Friday, August 16, 2013

Book review: "The Madness Underneath" by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Madness Underneath
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Putnam, 2013

**Spoilers for The Name of the Star ahead! You've been warned.** 

After having been nearly killed by Alexander Newman, ghostly Jack the Ripper copycat and psychopathic ghost, Rory is getting therapy for the trauma. Unfortunately, she can't tell her therapist what really happened. Luckily, the Shades are able to pull some strings and get her sent back to Wexford, since they need her--her entire body is a terminus, and she's the only one left. Thus begins the second journey Rory takes into the ghostly world of London.

I really liked this book until the end. After the beginning in Bristol and Rory's clearly pending failure of all her courses, she goes on to more investigations with the Shades. About halfway through, maybe a little more, we are also introduced to a new set of characters who may or may not be trustworthy. We'll definitely be seeing more of them in the next book, however.

What bothered me about this book was not all the time spent on Rory's recovery, which some people didn't like, but how I felt like we were going in one direction and it just kind of... fizzled out. The first murder in the beginning hooked me, and I thought we'd be on that for a little while, but we just weren't. At book's end, I couldn't really piece together what the main plot was, so many different things were going on. There also wasn't a whole lot of ghost action.

And then we get to the ending. To avoid spoilers, I won't say more than I am completely disappointed with it and am not sure I want to bother reading the next book because of it. I probably will anyway, but still. I really have no idea how Johnson is going to make it work in the next book, but I'm guessing she has a plan, so I suppose we'll find out. I honestly can't see how I'll enjoy whatever resolution she'll come up with, however.

My expectations were high after having read The Name of the Star, but unfortunately they were not met by The Madness Underneath. I'm hoping the next book will redeem this one, but I'm having a hard time seeing how.

Disclosure: I took this book out from the library.

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