by Maureen Johnson
Published by Putnam Juvenile
on February 26, 2013
Source: e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. My FTC disclosure is to the right of this post, on the sidebar.
Connect with the author: website : blog: Twitter.
Summary (adapted from Goodreads:) After her near-fatal run-in with a copycat Jack the Ripper, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. 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.
My take: Do you enjoy the following: ghosts, boarding school stories, Maureen Johnson's twitter feed, and books that take place in London? If so, then you should definitely try the Shades of London series.
As The Madness Underneath opens, Rory is stuck living with her parents, who are eager to keep her safe after her close brush with death in book one. When they finally allow her to return to school, she's thrilled to be reunited with her roommate Jazza, her hook-up buddy Jerome, and her special friends Stephen, Callum and Boo. Even though the culprit in book one is no more, there's a new murder right near campus that seems to have a supernatural element. Rory finds she has a new talent. As the synopsis discloses, she can kill ghosts on contact. She also discovers something interesting about her boarding school --shades of Buffy and the Hellmouth!
That's pretty much all that happens, plot-wise. As I was listening to The Name of the Star on audio to refresh my memory before I started The Madness Underneath, it struck me that these books move at a leisurely pace rather than thriller-y one. To enjoy them, you have to slow down and enjoy the journey: the quirky details about London, the boarding school stuff, and Rory's humorous asides about her eccentric relatives in the South. In The Madness Underneath, Rory isn't that involved in Wexford life, but there's plenty of London atmosphere and spooky stuff. There are also a couple of new characters, one of whom raised a huge red flag for me, and I was right: Person to Beware. Then at the end there's a "finally" moment, and right on top of that, a "what????" moment. What? I was really not expecting that. I will definitely be reading the next book!
EDITED to add: Heidi @ Bunbury in the Stacks says that there was a change to the ending in the finished copy. What??
RE-EDITED to add: I have checked this out. Yes, the ending is a little more expanded upon in the finished copy. But it's not a completely different ending. If you want to know more, just email me.
Interested in this series? Book one, The Name of the Star, will be part of my Freebie Friday giveaway this week, so be sure to stop by!
This series also had a cover change. What do you think? On the far left is the original cover of The Name of the Star, in the middle is the UK version, and on the end is the new US cover.