Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Madness Underneath

by Maureen Johnson
published: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2013
pages: 290

After the attack, Rory finds herself back at Wexford Academy as an experimental transition into normal life.  However, immediately following her return, she begins to learn about new mysterious deaths around campus. With her new power, the Shades need Rory more than ever and she knows it.  But when all the stress of being behind in school and tracking ghosts get to her she turns to a therapist, who may not be all that she says she is.

My main issue with this book is it felt less like it's own cohesive story and more like 290 pages of set up for the next book.  While that isn't necessarily the problem, it becomes one when the plot doesn't really stand well on it's own.  It's spooky and intense and at the same time witty and humorous, but I felt like this book was more character development for Rory than it was story for us.  I wish that it had been a bit more difficult to wrap up the mysteries that were presented to us in the beginning of the book.  But I also have this feeling that they were easy to wrap up because of something that will be explained in the next book.  There were a lot of unanswered questions and suspiciously easy cases in this novel.  My hope is that this next book will relieve my disappointment.

On the character development side of things, it was great.  I loved getting to know more about our witty, smart-ass heroine.  Even though it felt a little self-involved at some points, it's reasonable.  I mean let's be honest, if I were in her shoes I would be self-involved too.  There's also some character and relational development with Stephen, Boo and Callum.  Although, Rory's Wexford friends seem to take a backseat in this novel, the new characters and issues that pop up in this story make up for it.

There is a twist at the end of the book and I did not see coming.  I have not decided yet if I like it.  It didn't seem force, it felt very natural to the story, I just don't know if I personally like it.  Like I said before, it depends on what happens in the third book whether or not this twist is justified.

There's a lot riding on the next book in this series.  I hope it brings me everything, or at least enough of what I want.  Maureen Johnson will never cease to find and expose humor in the most intense situations, and that one of the reasons I love her writing.  I look forward to, hopefully, the most epic of endings.

Stars: 3/5


"Creepy, clever and ambiguous second volume in the Shades of London series...As always, Johnson wield words with a supple facility that keeps those pages turning.  The London minutiae are utterly engaging, the villains satisfyingly weird and numerous.  And there is kissing."
     --Kirkus Reviews

"Rory's internal monologue sparkles with the wit that Johnson's fans (and most of Twitter) will recognize, which is plenty entertaining.  The second half will satisfy readers' craving for what they came for - Rory's investigation of London's latest ghost crimes - while laying tragic groundwork for the next book."
     --Publisher's Weekly

"Johnson's sharp wit is ever-present, and her heroine is the perfect blend of snark and teen anxiety."
     --School Library Journal

No comments:

Post a Comment