Book Review: The Madness Underneath

The Madness Underneath
By: Maureen Johnson
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
Release date: February 26, 2013
Genre: YA paranormal
290 pages
Source: purchased by reviewer

Rory Deveaux returns in this sequel to Johnson's The Name of the Star. This volume picks where book 1 leaves off, with Rory recuperating from the traumatic events related to her brush with The Ripper. She is away from school, with her family, and in therapy- and the next thing she knows, she is back at Wexford, rubbing elbows with the Shades, and figuring out what comes next.

Rory's adventures this time around include very little in the way of attending classes and/or doing homework. she is, in fact, ridiculously behind in her studies, with no clear path in sight for fixing that. She is similarly disconnected from Jerome. Additionally, she realizes that a rift has developed between herself and Jazza. . . her life a Wexford will obviously never be the same.

Despite this, there is a measure of stability in her Sight, and her new abilities. She continues to keep in touch with the Shades, even helping with a case or two along the way. Her voluntary research serves them well, and she proves to be a valuable asset.

What comes next for Rory is where the roller-coaster ride of the book resides; the plot twists, turns, and sometimes throws us for a loop. The plot arc is certainly not traditional, but it does hold the reader's attention and provide a surprise or two.

I wondered going in how Johnson was going to compete with a Ripper wannabe. I think her antagonist in book two is absolutely a baddie, and I am excited that the storyline will likely continue in the next book. Rory's character development is at a very interesting stage, and I'll be excited to see where the next book takes her.


After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Deveaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory's brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she's become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades--the city's secret ghost-fighting police--are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it's too late. 

In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated THE NAME OF THE STAR, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.


  1. Ooh nice review!! I've heard lots of mixed things on this one! Most people were saying it dragged a bit and lacked something the first one had. But it really picks up in the end and has a whopper of a cliffhanger, which led me to decide to read this one once I have book 3 at the ready!

    Glad to hear someone have more good to say than not so good! Again, great review!

  2. I love this series. I agree that this one was slightly weaker than the first in many ways, but I still enjoyed it. That ending was brutal!


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