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The Madness Underneath

The Madness Underneath is the second book in the urban supernatural YA series Shades of London by Maureen Johnson.

I strong recommend reading the books in order – so if you haven’t read The Name of the Star yet, check out my review of that first book here.

Final warning to look away if you haven’t read the first book yet…

Rory’s move from the American South to a London boarding school didn’t turn out the way she expected it to.

Suddenly gaining the ability to see ghosts was startling enough – to then also be nearly killed by a Jack the Ripper copycat was the icing on the horror cake.

Yet Rory doesn’t feel like she’s as psychologically damaged as she should be – and when she’s given the opportunity to return to Wexford, she does.

But there’s evidence of a new potentially ghost-like string of murders and Rory’s powers have morphed into something stronger since she was nearly murdered…

Is she as ready as she thinks she is to take on another dark force?

First off, I love Maureen Johnson. Her heroines are just so darn hilarious – I mean, I laugh out loud when I read their narration and dialogue – yet also believably vulnerable. Awesomeness.

Where The Name of the Star had a very specific plot, The Madness Underneath feels a little bit more all over the place. Much of it is seeing the psychological aftermath of what happened to Rory – which I actually find refreshing as that feels more realistic. Then we also get some new mysterious characters and some murders that may or may not be related to the rest of everything.

You see what I mean?

I know there’s been some discussion that The Madness Underneath is not as good as The Name of the Star – and I could almost agree with that. However, I think it was actually a lovely, creepy, page-turner extension of the story and I believe that all these seemingly unconnected pieces are clear to the author.

Plus – the end? WOWZA.

Like I said, I love Maureen Johnson.


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