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The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Rory Devereaux escapes her nearly fatal encounter with a vengeful ghost a changed girl. As she found out the hard way, Rory has become a human terminus, meaning that any contact between her and a ghost will destroy it. Rory isn’t too sure how she feels about her new abilities, especially since she’s no longer allowed to be in contact with her ghost-fighting friends, but she quickly puts all of this behind her once she’s allowed to go back to Wexford. But returning to school isn’t the return to normality that Rory hopes for, especially given the unexplainable deaths around the school’s neighborhood. Rory is sure that something sinister is at work here, but she’s not so sure she can tackle it herself.

After the spectacular Ripper-themed frenzy that was The Name of the Star, I was curious to see where Johnson would lead Rory’s story next. And even though The Madness Underneath is somewhat of a departure from the historically-steeped mystery of its prequel, I have to see that I am overall mostly pleased with the results. Johnson does present readers with another fascinating mystery, that of the new set of mysterious deaths, but she also shifts some of the focus of the plot to Rory’s personal problems, such as her inability to truly assimilate back into her routine at Wexford. I enjoyed being able to see that different side of Rory’s life, especially as it made her feel like a more vivid character. The only issue that I really had with this story was the pacing: while some of the plotlines wrapped up by the end of the novel, one major one actually began there instead; while this certainly makes me want to read the next book in this trilogy, it was still strange to feel like the story wasn’t even close to being over at its conclusion.

Fans of The Name of the Star will not want to miss its sequel in The Madness Underneath, nor will readers who also enjoyed Croak by Gina Damico, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride.

Rating: 4.25

Review copy from publisher Penguin

2 munch(es) :

Lauren said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed this one! It's amazing, I thought the mysteries weren't as compelling as the Ripper one from book one, but I still enjoyed the book because of the characters. That ending though! So much angst!! I can't wait for the next installment. Great review!

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