Monday, February 25, 2013

The Madness Underneath ~ Maureen Johnson (earc) review

The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2)
Putnam Juvenile
February 26, 2013
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

It looks like I'm going to have to keep on loving Maureen Johnson. I've read -- and enjoyed -- her realistic fiction books like 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Last Little Blue Envelope and The Bermudez Triangle. She's easily a go-to author for a great book.

Johnson's first paranormal series (after Devilish, an unrelated  stand-alone was released in 2006) started in 2011 with In the Name of the Star.  See my review here.

In the Name of the Star brought New Orleans teenager Aurora "Rory" Devereaux to London's Wexford Academy for her last year of school. It also brings back Jack the Ripper . . . or what appears to be Jack the Ripper.

[spoilers for ItNotS below] 

 After a run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat that nearly killed her, Rory's stuck-in Bristol under the ever watchful eye of her parents. Away from Wexford, Boo, Callum, Stephen, everything that's come to be her life while in England, Rory's going a bit stir crazy. When her therapist suggests she return to London, it's somewhat intimidating, but also incredibly welcome.

While the Ripper may be gone, London is not yet safe and sound. Unexplained deaths are occurring and it may be up to Rory to uncover how their linked -- and convince the Shade (the city's secret, ghost-fighting force) of the connection.

All while still dealing with the events that very nearly cost her her life and the changes it brought.

The Madness Underneath is very much a sequel to In the Name of the Star. While you can read this second book without having a great memory of what happened in the first (or where it left things), you'll probably be lost on a few things if you haven't read it at all. There's not a lot of recap. There was also quite a bit more character development in Name of the Star and you'll feel more for those characters -- Jazza, Alistair, etc -- if you 'know' them better.

Which is all not to say that The Madness Underneath is not amazingly fantastic because oh how much it is. It's just much more fantastic if you've set everything up well for yourself by reading In the Name of the Star first.

I love that the plot of this book is so different from the first and yet is so similar. This is very much a series but definitely not a series using a formula for its books. There is cohesion with the characters, the world's that created (the Shade, the ghosts, how all of that works), but a lot of great newness.

The new characters that are introduced in The Madness Underneath and the role they play in the story seems a bit different, at first. The way that it all plays out is something, though. This one has an ending that I want taken back or changed . . . and then I don't because I want to see where it goes in the next book . . . and then I'm back to wanting it changed. We shall see.

Rating: 9/10

thank you to the publisher & NetGalley for my egalley

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