Sunday, June 2, 2013

Review: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)

Title: The Madness Underneath 
Author: Maureen Johnson
 Putnam Juvenile
Publishing Date: February 26th 2013
Pages: 290
Genre:  YA Paranormal Mystery
Series: Shades of London #2
Source: Hardcover


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.

In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated THE NAME OF THE STAR, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

I was really excited to get to this book. I loved the first book and really wanted to experience more of Rory's world. The second book of this series is quite a bit different than the first but still has the original creepiness, thrills, and mystery. I was sucked in from very early on and found the story to be quite the page turner. 

The story picks up pretty much where The Name of the Star Ended. After the accident with at the boarding school, Rory is moved to Bristol to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. Under the care of professional help, she is being pushed to deal with the public version of the incident she barely lived through. Her therapist doesn’t take long to advise Rory and her parents that she believes Rory should resume her life as it was before the incident, which in turns leads Rory back to Wexford. She is happy to get back but things are not the same. Her abilities have changed since her battle with the Jack ghost. Her fellow ghost fighters recruit her back into hunting down ghosts because of her new ability, they cannot continue with her out. Rory is not sure she wants to be involved in all the ghost wars again. She wants to live a normal life. She has a big decision to make and she must do it in the middle of ghost related murders that are happening all around her. Since she has moved back to Wexford nothing is the same but everything still remains and Rory isn’t sure what direction she needs to take.

I really enjoyed the second installment of this series. I was a bit worried after seeing mixed reviews. After reading the book I can see why there are mixed reviews, however I am on the side of Loved it! The story still holds some of the same elements that made the first book great. The ghosts, the characters, and the mystery; however they were changed a bit to read on the side of contemporary realistic issue kind of journey with a supernatural feel followed by an air of mystery. I must agree that the mystery is not as mysterious as the first book, but I still enjoyed every moment of it. The main character Rory does go through some heavy emotional moments and she isn’t quite the same as she was in the first book, but I felt it was a bit more realistic than just throwing her right back into the fight without any emotional or mental scaring. The book focuses more or Rory and her self discovery… but there is more than just this. I liked the new plot, it did take a bit to see where it was going, 2/3 of the book but I felt it was a build up to the next book where the plot will be more ghostly focused.

Rory is a bit more immature, self-centered, and annoying in this book. She makes a bunch of bad decisions very quickly and doesn’t think things though at all. She get herself in bunches of trouble and of course she needs bailed out. Even though she was annoying and self-centered and sometimes a bit whiny, it didn’t bother me. I felt bad for her, knowing her kick butt potential from the first book. She definitely had growing pains in this book but I do believe in the end she was different for it. In the end I got the feeling that she will rock the next book.
We do get to see a bit more of Stephen but a little less of Boo and Callum. That was a bit disappointing to me, but I got over it. Hopefully the next book will be stacked crazy full with their awesome presence. I did enjoy getting to know Stephen a bit more. He didn’t seem so untouchable in this book. I could see the direction that the author was taking with him in his friendship, relationship, partnership… whatever you want to call it… with Rory and I was ok with it. I think that he is a bit stuffy and needs some warmth running through his veins but he was coming around. He struck me as a very caring but hard man due to circumstances. He was a very believable character for the part he played.
This book was definitely different than the first but not enough to veer me off the series. I can’t wait for the next book. I want to read more and even with some of the shortcomings, I think I enjoyed this book more than the first. It was for sure more character drive than story driven and that made it a winner on my shelf!

I couldn’t put it down and I was sad when it ended…. Oh maybe that was because of the huge cliffhanger at the end. If you liked the first book be warned this one is a bit different and if you don’t like cliffhangers, I would advise waiting to read this one until you have the next book in hand.


  1. Nice review! I too have read the mixed reviews on this one but I will still read it. Although it may be closer to when I have book 3 because everyone has mentioned this cliffhanger ending! Great review!

  2. I have seen some not so good reviews for this, but I am still excited to get to read it soon. I'm glad to find someone who loved it. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  3. I did like the first book. But I've seen a ton of mixed reviews for this sequel, so I've been putting it off. Character-driven, eh? I was almost ready to break up with this series, but maybe I'll just wait until the next book is released and read them back-to-back.


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