Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Goodreads summary:

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 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.

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.

My review:

I really enjoyed The Name of the Star, so I was thrilled when I found out there was going to be a sequel.  However, The Madness Underneath isn't quite as good as the first book.  It's still a good sequel and worth reading if you liked the first book, but it wasn't everything I was hoping it would be.

I think my favorite part of these stories is the humor.  Rory is a hilarious main character, and I found mysef loving her internal monologue and sarcastic quips.  Like, one funny little line when she was talking to Stephen: "I think people would like a singing policeman.  Makes life seem more like a musical." (Actually, that whole scene was funny!)  So yeah, I love Rory's sense of humor, and it's definitely what made me enjoy the story.

What disappointed me was the lack of action.  TNotS had its share of creepy moments, but The Madness Underneath is a little less...thrilling.  In the summary for it, it says it will "keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end."  Sadly, this isn't really true.  A good portion of the book is focused on Rory's personal life - her relationships with friends and family, and school.  Lots and lots about Rory trying to keep up with school, her grades, etc.  Also, I ended up guessing the "bad guy" right away; it was pretty obvious and I got a little annoyed with Rory when she didn't figure it out.

Still, despite that the story was lacking the scary thriller-ish feel, I still enjoyed it.  I love that it's set in London, and the whole idea with the ghosts is unique and interesting.  That, along with the major cliffhanger at the end, means I'll definitely be reading the next book!

My rating:  6 out of 10 (3 stars)

~ The Bookworm


  1. It sounds disappointing, but I think I'll still give it because I did enjoy TNotS.

    1. It's still definitely worth reading if you enjoyed TNotS! Just not as amazing as I'd hoped it would be. Oh well. Hope you enjoy it, Sarah!