Fall into a spooky Halloween read


Book one of Lockwood and Co, The Screaming Staircase

Alanna Felton, A&E Editor

Why not join the Halloween excitement by trying out a seasonably eerie book series? Even if you are not a fan of traditional horror novels, the list of book series recommendations below has something for everyone looking for a creepy, entertaining read to enjoy as Florida begins to experience the first hints of autumnal chill.

Lockwood and Co by Jonathan Stroud

The Lockwood and Co series is a YA horror hidden gem that makes for a perfect late night read, as long as long you don’t mind sleeping with the lights on. It follows the adventures of Lucy Carlyle, a teenage ghost hunter living in an alternate London plagued by deadly spirits that only children can see. Like most teens able to see ghosts, Lucy plies her trade as a member of one of London’s many ghost hunting agencies. The only difference is that her employers, Lockwood and Co are the only agency in London to function without adult supervision, and the least likely to play by the rules. The series contains some truly grisly ghosts and ghouls, and Stroud is a master at crafting tense horror scenes that will have you flipping pages compulsively. But what really makes these books shine is their strong characterization and the hilarious deadpan banter between Lucy and her colleagues at Lockwood and Co, the bookish, wise-cracking George Cubbins and the dashing-yet-reckless Anthony Lockwood.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

If you are looking for a lush, haunting dark fantasy read to curl up underneath the covers with, then Blake has you covered with her Three Dark Crowns series. The books are set on the mystical island of Fennbirn, where, each generation, three princesses are born, only one of whom can be queen. Will it be Katharine, who can consume even the deadliest of poisons without harm? Or Arisone, who communes with nature? Or Mirabella, an elemental who can create storms and shake the Earth? Blake portrays each sister as a complex, sympathetic individual, so that you cannot help but root for all three of them, even knowing that only one can triumph. There are no clear-cut heroes or villains in this series, only complex, morally-ambiguous characters caught up in a deadly bid for power. Full of dark magic, betrayal, and intrigue, the Three Dark Crowns books are equal parts terrifying and addictive, full of twists and turns that will leave you reeling as alliances are made and broken.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Bray’s Diviners books manage to be so many things at once- a chilling horror series, an immaculately researched work of historical fiction, the compelling coming-of-age stories of a group of diverse protagonists- while never feeling crowded or dense. The Diviners revolves around a group of physic teenagers making their way in Jazz Age New York as a terrifying serial killer with a connection to the occult is on the loose. Bray does an excellent job of evocating all of the uncertainties and anxieties of the time period in breathtaking historical detail, from glitzy flapper parties to crowded speakeasies to dark and dangerous back alleys. It is almost impossible not to get swept up in such an atmospheric, lushly-rendered setting, but even if you aren’t a fan of historical fiction, the interweaving stories of the young Diviners and their terrifying adversary still make for a thrilling read.

The Archived by Victoria Schawb

The Archived series operates on an equal parts fascinating and chilling premise: after death, people’s corpses, called Histories, are brought to a vast library called the Archive, where they rest on shelves so that their knowledge and memories can be preserved. Unfortunately, Histories sometimes wake up and attempt to escape, with often violent results. Mackenzie “Mac” Bishop is a Keeper, tasked with policing the Archives and returning escaped Histories, a job that blurs the line between life and death. Schawb does an excellent job of creating a dark, secret world within our own, and the mechanics of the Histories and Keepers are well established. Mac is a compelling-yet-tortured protagonist, haunted by loss and grief, and the loneliness and isolation required of her job add to the series’ bleak, moody atmosphere. An eerie thriller with a wonderfully complex female lead at its heart, The Archived series is perfect for those who enjoy creepy tales of the undead but aren’t necessarily horror fans.