just read all day.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for Drunken Uploads. I just didn't like it much as Solitaire, I know Oseman sees this as growth, but the only improvement I see is giving more diversity in terms of race. Maybe 'We born for this' will have disabled characters (outside of mental illness), on serious note it does explore more letters of the LGBTQ+. I guess it just might be preference and my hang up of characters with autistic traits being side characters to someone else's discovery about them. I don't think it was intentional, especially with the plot this book was meant to have with the whole podcast thing: the take on the fantasy of becoming friends with the person that made something you love so much. It also one of those rare things where the main character finds growth by making a friend, instead of getting a lovefriend, which is there is definitely not enough YA books about friendship. (Okay, imagine if Lovefriend if that becomes the acceptable gender neural term for boyfriend/girlfriend. I am sorry if it does.)

Disclaimer: A long time ago, I did received this book from NetGalley for an honest review. I also brought this book on audiobook.

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Book Review: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Funfact: Radio Silence technically spoils the end of this book.

'I don't ever remember not being serious. As far as I'm concerned, I came out of the womb spouting cynicism and wishing for rain.'

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael

I really don’t.

This is a book I have owned since it came out, many years ago. So many years ago, I do not remember why I brought it. Well, probably because it says it's not a Love story and even then I hated the fact that every book seemed to be a love story at it's centre and they were often very bad. 

This book is more about friendship than romantic love, but it's also sort of there. We also have sibling relationships and as well as dealing with being a family with a sick sibling, which from my experience was done pretty well.

The way mental health is dealt with in this book is so great. If you're someone who wants to know nothing then leave this paragraph now. I related to Tori hating everything because I too kinda hated everything when I was seventeen and then I realise that this book was slowly showing beginning to related even more to my seventeen old self in an important way. It's done so fucking well. It's remind me of my slow dive into that state of numbness and then mixed in with the guilt because wasn't allowed to be sick. But haha that doesn't stop it.

I've seen others hate on the mental illness rep and the fact the main character is a teenager. Tori is shitty person, most teenagers are, I think that's pretty realistic to the story. Reading other reviews is interesting because you can see where other people get real hanged up on.

The plot is about this website called that is playing planks on the Grammar School that Tori goes to. It used to drive the characters interactions with each other to figure out whose behind it/why.  With the plot description, it might seem like a thriller but it's really not, especially it's usually going on in the background. The focus is very much on the characters and their relationships together.

In terms of rep, we have Queer supporting characters as well as the mental health side. It sort of comes into the plot, but it's realistic and fine besides that. They function for the most part like a straight couple. There's also autistic feel to some characters, not saying they meant to be coded autistic but you could read them that way.

Overall, I give this book 5/5 stars for soft muttering. I related to this book a lot so I really loved it. I don't know if I liked it so much because I related to it so much, but I think either way it was done pretty well. In terms of her other books, I like this book better than Radio Silence. They have similar themes/issues and I think it works better in this one. I'm doing an review of Radio Silence so I talk about it there. Both are good, but I think this one was better, I also get why that might be a me thing. This book does have issues, but I like intention over all.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Book Review:The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud

It's always the stairs.

Phantoms in your Attic? Spectres by your Bed? Never fear - Lockwood & Co. are here!

A terrible new outbreak of ghosts is causing chaos across London. With the authorities baffled, psychic investigators Lockwood, Lucy and George see a fresh chance for fame and glory.

But countless horror await them: bloody footprints on a spiral stair, murderous ambushes in the night - and, waiting at the centre of the outbreak, the most fearful apparition of all.

This the third book in the Lockwood and Co series (reviews of the previous novels here).  This book is told reflectively so we know something is up.

This book was really hard to get through because we had a new girl character introduced and Lucy is toxic piece of shit that needs both a slapping and a talking to about how girls are your friends, not threats and they can be more than one girl in a group. I know Lucy has been established as being Dick to everyone whose not Lockwood, but the girl hate is just the worst. It was there is the past book but it goes up a notion in this one as it becomes part of the plot. Also this written by man, who has dedicated the last two books to pairs of girls, so what are trying to do with this Stroud? Also it awkward especially as Holly is described as having "caramel" skin so is the first person of colour described and her main function is to create a wedge in the dynamics of the company. Also for Lucy to be a dick to her.

Just the way Lucy talks about other girls is terrible, but her fixuation with Holly gives so many gems: "I was fine with Holly. Really I was. So she was well proportioned. So her hair was all glossy. So she looked as if her lips had never been the wrong side of a second doughnut in her life. What was any of that to me? I didn't care one bit. She wasn't perfect by any means. Probably, for example, if I'd thought hard enough about it, I could have found something flawed about the width of her thighs." and "Lockwood remained distinctly chilly towards over sandwiches and biscuits. Holly's presence unsettled me. She was at once submissive and assertive, her inexperience overlapping with her smooth self-confidence. Both these aspects, in different ways, contrived to snare Lockwood's attention. It left me out on a limb, feeling awkward and exposed." There's so much that I gave up quoting this stuff. It's lot of projecting from Lucy, and then there's oddstuff like Holly apparently having small feet which a weird observation when Lucy is avenge height with avenge size feet.

You can have characters that have flaws and are unlikable, that doesn't make a bad book, but this book about actual ghost hunting. What is the point? I think Lucy is meant to have a growth during this novel, but I'm not completely sure what it's meant to be. There is one thing Holly does is kinda messed up: "She may have made great sandwiches, she may have had small feet, but at least I could console myself that Holly Munro was desk-bound. She didn't wear a rapier. She didn't do what I did, going out nightly and risking her life to save London. This knowledge enabled me to hold it together when I got home to discover she'd been into my bedroom and, in a spasm of brisk officiousness, tidied all my clothes." Lucy being annoyed at Holly being in her room without permission and her stuff is the only thing that Holly does, to justify pages of hate towards her but the pages started as soon as Lucy sees Holly. Her annoyance at Holly being hired without her being present is also justified but she never annoyed at Lockwood or George who did it.

I went to GoodReads to see what other people were saying, it was mainly that they don't want Holly to get between Lucy and Lockwood because they're shipped them together where as I hope everyone in Lockwood & Co all get ghost touched except Holly. Holly can go join a girl gang of agencies. Or get a job that will last her into adulthood. Basically, it's cermets that this bad for humans as it only enforces bad thoughts. This is so far into the series as well by this point and it's just not done well even Lucy is meant to be learning not to be a dick.

So the plot, besides the characters being bland and mean to each other, was fine. Conspiracy and Privilege. There's been unusually extreme activity in a Chelsea so all the other agencies are dealing with that while Lockwood moans about having ton of business while not being in the news which is Lockwood's defining trait. Always. Not the mysterious aspect that meant to be it, there's also plot stuff about that too.

Wanting to be in the news to drummed up customers makes senses but just dickish when have more business than you can safely handle. Okay, I'll stop talking about the characters now. There's is actually an interesting idea/story going on underneath this all, which is why it's such a shame.

I like the world building for the most part but there's this weird, probably ill-informed choice of what the main agency in this world use as their symbols: "At head of line the out in red and silver, the of Above it, bobbing gently against the darkened sky, hung vast helium balloons, firmly cabled — a unicorn and a rampant lion, the symbols of Fittes and Rotwell respectively." An example of shitty world building where someone doesn't know what the lion and the unicorn from the royal crest means: The Unicorn equals Scotland; the Lion equals England. Going off what's hinted in this book, this could get hella problematic. It meant not be thing, but I still think it's pretty lazy and gives association to two specific countries without much thought or intention. Rotwell who use the lion, also use the colour red so hella English representation there. Gold might have been a better colour choice or yellow. A lion is also on the Royal flag of Scotland, but still using the national animals of two countries that have a fought history is not the best choice. Basically, Stroud this is something you should have googled.

Overall, 3/5 stars for GirlHate Trash. The characters are all trash. That's the defining thing in this novel of the series. It's true for the whole of the series so far. Maybe we're have some magical growth but who knows. I still like the world, and the writing is decent. The characters choices are the worst. The main thing is that it's not fun. Some of the book relays on you caring about the characters and I just really don't. Also I would officially not let a children read this because not enough is done to show that Lucy is being a unreasonable dick and we're three books in a five book series (Pretty sure it's finished now), there's so media that enforcing this toxic mentality and I'm not here for it.
(I even have the ones that don't make Lucy as complete dick, but then she goes there afterwards.)

Page 16, "I'm just under five foot six inches tall, have hair the colour of a walnut coffin, and wear size six ectoplasm-proof boots."

 Page 19, "Inside it, floating in green liquid, was a leering face. And I don't mean nicely leering." What do you think 'Leering' means Lucy? Just looking at someone.

Page 121, "I was fine with Holly. Really I was. So she was well proportioned. So her hair was all glossy. So she looked as if her lips had never been the wrong side of a second doughnut in her life. What was any of that to me? I didn't care one bit. She wasn't perfect by any means. Probably, for example, if I'd thought hard enough about it, I could have found something flawed about the width of her thighs. But I didn't need to. None of that was important. I was an agent. I had other things to do."

Page ?, "I mean, they're servants. Servants and children. I don't pay to indulge in squealing hysterics. She glared around, as if daring any of us to disagree. As I met her glaze, I took away the impression of a humourless, rather unintelligent person, for whom only prim correctness and snobbery kept of world at bay. That's what I picked up from a quick look in her eyes, anyhow. No doubt she thought I was great.
Lockwood wore his gentle, placatory face, which he often used on Whitechapel housewives. 'I entirely understand,' he said. 'Perhaps you had better tell us all about it from the beginning.' He lifted his hand as if to pat her reassuringly on 'the knee, but then thought better of it.
'Very well,' Miss Wintergarden said."

Page 160, "Lockwood shook his head. 'Actually, we don't really know one way or the other. We've got to be careful with all Visitors. I don't care if a ghost's friendly, or needy, or just wants a big cuddle, We keep it at a safe distance. All the big agencies follow that policy, Holly says.' I didn't intend to be angry. Basically I knew that Lockwood was right. But my emotions felt stretched right then; it had been a long night - and, back at Portland Row, a long few days. 'This ghost is a serving boy- a lad being chased to his death!' I snapped, 'l saw him as he passed; he running for life, I don't shrug at me like that! He was so desperate. We've got to feel sympathy for him.' That was a mistake - I knew it at once.
A light in Lockwood's eyes flicked out,his voice was cold. 'Lucy, I don't have sympathy for any of them.'
Which, lets face it, was a bit of a conversation killer."

Page 161, "She may have made great sandwiches, she may have had small feet, but at least I could console myself that Holly Munro was desk-bound. She didn't wear a rapier. She didn't do what I did, going out nightly and risking her life to save London. This knowledge enabled me to hold it together when I got home to discover she'd been into my bedroom and, in a spasm of brisk officiousness, tidied all my clothes.
I meant to mention it to her (calmly, politely, in that way we had) the following morning, but it slipped my mind."

Page 177, " Holly and I stood facing each other down the hall. She had that little smile on; the default one that might mean anything or nothing."

Page 177 to 178, "Where had she got the gloves from? They looked suspiciously like the spare ones that I kept in my weapons locker. I recognized the sword for sure: it was one of the old blades we used for practice in the rapier room.[reasonable explanation] I offered to come along and he's found a few things to make sure I'm protected and warm. I hope you don't mind this, Lucy.'
'No, not at all,' I said. Why should I mind? It was just like her to assume that I had some problem with it.'"

Page 183, "Lockwood remained distinctly chilly towards over sandwiches and biscuits. Holly's presence unsettled me. She was at once submissive and assertive, her inexperience overlapping with her smooth self-confidence. Both these aspects, in different ways, contrived to snare Lockwood's attention. It left me out on a limb, feeling awkward and exposed."
"Part of me knew that I was being unreasonable. Nothing Lockwood was doing was essentially wrong. But the rightful pattern of events — of him and me working side by side had been disrupted and my disapproval chafed at my belly, as if I'd swallowed a bucketful of sharp stones."

Page 184, " Oh, sure, he was charming enough when he wanted to be. But it meant nothing. You could see it in his behaviour now, the ease with which he mollycoddled his new assistant, while turning his back on me. [No George or Skull.] There was nobody here to talk too I was entirely alone... I shook the self-pity away. No, I was being stupid. Lockwood's behaviour didn't mean anything. I turned the lantern up a notch and opened the book. I didn't care. Even so, black thoughts lingered over me as I began to read."

Page 193, " My fingers were too numb, the wood too smooth. I began to slip...
Then my wrists were firmly caught, and there was Holly Munro bracing herself against the banister and calling out, and here was George flinging himself alongside her, grabbing at my arms and pulling; and together, not gently, like fishermen dragging in a catch, they scooped and gathered me in slow, ignominious stages, up and over onto the landing.
Where I saw Lockwood lying face down on the boards." This is Holly saving Lucy's life. Lockwood is dead and forever a ghost that haunts them.

Page 208, "'Wrong!' The voice spoke with sudden passion. 'She's a cuckoo in your nest! She's an interloper in the nice little kingdom you've made your own. And she knows it. She loves the effect she's having on you. That kind always does.'
'Yeah, well.' I groaned and rolled into a sitting position on the side of the bed, 'She saved my life last night.'
It chuckled again. 'Big deal. We've all done that. Lockwood. Cubbins. There's me, of course; I've saved you lots of times.' 
'I was talking to a ghost. I got so obsessed with it I threw away my defences. Holly saved me. And that means,' I went on doggedly, 'that I'm OK with her now. Understand? You don't need to go on about her. It's not a problem any more.'
'In fact, who hasn't saved your bacon ? I expect even old Arif at the corner shop's done it once or twice, you're that hapless.'
I threw a sock at the jar. 'Shut up!'

Page 226? "At head of line the out in red and silver, the of Above it, bobbing gently against the darkened sky, hung vast helium balloons, firmly cabled — a unicorn and a rampant lion, the symbols of Fittes and Rotwell respectively."

Page 289, "Kate Godwin was just as stiff as I'd been when I first meeting Holly; our assistant seemed to affect girls that way."

I give up quoting the girlhate bull.