Recently I was able to receive an advanced reader e-galley of Maureen Johnson’s The Madness Underneath. I was so excited to read this one because I really, really enjoyed the first book The Name of the Star. If you’re interested in my review of The Name of the Star check it out here. But for now, let’s talk The Madness Underneath!!
After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.
I really need to say that I am in love with this series. They are my absolute favorite Maureen Johnson books. Boarding school?! Mystery?! AND London?! SCORE!
The main character, Rory is engaging and witty despite dealing with some emotional issues following her previous Ripper encounter. Actually, it’s because of this humor despite hardship that she is slowly becoming one of my favorite characters in teen lit. She reminds me of myself a little mostly because she just talks when she feels awkward, which is something I have been known to do as well! In fact there were numerous times where I had to stop and chuckle at something Rory said – especially her conversations with Jerome and Stephen. Johnson’s dialogue is just so smart and hilarious.
I was wondering where Johnson was going to go with Rory’s story after the first book and I totally didn’t expect her to go the way she did in book two. This isn’t bad though, as I was super into the twist(s!) that were thrown in! OH! THESE TWISTS! These twists were so sudden and intense that I had to click back a few pages (on my kindle) to reread because I found myself stopping and asking, “WAIT?! What the heck just happened?!” I had to reread it to believe it.
What I appreciate about this sequel is that it’s not just a continuation of the first book. Of course it does continue the story, you can’t not do that in a follow-up, but not in a way where you just feel like it could have been the same book. All of Rory’s relationships have changed forever and she now has to learn how they work, or in some cases don’t work. The story widens from simply being a supernatural thriller into something more complex. It’s not just another murderous ghost on a rampage, which although fun would get old after a while! And of course, there is a MASSIVE unbelievable cliffhanger that makes you want to tear your hair out!
I need to say that I do wish we could have seen a little bit more of some of the supporting characters though. I definitely wanted more Jazza and Boo and even more ghosts! But…there is a supporting character that we do get to see more of! I can’t say anything because that would be spoilery and that’s not how we do things at BookTasty…but EEEK! I like what I see! *wink wink* *giggle* Hopefully we’ll get even more when book three releases in 2014 (so far away!).
So, I can strongly report that I was pleased with The Madness Underneath and my love for this series just keeps increasing! If you’re a middle school aged reader and up and you enjoyed The Name of the Star you’re really going to like this one too. If you haven’t read The Name of the Star….then stop what you’re doing and go read it so you can get to this one!
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (February 26, 2013)
Format: e-galley (ARC)
Length: 290 pages
Series: Second book in the Shades of London series
Buy the Book: The Madness Underneath: Book 2 (The Shades of London)