Here is the summary of the book:
As a supernatural outbreak baffles Scotland Yard and causes protests against the psychic agencies throughout London, Lockwood and Co. continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in exterminating spirits. Anthony is dashing, George insightful, and Lucy dynamic, while the skull in the jar utters sardonic advice from the sidelines. There is a new spirit of openness between the team now that Anthony has shared his childhood story, and Lucy is feeling more and more like her true home is at Portland Row. It comes as a great shock, then, when Lockwood and George introduce her to an annoyingly perky and hyper-efficient new assistant, Holly Munro. Meanwhile, there are reports of many new hauntings, including an old school where bloody handprints and a glowing boy are appearing. But ghosts seem to be the least of Lockwood and Co.'s concerns when a living assassin makes an attempt on Fittes's and Rotwell's lives. Can the team get past their interpersonal issues to save the day on all fronts? Danger abounds, tensions escalate, and new loyalties form in this third delightfully terrifying adventure.
Lockwood & Co. are back for their third stint with The Hollow Boy. Taking the time to explore the paranormal in the previous two books, this third venture while still retaining the spooky focuses more towards the living rather than the undead. Just when Lucy, Lockwood and George felt they had reached the peaceful camaraderie afforded to a tight knit group, comes prim, proper and perfect Holly Munro. Successfully throwing a wrench in our favorite trio and diverting Lockwood's attention and sparking Lucy's jealousy.
While a supernatural outbreak threatens England's peace, dashing leader Lockwood, insightful and astute George and dynamic and vigorous Lucy, effectively making up Lockwood & Co. (with the skull offering sarcasm) find themselves too busy and loaded with work to keep to their chores or rest. This enters Holly Munro ..... She annoyed me big time. She comes in with her perfect self, befriends the boys and forces order in their life of varied chaos. Of course with such crashing personalities Lucy and Holly don't get along well ..... and a disjointed team like that suffers in their line of business.
It is human nature to doubt and to feel emotion like envy, jealousy or happiness, and thus it is a marvel to witness Lucy as she experiences it all with the changes in their team dynamics, her own growing powers and her doubts regarding her worth.... While I hate that Stroud took this approach to further the story but hopefully the next one will be back to focusing on the undead rather than teenage melodrama.
All the while resentment is rising among the living members of the community. Stroud carefully slips in political propaganda amidst all the paranormalia .... it is not pronounced but things complicated when a living assassin tries to murder Fittes and Rotwell. The book leans heavily on the personal issues whereas the paranormal takes a somewhat backseat. Romance really is not the issue here but the sense of belonging. As I already mentioned I hated this element but on the other hand this made interaction between Lucy and Skull all the more exciting.
Of course the resulting climax as the humans tackle the problem of Chelsea made up for the spook throughout the tale. There is no question about Jonathan Stroud's caliber for the written word and while I appreciate the twists and diversions here in The Hollow Boy, this didn't really scare me as its predecessors did ..... But that cliffhanger ....... Hoping the next book will shed more light on the questions raised in here and strike the balance between the living and the undead that felt somewhat lacking here.
"An entertaining spooky adventure"