The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
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.
After reading and loving The Name of the Star, I could not wait to get into this one. Unfortunately, I didn't like it nearly as much as I did the prequel. For me, part of what made the first book was the Jack the Ripper mystery and how creatively Johnson wove that into the story. I love anything historical related and I learned so much about the Ripper Murders. I felt the first book would have been perfect as a standalone, but, alas, it is going to be a trilogy. I still love the characters and enjoyed the mystery of The Madness Underneath, but it did not have the same spark for me that The Name of the Star did.
This addition to the series picked up soon after the first one left off and we are once again immersed in Rory's world. I was quite into the book at first and really enjoyed the mystery, but things got a little too weird for my liking. Still, Maureen Johnson is not afraid to take risks and she knows how to create a riveting mystery.
I love the setting for these books and seeing all of the sights of London through Rory's eyes. Rory is a great protagonist and I love her sense of humor and adventurous side. Even when no one would believe her, Rory stood up for what she believed in and made some risky decisions to protect her friends and family. But, one big decision of hers felt rather stupid and un-Rory-like to me.We also got a lot more information about the various members of the squad and how it came to be. I love the characters of Boo, Newman, and Stephen. Each of them was so well developed and I enjoy all of their scenes together. Rory's school friends took a back seat in this addition to the series, which I was happy about because I never really saw their connection with Rory.
As I mentioned before, the mystery became a tad strange the farther into the novel I got. I found things to be a bit predictable, but the last few chapters were twisted and intense and reminiscent of the first book in the series. Plus, the cliffhanger at the end left me extremely eager to see where things will go in book three! I feel that parts of this book fell into the sequel slump, but I'm still looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy and seeing what will happen to the various characters.
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
February 26, 2013/Putnam Juvenile/304 Pages/Young Adult/Book Two
Source: Publisher (ARC)