The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Madness Underneath
Series: Shades of London #2
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: February 26th 2013
Pages: Hardcover, 290 pages
Format: Audio Book

Summary 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.

Rory is back home, with her parents seeing a therapist to try and cope with her run in with The Ripper. Surprisingly, her therapist suggests going back to Wexford, so Rory returns back to where it all happened. Rory’s role as a human terminus (she can touch ghosts to send them on) becomes a bit of a point of contention with the secret organization, The Shades. (Those who can see ghosts). Meanwhile, there are more killings happening near Wexford; Rory feels like there is something weird about these killings, something the Shades should investigate. Tangled up in her role in the Shades and her personal life, Rory stumbles into bad situation.

Audio book Review: I would actually give the audio book 3 stars. The audio did not really add anything to the story but it did not hinder or take away from the story at all. So overall it was not bad but not great. A bonus though, it is not terribly long!

What I liked: Rory had some funny lines.“Don’t get stabbed… it makes things awkward.” She says this when talking about making out with a guy. Her witty lines saved the story; they were a nice blend to the horror/murder mystery setting. I continue to enjoy the idea of The Shades of London and the work they do. The dreary London setting if perfectly described for the haunting murders of the story.

What I did not like: I did not like Rory’s relationships and how she handled them. The story starts of slow and takes quite some time to get interesting. Yes there are murders happening but they are not exactly tied to Rory. I could not figure out the point or where the plot was going for a while. And when the story started to actually pick up, some of the twists (like who the bad guy was) were quite obvious. The plot itself was very one dimensional, no real side stories or anything else going on besides the mediocre story. AND to top it off the ending… without spoiling anything… I will just say, I was not a fan. The story seemed to try and make sense of everything in the last couple chapters.

Overall, I gave The Madness Underneath two and a half  stars; I enjoyed the first book and was hoping for an exciting sequel but the story just couldn't get off the ground. The plot fell flat, the characters did not continue to develop and the ending seemed rush and part seemed unnecessary.



  1. I have to admit that I love the first book in this series and that I preordered this one! That being said I still haven't read it yet. I keep seeing things like you're saying about it. Guess that I'll just have to read and see?

    1. Yea! I will be super interested to see what you think of it. I did really enjoy the first book as well.

  2. Slow pacing and one-dimensionality: two things that, when paired, are things I'll guaranteed not to enjoy. I haven't started this series, and after reading several reviews for the sequel that touch on similar subjects to yours, I think I'll be giving it a pass.

    1. If you read the first one as a stand alone, it's not bad. I actually did not even know there was going to be a sequel, there was plenty of resolve in the first to enjoy it as a stand alone.

  3. LOL at the gif. I was actually under the impression this was the first in the series so I'm glad I didn't pick it up. I really hate predictability, so I will probably hold off on this. Great review, appreciate the honesty!

    New GFC follower.
    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland


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