Wednesday, February 6, 2013

ARC Review: The Madness Underneath

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
4/5 stars
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2013
290 pages
YA Thriller Supernatural
Book 2 in the Shades of London
Scheduled to release February 26

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

*Spoilers for book one*

After adoring first book The Name of the Star, I was chomping at the bit for this sequel and am so pleased to be providing an early review. I was mostly satisfied with the novel but had some big problems with the ending which will be discussed at the very bottom under the spoiler heading.

If you liked the snarky opinionated personality of Rory in book one, I am happy to report that she is back. Despite almost dying in the first book, Rory is too tough to be kept down although she is struggling with the discovery that ghosts exist and she can see them as well as recovering from her attack. She is recuperating in the countryside with her parents but craving the chance to know more about her powers. Somehow she returns to school but mostly ignores schoolwork in favor of spending more time with Stephen, Callum, and Boo.

However despite the strong narrative voice, this book kind of suffers from second book syndrome although I thought of it more in terms of films. You know how Pirates of the Caribbean was an excellent (and profitable) movie so they decided to make sequels? Then the second film set up a lot of stuff but it didn't pay off until the third? Yeah, that's kind of what happened here. Some things do happen but I feel like the third book is where things are really going to happen especially in regards to the spoiler below.

Thinking back over the book, I am remembering a few plot elements but mostly I get the feeling of waiting for something big. I appreciated that The Name of the Star was almost a standalone and loved the mystery revolving around Jack the Ripper. This book's plot is much less strong in my opinion although as I said, I do believe it will pay off in the third book, which of course I am eagerly anticipating! (Despite it not being currently listed on goodreads!)

Other Opinons:
The Compulsive Reader
Lisa Loves Literature
Pure Imagination


What the heck? Where is Stephen? Rory better find him is all I can say.



  1. I read the Name of the Star -- and actually just finished listening to it on audio to refresh my memory before I started Madness Underneath. Yeah, I'd forgotten a LOT.
    Excited to see what I think of this one!

  2. Gah! I hate it that second books seem to consistantly fall flat--it annoys me to no end that it seems to be the standard in YA for authors to use the second book solely to gear up for the third. I enjoyed Name of the Star, but I probably won't be reading this one unless it shows up at my local library.

  3. Second book syndrome is THE WORST. But, this is a Maureen Johnson books, so I'm sure I will love most of it, even if the plot is just sort of "eh". Great review!

  4. I've heard such great things about this series, but I still haven't started it yet. Despite a few reservations, I'm glad you still like it enough to give it four stars--and to soldier on!

    The cover's really cool, btw--but I do hate it when publishers decide to switch up the styles in a series so they don't match. :/

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  5. I adored this book, and didn't feel that it suffered from second book syndrome at ALL. But the end--THE END!! I still haven't recovered.

  6. I haven't even read the first book in this series yet. The covers are so different though. I'd never guess they were books in the same series.

  7. I haven't read the first book and haven't thought I would because I just didn't feel the urge but I also saw a lot of mixed reviews and I have thought maybe it wouldn't be for me. I skimmed this review to just get an idea of your thoughts without getting any spoilers in case I do read them and it sounds like maybe I should consider picking up the first and just see for myself. :)

  8. I loved the first one, and I am sooo looking forward to this one. Awesome review. I don't think the 26th is going to get here fast enough.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  9. I've heard that this one had some serious second book syndrome from another source. It's really a shame. Each book needs a plot arc. That's so important. I'm glad it's still enjoyable anyway, even if it's not anywhere as good as the first one.

  10. I wasn't sure about that first book, but this review has me rethinking it. Hm... I do think I'll have to go for that one so I can also pick up this one.


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