The Madness Underneath / The Boy in the Smoke

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Name of the Star. You can read my review of this novel [here].

The Madness Underneath was written by Maureen Johnson and first published in 2013. It forms the second part of the Shades of London series and is preceded by The Name of the Star (2011) and followed by The Boy in the Smoke (2014) and The Shadow Cabinet (2015). The story picks up exactly where its prequel leaves off, with Rory coming to terms with her new power.

Ripper hype is slowly starting to die down. As far as the general public are concerned, the murderer is dead and his brutal killing spree is finally over. Rory is one of a small group of people who know the truth. The Ripper is gone, but he was not killed. He was never alive to begin with. Yet his defeat almost cost her life and now her overprotective parents have spirited her away from the city, determined that she will never return to her friends at Wexford.

For Rory, leaving London is far more distressing than her healing wounds. She misses her school friends horribly, and Stephen and his band of ghost hunters even more. To make matters worse, her battle with the Ripper has left her with a deadly power – the ability to dispel ghosts with a touch – and she has no one left that she can talk to about it. Luckily, it’s not long before her ability is discovered and the English government arrange for her to return to London.

Rory believed that this would make things easier, but it doesn’t. Stephen doesn’t seem to want her to be part of his team and her secrecy is damaging her relationship with Jerome. As things begin to spiral out of her control, Rory finally decides to seek the help of Jane, a local therapist. However, there is something very strange about Jane. The stories that she tells slowly begin to resonate with Rory’s own experiences. Could it be possible that Jane can see ghosts as well?

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The Name of the Star

the-name-of-the-star

The Name of the Star was written by Maureen Johnson and first published in 2011. It’s a paranormal fantasy story which focuses on a teenage girl who is drawn into a supernatural murder investigation. The novel forms the first part of the Shades of London series and is followed by The Madness Underneath (2013) and The Shadow Cabinet (2015), as well as a prequel novella titled The Boy in the Smoke which was published for World Book Day 2014.

Sixteen-year-old Aurora “Rory” Deveaux is thrilled to be leaving Louisiana to study at a real London boarding school. It’s always been her dream to visit England and she can’t wait to get stuck into her new life. However, she arrives in the city at a terrible time. A brutal murderer has just struck, replicating Jack the Ripper’s first murder to the tiniest detail, and London is rife with gossip as people wait to see if he will kill again.

Although her new friend Jerome is fascinated by the case, Rory is more interested in focusing on her difficult classes and overcoming her culture shock. However, this proves impossible when the Ripper strikes on the school grounds. To make it worse, Rory might well be the only witness to a crime. She had thought it odd to have seen a strange man in the square but the weirdest thing was that her roommate, Jazza, claimed not to have seen anyone.

Following this encounter, Rory’s life just gets weirder and weirder as she continues to see people that no one else can. When she is approached by a strange young policeman who seems to want to help her, she starts to realise that nothing is as it seems. She has abilities that might just be able to catch the Ripper. But who will be his next target, and how do you stop someone that isn’t exactly human?

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