Vee is on a forced mental health hiatus until 16th June. See you then!

Review of The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

by - April 27, 2018

Series: Shades Of London #2
Genres: Paranormal, Mystery
Pages: 290
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 26/02/2018
Find The Author: (Website/Twitter)
Find The Book: Book Depository/AbeBooks UK/US
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After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Deveaux 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.

I'm sick and tired of being disappointed by sequels. I'm a little but angry too. Why is it that nearly every Young Adult author can write an amazing first book and then the second just goes to shit? This wasn't that terrible and at very least the writing style stayed consistent (looking at you DeStefano) but just like... basically nothing happened.

We started off with a pretty fantastic set up - a basement with a mysterious chalk cross and a man beaten to death with a hammer held by an invisible hand and his employee blamed for it. So here I was, thinking great, now more mysterious stuff is going to happen, I couldn't wait to find out what the cross would signify. Yeah that was all over and done with within a chapter - when we finally got the the chapter 50% into the book.

“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? I went into fetal position on the bed to think about this. Fetal position turned out to be very comfortable.”

 Nearly every plot point in this book (all three of them, the rest is just Rory worried about failing her exams) goes nowhere, or is over within a short space of time. I was expecting that Rory would be joining the team and we'd all go ghost hunting and we just got... nothing. She finally went to go find the team a good half way into the book and the rest was umming and ahhing about if the only available terminus (Rory) should be used or not.

The ending was enough of a cliff hanger to make me read the next book but I'm certain that it will have pissed a lot of other readers off. I'm mostly angry because I'm surprised that with a concept as cool as this and with so much that you can do with it, I was stuck reading about Rory taking hot showers and not connecting with her boyfriend.

“But here I was, quasi-boyfriend saying he wanted to take me on an actual date, and I was just staring at him impassively, like a horse watching a mime pretending to walk against the wind.”

 It was kind of sad to see that Jerome, Jazza and Alistair all became background characters in this book, particularly Alistair. He got a grand total one of scene. When Rory screams at Alistair (ghost) to back off, Jerome obviously assumes it's him and his first reaction is "what is wrong with you?". Erm she was literally stabbed a couple of weeks ago.

Charlotte gets all the fun of being a major character in this book... while still feeling completely like a background character. I actually really felt sorry for her, she's just been beaten over the head and nearly killed by someone she didn't see and Rory/Jazza's reaction is to scoff at her wanting a psychiatrist and literally saying that Rory's injury was worse, acting like Charlotte had no right to be anything but completely fine with what happened to her. Pro tip: just because someone might be worse than you, that doesn't make your pain any less valid.

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  1. I am curious to see what you think of the next book because .... arghhhhhh
    Jen Ryland Reviews

    1. It's up on my blog! It wasn't as bad as this but... it was BAD.


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