The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Series: Shades of London #2
Published by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks on February 26, 2013
Source: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I was actually really disappointed by this book. While the writing was good and the main character (Rory) was strong, the rest of the book was below average.
I adored Name of the Star so much. It was creepy thriller meets London (I love books set in England!!) and Rory was a great character. In Name of the Star, while she seemed to be struggling a little bit, she had everything pretty much under control. She was a strong, outspoken character and I liked her a lot. In The Madness Underneath, she seemed like a different person. Rory was increasingly lazy and annoying during the first part of the book. She just started to get on my nerves, but since it was Maureen Johnson, I still didn’t hate her voice. I liked her much much more near the end of the book, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
All of the other characters in the book fell flat (with the possible exception of Stephen) which made me upset because I really loved them in Name of the Star. Jazza especially disappointed me. In the previous book she was a good friend to Rory and entered the story a lot. In this book she was barely mentioned and when she was, it was only because she was studying her German or something stupid like that. I think there was only one scene when she was actually a comforting best friend. I also hated Jerome, but that’s no change from the first book. He was basically there just to give Rory someone to kiss, and didn’t really have any redeeming qualities. Boo and Callum were not in this book nearly enough either, although they were in it more than the others. I was happy with Stephen, partially because he is my favorite character. He was in the book just enough.
The plot also wasn’t nearly as good as Name of the Star, but the reason I gave it three stars was mainly because of the plot. The parts of the book where Rory and Stephen were actually investigating the mystery (not that much of the book) were really good. I especially loved the scene in the basement of the pub. The rest of the book had a spotty plot with not that much action. I also was not surprised that Jane was the villain, it was hinted at too much earlier in the book. I spent about 50 pages screaming at Rory, DON”T GO BACK TO THE THERAPIST, but I still thought she was a decent villain.
I wish it had been a little more conclusive at the end of the book, instead of leaving it with the “sort of cliffhanger” ending. I really thought she could have at least given a little bit of conclusion (and it was possible, she chose to leave it hanging awkwardly). I usually don’t mind inconclusive endings, but this one was just awkward. So, all in all it was a decent book, but disappointing considering how good Name of the Star was. I would still read it if you enjoyed Name of the Star, but be prepared for disappointment. ~The Red Queen