Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Series: Shades of London #2
Review Source: ARC for review from Razorbill Canada
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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. 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.
‘The Madness Underneath’ is a pretty evocative title, but it became even more perfectly creepy as I delved into the book and found out exactly what it was referring to. I was a huge fan of Maureen Johnson’s ‘The Name of the Star’, so I was eagerly awaiting this sequel. Rory has survived the Ripper that was plaguing modern-day London, but after being through this trauma she can’t tell anyone the truth about it. She’s been sequestered away from the only people who she can talk to about ghosts and her abilities. Of course this is only the beginning and Rory is once again involved in some ghostly occurrences.
In ‘The Madness Underneath’ there are more murders and events that Rory sees a pattern in. What I liked about this book is that the murders were only one part of the plot, and they weren’t a huge spectacle in the same way that the Ripper murders were in the previous book. If you can call ghosts and abilities realistic, then I would say that it all felt realistic, rather than repeating the same type of huge media event like in the first book. Another amazing part of these books is that Maureen Johnson is perfect at writing about London and making you feel like you’re really there. She clearly knows the area and all the little details, and it makes the book feel all the more truthful.
I really enjoy our main character, Rory. She’s quirky and sweet, and I just find her relatable in general. She’s smart but she’s not a keener when it comes to school, she has friends and a cute guy she enjoys making out with but doesn’t know if she actually likes him in a boyfriend type of way... all of these characteristics make her interesting and yet also someone who feels real. She’s not the “special snowflake” heroine that a lot of books present, even though she does have a crazy cool ability. Toward the end of the book I felt like Rory made some decisions that were just ridiculous -- things that I thought she was too smart to do. Upon reflection, though, I think I can excuse her behaviour and possibly even understand it. Rory has been through a lot, and the whole book is really about her trying to reach out and find someone who understands her; when she does make her (pretty stupid) decision, it’s based upon finding this acceptance, which I think makes a lot of sense, even though we as readers are shaking our heads.
I would be remiss not to mention the other Shades (those with the ability to see ghosts), because I love, love, love them. I would have liked to see more of Boo, but I still adored all of the scenes with the trio. I particularly enjoyed all of the Rory/Stephen scenes. I love their banter and how Stephen is so introverted, and yet is willing to share personal things with Rory. All I can really say is that I shipped them in the first book, and I enjoyed their interactions a lot in this volume.
As much as I love this book and this series I almost want to tell you to hold off until Book 3 is published, because this book has an ending that is absolutely insane. I sort of saw it coming right before it happened and I was freaking out, and then I read it and... oh man. I literally had to calm my breathing and tell myself to calm down and remind myself it was a book and not part of my real life. Yes that is how crazy of a reaction I had to it. Just thinking about it now is making me all flail-y. So despite the ending that will make you want to completely badger Maureen Johnson for information on the 3rd book and might put you into therapy, this is definitely a must-read. I loveeee these books, so if you do end up reading ‘The Madness Underneath’ right away, please come join me in freaking out and wanting the 3rd book pronto.
Not my fave, but I like it in that it's unique and atmospheric.
Find The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.