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.
The Madness Underneath (The Shades of London Book 2)FeaturedHot
THE MADNESS UNDERNEATH is a worthy sequel to last year's fabulous THE NAME OF THE STAR. It's just as suspenseful, funny, and full of lovely, vivid details that bring the story to life.
The pacing is perfect. Both the internal and external conflict escalate at a steady rate. I felt fully invested in Rory's inner journey as she tries to recover from the trauma of being stabbed by a ghost, and I felt fully engaged with the increasing suspense outside of Rory as ghost activity (and some truly creepy humans) begin to demand Rory's attention. The pacing gives a tension to the story that made it impossible put the book down.
The setting is flawless. London comes to life in vivid detail, from Rory's boarding school to the streets that wind through town to the rain that falls with relentless dependability. The British characters feel authentically British, and Rory notices cultural quirks (such as loving the color red because it stands out in the rain) that make the entire setting feel absolutely real to the reader.
My favorite part of the story is Rory herself. She's a stubborn, brave, flawed, funny character who always feels like an authentic teenager suddenly thrust into a crazy situation. I found myself laughing often even while I was quickly turning pages because I desperately needed to know what happened next. Readers will relate to Rory as she struggles with depression and with uncertainty over her future even as they enjoy her quick one-liners and her irrepressible (often self-deprecating) sass.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The only thing I wanted from this book that I didn't get was a better sense of Rory's romantic interests. I had this issue with the first book. I never felt a connection to the boy she was dating, and I still didn't. Rory is very self-aware but seems to lack the kind of awareness of her romantic interests that would allow the reader to have a crush on her swoony boyfriend as well.
Dark, funny, and thrillingly atmospheric, THE MADNESS UNDERNEATH is a stellar sequel sure to keep readers turning pages long past their bedtime.
The book starts off with Rory back in Bristol with her parents and speaking to a therapist. The problem is she can't tell anyone what truly happened that night with the Ripper, so she's really not getting anywhere with the therapist and she desperately misses her friends back at Wexford. After a bit, her therapist actually recommends she head back to Wexford and face her fears head on, so she does. Once there she is once again reunited with Stephen, Callum & Boo. I adore these characters. They are truly Rory's friends and know everything that is going on with her and I believe are really the only ones who can make her feel "normal". Now that Rory is the only terminus, this small group must figure out where to go from here and whether or not to use Rory to help or get rid of ghosts who are left behind. In true Stephen nature, he is still very serious and takes the world upon his shoulders. I loved reading more about him and in this book I will say that he opens up a bit and I had a blast reading that. I also loved the exchanges between him and Rory and wanted more.
While this book doesn't have a Ripper on the lose killing people, there are still mysteries to be solved, and scary parts to be read. So, if you're worried that this book isn't as creepy as the first one, don't be because it is. The prologue itself was enough to give me goosebumps! In true second book fashion, we see Rory dealing with a relationship that she's not sure she wants, or can even have. Rory also makes some poor decisions that left me screaming at the book for her to stop, but did she listen, no. There is lots of conflict, angst and maturation in this book on Rory's part and Ms. Johnson does a fantastic job of writing it.
I was left with my mouth hanging open at the end of this book and I'm craving the third book already. I love Maureen Johnson's style of writing and I am completely in love and frankly quite scared of the world she has created. If you haven't read 'The Name of the Star' do so now and then quickly, run don't walk, to pick up the sequel.
In The Madness Underneath, due to Rory's experiences in the first novel, she has no one to turn to but the Shades as she attempts to deal with the aftermath of her prior experiences. She is horribly confused, and feels the Shades are the only ones who will understand. At one point she tells herself:
"You can't curl up on the sofa and deny life forever. Life is always going to be a series of ouch-making moments, and the question was, was i going to go all fetal position, or was I going to woman up?"
As Rory grows closer to the members of the Shades, she feels less and less comfortable at the boarding school. She thinks "I felt like I was faking all of this, like I was playing the part of a student. I had the costume and the props, but I didn't really belong here. I'd pinned notes on the stupid corkboard backing of my desk, and I'd highlighted things...But it was all so meaningless."
Then, a new string of deaths begins in London, and Rory and the Shades need to figure out what is going on and why. As the plot begins to spiral out of control, Johnson ends the novel on such a cliff hanger that I would have had a moment à la Pat in Silver Linings Playbook had I not been on an airplane. I immediately looked up to see that the third novel won't be out until 2014, and have resigned myself to wait.
The Madness Underneath is a powerful novel that draws the reader in unexpectedly and easily, which makes the ending that much more difficult to bear. I am very excited to read books three and four in the series. Maureen Johnson is a master at her craft, and I would recommend this book highly to anyone over the age of thirteen or so.
First thing is first, I absolutely love the redesign and matching covers of the two books. It makes the cover whore in me smile. I found this cover to be intriguing and I loved the purple coloring. Next, I noticed that it was not as thick as “The Name of the Star” which I appreciated. Johnson too some of the useless details that she had used in the first novel and was better at delivering the plot of the story. Finally, the characters seemed more personable in this book than the last. I have no clue what happened that changed Rory from irritating ditz to relatable girl but whatever magic Johnson weaved, it worked. I found Rory to be delightful in this. Possibly because she was not the constant victim in this book. She fought back a lot more which made for a nod of pride from me as a reader.
Most of this book was Rory confronting the aftermath of her brush with The Ripper in the first book. It delved into her psychology, which as a psychology major made me extremely happy. I was glad that the budding romance between Stephen and Rory was explored a little more and found myself actually swooning for two characters to finally make a go of things that originally I had detested to the highest regard.
In this book, Rory finds out that not just her psychological stability is shaken from her explosive climax with The Ripper. Apparently the occurrence may have been so traumatic that it also stirred up the long buried ghosts that reside under the foundation of London. It was interesting to watch Rory actually do detective work for herself instead of just following the lead of the Shades. The terminus state of her body made her feel stronger and more confident which led her to be almost stubborn in her determination to be involved with the ghost hunting police squad. Who doesn’t like a girl who won’t take no for an answer? I love empowered female leads and seeing Rory turn into that from the sniveling weakling she seemed in the first book was a welcome change.
In conclusion, this book blew my expectations out of the water. I highly expected to cast this book aside just like the first with a snort and a roll of the eyes. Instead I found myself intrigued, perplexed, and generally happy with the way the book turned out. It is always nice when a series doesn’t continue the way you thought it was going to and turns into a book you enjoyed.
The book was not perfect, but what book is really. Only a select few in my opinion. This one straddled the line between being okay and being impressive. If there were a way to skip over the first book and read this book alone, I would suggest it, but, alas, you must slog through the first to get to the this book otherwise you’d have no clue what is occurring between the characters.
Review Posted on: http://www.ladybugliterature.blogspot.com
I heard such great things about the first book in the series, but was still surprised at just how much I enjoyed The Name of the Star. I was really glad to see this sequel on Netgalley and even happier that Harper Collins approved my request for the eARC.
This cover is as beautiful and atmospheric as the first, and works well too as does the tagline. “Bedlam breaks free…” So we I already know to expect some madness underneath, I just wonder where this underneath is.
The story picks up three weeks after the events in the first book, and Rory’s stuck in Bristol with her parents, who refuse to let her return to Wexford College in London after her near fatal stabbing. Her therapy sessions aren’t working to well as she knows that talking honestly about what happened would only make her seem as though she’s lost a grip on reality.
She does however return to Wexford, but it’s clear her relationship with Jazza and Jeremy have changed. She can’t even be too friendly with her ghost library buddy because something within her has changed – something that would make her very valuable if a lot of people found out about it. She could be a lot of help to the Boo, Callum and Stephen, but Stephen seems determined to keep her from getting into their world, but he can’t totally exclude her when she figures out that a murder committed by someone deemed insane, may have had a paranormal culprit.
The ending shocked me! Rating 4 out of 5
Rory is as funny as ever, although her focus has totally shifted in this book. Where she was always a good student, even when she thought herself to be falling behind, this time around she’s most definitely falling behind at school – and although that stresses her, she can’t seem to bring herself to truly care. Rory is affected by a general malaise – she can’t be who she truly is if she has to lie to her best friend and her boyfriend, and everyone but Boo, Stephen and Callum. These three friends have the job of fighting malevolent ghosts in London.
Boo and Callum are wonderfully unchanged, although they’re both irritated that there work is currently being hindered. Stephen’s consistently dour, but this time around Rory’s paying a little more attention to him and sees that his stand-offishness is underpinned by a self-sacrificng nature. With a little more probing on Rory’s side, the reader gets to understand him better.
Jazza and Jeremy feel the need to tip-toe around Rory, but it’s really Charlotte who’s changed the most out of Rory’s schoolmates. Rating 4 out of 5
Although the plot worked well for me I found the pace a little slower than the first book and a few scenes dragged – although never enough to make me lose interest. Once Stephen concedes that Rory may be able to help the team, the reader gets to sit back and enjoy their constant verbal sparring. It’s cute and slowly we see that these two opposites – Ms Chatterbox vs Mr Contemplative, Ms Impulsive Vs Mr Planning – do attract. It’s less about an overwhelming attraction and more about a slow build up of friendship and affection.
The bits with the murder and ghosts certainly chilled me, and there’s still a lot of humour that kept me smiling.
I love the descriptions of London and the underground, and there’s quite few hints at mental health in this book. Rory’s feeling the strain of having to lie, Stephen divulges some distressing facts about his family life, and then there’s the ‘mad-guy’ accused of killing someone…not to mention a link to Bedlam and all the therapy sessions. The interesting thing of course is that some of the ‘mad’ people are saner than the supposed ‘sane’ people and that works perfectly. Rating 4 out of 5
The Madness Underneath is wonderfully titled for a contemplative tale about the stress of not being able to speak your mind, and feeling powerless – and it’s a clever pun about the plot! This novel’s as beautifully narrated as the first book, with witty observations, and foreshadowing that the change Rory’s facing now, is as nothing to the change awaiting her.