The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson

Posted January 27, 2013 by Lisa Mandina in / 2 Comments

Of course I have to start out by thanking both Penguin Young Readers, and Netgalley for letting me read the e-galley of this book in December 2012.
I was very excited when I saw this book was available on Netgalley.  I am a big Maureen Johnson fan from following her on Twitter, as well as the other books I’ve read of hers always show her sense of humor and are fun to read because of that.  I liked the first book in the series, The Name of the Star.  However, I must admit that I was a little disappointed with this one.  Not quite sure why.  I agree with one of the reviews on Goodreads, that it is kind of a normal 2nd book in a series, setting up for the 3rd one.  Especially with how it ends. But I won’t give that away.
Anyway, Rory is back.  She’s home with her parents recovering from her attack by the ghost that was perpetrating the Jack the Ripper murders in the first book.  But she wants to go back to school, back to her boyfriend and friends.  Back to the new friends she has, Boo, Callum, and Stephen who also can see the dead, and who helped her with the Jack the Ripper case.  Only, something new has happened.  While the terminus, the device used to send ghosts to their final resting place, all of them have been destroyed as far as anyone knows.  But Rory, well, she may be able to replicate their power.  Something happened in the bathroom where she was stabbed.  Something that created a crack in the floor, something that now whenever she goes to touch a ghost, they disappear.  This happening helps her be able to get back to school.  Thorpe, the big guy behind Stephen’s group, gets her Therapist to say she is ready to return.  And once she’s back, he sees, or is told her new skill, and the group is saved from possible destruction.  One murder has occurred nearby, and while at first, Stephen doesn’t see it as anything odd, Rory discovers the past and how below the school there used to be a mental hospital.  And she wonders if these ghosts could be coming out and affecting or causing problems.  Along the way Rory realizes that she is so far behind at school.  She did no make up work while she was with her parents, and comes back right before the final exams.  Plus, a boyfriend, something she’s never really had.  All in all, with the terminus issue, she’s just pretty stressed.  And Charlotte, the other girl who was part of the attack in the bathroom, tells Rory about her therapist, Jane.  And one day, in a fit of panic, Rory goes to see this Jane.  And she seems like a great help.  She leaves feeling much calmer and ready to handle what comes next.  But is Jane really as good of a person as she seems?  That remains to be seen.
Okay, I won’t give much away.  But there is a part where Rory even talks about how she knows when people are really deluded, gives examples from her life in Louisiana, but then doesn’t see the person she should be worried about?  I don’t know.  The book seemed really short, and not a lot of excitement until the end.  And even then, that went quick!  I don’t know that I like the way it ended, or what was decided at the end.  Of course, I’ll have to read on, because I have to know what happens next.  But I don’t feel that we got quite as much of Rory’s personality in this one, at least not as much as what I remember liking about the first book in the series.  So, my recommendation is, if you like Maureen Johnson, and the first story, go ahead and read on.  It’s worth it.  But, I wouldn’t recommend this as a first book to start reading.  Good, but not great.  I had trouble reading, it wasn’t one that I had trouble putting down.

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2 responses to “The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson

  1. Disappointed to see your less than gushing thoughts on this as I loved the first book and am planning to read book 2 today but I am hoping I'll love this one due to how much I loved book 1. I wanted to hear that it was something extraordinary!

    • It wasn't that it was bad, I feel almost like once again it was the second book slump. But not in a bad way! I am definitely eager to read on and see what happens next!! I had kind of hoped it would be more of a series with a new mystery to solve in each book, and that it could go on more than a few books. I'm wondering if it will be a trilogy now, and then we'll have to move on to different characters.

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