Book Review – The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2)

Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m bringing you my review of the second Shades of London series, The Madness Underneath. Much like the first book, where Jack the Ripper was referenced, this ended up having very little to do with the original implications, and gradually built up to a dramatic climax that was utterly terrifying and thrilling.

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.

Similar to book one, the title is misleading in a way that the main storyline actually has very little to do with Bedlam. I was slightly hesitant, as someone with mental health issues, to read this one but I took on the recommendation from my friend, as well as my knowledge from the first book, before I dived in, and I’m glad I did.

Rory has been sent back to stay with her parents following the attack from the ghost who was posing as Jack the Ripper. When her therapist, who she has been making no progress with, advises her parents that going back to school might be the best choice for her, she starts to suspect something is going on in the background, and is quickly proved correct by the appearence of one of her old Shade friends late that night.

From there, the story moves quickly, with suspicious activies going on, and Rory now being the only terminus since the Ripper ruined the others. Another girl at school suggests that Rory might benefit from seeing the same trauma-based therapist she’s been seeing, and on a bad day Rory makes a phone call to her, one that, on reflection, changes her life.

As always with Maureen Johnson, there’s a huge emotional punch played out in the pages, along with a powerful story that shows the realities of living with trauma, side by side of being a normal teenage girl, trying not to fail school and not knowing how to balance the scales. Johnson has a skill at capturing the not seemingly extraoidanairy points of growing up and putting power behind them as a huge reminder of how these moments impact us.

As I said in my review of The Name of the Star, I would still rate Truly Devious higher on a skill and general story level, but I will still await the (apparently in the works) fourth book with anticipation.

Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to come back for everything between book tags and reviews!

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