Description (from Goodreads):
After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux 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. 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.
I ate up Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star. Not only did it focus on the Jack the Ripper murders, which are a big interest of mine, but she also has a really fun narrative voice. The main character, Rory, is a bit of a spazz, not unlike Johnson herself, judging by her Twitter account. Unfortunately, The Madness Underneath suffered a bit of the sophomore slump for me. It was fun to read, but just didn’t have the impact of the first book.
We pick up where the last book left off. Rory is recovering from being cut up in the stomach, and is away from school, seeing a shrink to deal with whatever mental issues the attack has left. The problem is, she officially can’t tell anybody about it, since she signed an official British form stating that she will never discuss what really happened that night. It’s a little bit pointless for me to try to sum up what happens during the rest of the book, because it would take far too long. That’s my problem with this story: the plot seemed unfocused and a little too loosey-goosey for my taste. It was more like a series of occurrences that were strung together rather than a real, cohesive story.
I kept waiting for the big developments, but they didn’t happen until the very end of the book. And then. It ended. This was one of the worst cliffhangers I’ve read recently, but it’s totally going to work. I’ll be raring to read the next in the series the moment it comes out.
If you’re a fan of this series, you might want to wait for another book to come out before you read this one. I won’t blame you if you don’t, but I think this will be far more satisfying if you have the ability to instantly jump into the next installment. Otherwise, it’s kind of a bummer to be left hanging the way that Johnson does here. It’s cruel, really.