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Hello! I’m Abbie, Beth’s daughter. Mom asked me to write about my favorite author or book for her A-Z blogging challenge. I decided to write about Jonathan Stroud because he writes amazingly well, and his stories are fantastic. He has written two relatively well known series, both of which are amazing, and several other singular novels which I have yet to read. Even though he has many fans here in the States, he is not as popular as, say, Rick Riordan, who is known by practically everybody. It is for this reason that I have taken it upon myself to be his walking, talking, and in this case typing, advertisement.
Let's first take a look at Mr. Stroud himself, before we dive into his fantastic world of alternative modern Londons and mysteries. He was born in late 1970 in Bedford, U.K, and was an English major at the University of York. He published his first book in 1994, though his work did not earn a Wikipedia page until 1999, when he published his novel entitled Buried Fire. He has written many more books, and is currently working on the fourth book in the Lockwood & Co. series, which is going to be called The Creeping Shadow. He is also the founder of the Freedom to Think campaign, which advocates lots of free time for children, so they can think and play and create, as children are wont to do (and desperately need to do).
Speaking of Lockwood & Co., the series describes about an alternative modern London, in which there is a Problem with ghosts. It is, quite literally, called “The Problem”, and these ghosts are anything but benevolent. If they touch someone, said someone will swell up, turn blue, and die for want of oxygen. Pleasant, isn’t it? Anyways, the ghosts can only be seen by children, although adults can sense their presence. That is why all of the ghost hunting agencies consist of children, though some of the larger organizations have adult supervisors. Lockwood & Co. is run by Anthony J. Lockwood, and consists of three people: Lockwood himself, a rather sarcastic boy called George Cubbins, and the narrator, Lucy Carlyle. The books follow these three teens as they solve cases and struggle to survive in a London full of Fitz and Rotwell (rival agency) ghost-hunting agents who seek to put them out of business. Oh, and the ghosts, too.
His other series is called The Bartimaeus Trilogy, and it even has a prequel, because everyone wanted to know what the clever demon Bartimaeus was doing in the time of King Solomon. This series is centered around Bartimaeus, and a young boy named Nathaniel who first summons Bartimaeus as part of a revenge scheme. It is set in yet another alternative modern London, and war is raging while the British ministry, consisting almost entirely of magicians, struggles to protect its city. Although, it really is every man for himself in their society of selfish magicians. The main goal of magicians is to have the biggest, baddest demon in the business to be their personal servant, and while Bartimaeus isn’t quite that for the young Nathaniel, he certainly does what his master commands whether or not it turns out how the boy wishes it to.
Many more wonderful works by Jonathan Stroud are out there, though I have not read them yet. I very much encourage those who enjoy a good magical mystery to look into his series, and I’m sure his other books are excellent as well seeing as he writes so very beautifully. Hopefully his many words and entrancing stories will captivate readers for many years to come!