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It sounds like The Madness Underneath is suffering from a bad case of the sequel-suck sickness.

The Madness Underneath: Shades of London, Book 2

I think the setting fits it quite perfectly. If you liked the first book and protagonist enough, then it sounds like it might be worth sticking it out through book 3. Sorry to hear this one didn't live up to your expectations though! Sequel Sickness is exactly this book's problem. It's clear the author wanted to take the book in a specific direction, but the way she does it is pretty clunky.

I'm not ready to give up on these yet though, but I wish I'd waited until more were out to read. It's disappointing when you wait a year for a book, and this is all you get. Too bad it's not the main event. Haha I will happily cosign that letter to Maureen!


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Love this thoughtful review, and I couldn't agree more. And I'm pretty sure the author was using them to distract the reader from the fact that not a lot happens in this book, as well as the fact that what does happen doesn't make a whole lot of sense" YES! Sneaky Maureen, sneaky! Like ALL of them. I also love Stephen, he's my favorite! I am pretty much tormented by that ending, and I agree about that plotline that shall not be named being whackadoodle.

Hopefully Maureen will make amends in book three. She has her work cut out for her! We are so on to her ;. But as you said, I'm not ready to give up on this series. I love him. Haha, I didn't read this but I did read your letter to MJohnson. She came through here with Stephanie Perkins last weekend.

I considered going.

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I have the first book in this series on my shelf but I haven't read it yet. If this second book isn't great, I know that I won't rush to read this series until I find out how the third book is. Sorry I can't really read the blog post - I'm sure your thoughts are wonderful, as always. Oh Oh! I wish you had gone so you could report back to me. Though I know that for you, "close" might not be as close as it would be if someone comes here.

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How to resolve AdBlock issue? Write Review Add to favorites. Author s. Maureen Johnson.

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Putnam Juvenile. Editor reviews 2 reviews. March 06, Overall rating. It's just as suspenseful, funny, and full of lovely, vivid details that bring the story to life. The pacing is perfect. Both the internal and external conflict escalate at a steady rate. I felt fully invested in Rory's inner journey as she tries to recover from the trauma of being stabbed by a ghost, and I felt fully engaged with the increasing suspense outside of Rory as ghost activity and some truly creepy humans begin to demand Rory's attention. The pacing gives a tension to the story that made it impossible put the book down.

The setting is flawless. London comes to life in vivid detail, from Rory's boarding school to the streets that wind through town to the rain that falls with relentless dependability. The British characters feel authentically British, and Rory notices cultural quirks such as loving the color red because it stands out in the rain that make the entire setting feel absolutely real to the reader. My favorite part of the story is Rory herself. She's a stubborn, brave, flawed, funny character who always feels like an authentic teenager suddenly thrust into a crazy situation. I found myself laughing often even while I was quickly turning pages because I desperately needed to know what happened next.

Readers will relate to Rory as she struggles with depression and with uncertainty over her future even as they enjoy her quick one-liners and her irrepressible often self-deprecating sass. I had this issue with the first book.


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I never felt a connection to the boy she was dating, and I still didn't. Rory is very self-aware but seems to lack the kind of awareness of her romantic interests that would allow the reader to have a crush on her swoony boyfriend as well. Report this review Comments 0 Was this review helpful to you? Just as spooky as the first! February 25, Awhile back I was lucky enough to pick up the first book in this series, The Name of the Star, at my local library and I fell in love with it. I was so scared and freaked out the entire time. I was extremely excited when I heard there would be a sequel and was delighted when I received a copy via NetGalley to read and review.

The book starts off with Rory back in Bristol with her parents and speaking to a therapist.

book talk: The Madness Underneath

The problem is she can't tell anyone what truly happened that night with the Ripper, so she's really not getting anywhere with the therapist and she desperately misses her friends back at Wexford. After a bit, her therapist actually recommends she head back to Wexford and face her fears head on, so she does.

I adore these characters. They are truly Rory's friends and know everything that is going on with her and I believe are really the only ones who can make her feel "normal". Now that Rory is the only terminus, this small group must figure out where to go from here and whether or not to use Rory to help or get rid of ghosts who are left behind. In true Stephen nature, he is still very serious and takes the world upon his shoulders.

I loved reading more about him and in this book I will say that he opens up a bit and I had a blast reading that. I also loved the exchanges between him and Rory and wanted more. While this book doesn't have a Ripper on the lose killing people, there are still mysteries to be solved, and scary parts to be read. So, if you're worried that this book isn't as creepy as the first one, don't be because it is. The prologue itself was enough to give me goosebumps!

In true second book fashion, we see Rory dealing with a relationship that she's not sure she wants, or can even have. Rory also makes some poor decisions that left me screaming at the book for her to stop, but did she listen, no. There is lots of conflict, angst and maturation in this book on Rory's part and Ms.

Johnson does a fantastic job of writing it. I was left with my mouth hanging open at the end of this book and I'm craving the third book already. I love Maureen Johnson's style of writing and I am completely in love and frankly quite scared of the world she has created. If you haven't read 'The Name of the Star' do so now and then quickly, run don't walk, to pick up the sequel. Jillian Van Leer Top 10 Reviewer reviews. User reviews 3 reviews Overall rating. Already have an account?

Joint Review (& Giveaway): The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson |

Log in now or Create an account. June 12, She is a teenage girl who stumbles upon in the first novel, The Name of the Star a Jack-the-Ripper copycat killer during her first year at a London boarding school, which results in her near death. This may all seem relatively cut-and-dry, but what makes Johnson's plot unique is the inclusion of the "Shades," a small group of ghost hunters that have an integral part to the story. In The Madness Underneath, due to Rory's experiences in the first novel, she has no one to turn to but the Shades as she attempts to deal with the aftermath of her prior experiences.

She is horribly confused, and feels the Shades are the only ones who will understand. At one point she tells herself: "You can't curl up on the sofa and deny life forever. Life is always going to be a series of ouch-making moments, and the question was, was i going to go all fetal position, or was I going to woman up?

She thinks "I felt like I was faking all of this, like I was playing the part of a student. I had the costume and the props, but I didn't really belong here. I'd pinned notes on the stupid corkboard backing of my desk, and I'd highlighted things But it was all so meaningless.

I immediately looked up to see that the third novel won't be out until , and have resigned myself to wait. The Madness Underneath is a powerful novel that draws the reader in unexpectedly and easily, which makes the ending that much more difficult to bear. I am very excited to read books three and four in the series. Maureen Johnson is a master at her craft, and I would recommend this book highly to anyone over the age of thirteen or so.

Kate Colvin 1 reviews. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson. June 08, As an avid Ripper follower I thought I would have gotten into the story rather quickly, but alas all I saw were problems, uninteresting characters, and an evil that made me think of Dr. Evil from Austin Powers you know, wants to be evil but is really just comical? I am a stickler for finishing what I start and this was no exception.

First thing is first, I absolutely love the redesign and matching covers of the two books. It makes the cover whore in me smile. I found this cover to be intriguing and I loved the purple coloring. Johnson too some of the useless details that she had used in the first novel and was better at delivering the plot of the story. Finally, the characters seemed more personable in this book than the last. I have no clue what happened that changed Rory from irritating ditz to relatable girl but whatever magic Johnson weaved, it worked.

I found Rory to be delightful in this. Possibly because she was not the constant victim in this book. She fought back a lot more which made for a nod of pride from me as a reader. Most of this book was Rory confronting the aftermath of her brush with The Ripper in the first book.

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It delved into her psychology, which as a psychology major made me extremely happy. I was glad that the budding romance between Stephen and Rory was explored a little more and found myself actually swooning for two characters to finally make a go of things that originally I had detested to the highest regard. In this book, Rory finds out that not just her psychological stability is shaken from her explosive climax with The Ripper. Apparently the occurrence may have been so traumatic that it also stirred up the long buried ghosts that reside under the foundation of London.

It was interesting to watch Rory actually do detective work for herself instead of just following the lead of the Shades. The terminus state of her body made her feel stronger and more confident which led her to be almost stubborn in her determination to be involved with the ghost hunting police squad. I love empowered female leads and seeing Rory turn into that from the sniveling weakling she seemed in the first book was a welcome change.

In conclusion, this book blew my expectations out of the water. I highly expected to cast this book aside just like the first with a snort and a roll of the eyes. Instead I found myself intrigued, perplexed, and generally happy with the way the book turned out.