The Madness Underneath

Bk. 2. 288p. (Shades of London Series). Putnam. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25661-5. LC 2012026755.
Gr 7 Up—This continuation of the series opens as Rory is recovering from a brutal attack by a ghost mimicking Jack the Ripper's grisly murders. She is persuaded by her therapist to leave the family's Bristol home, return to her London boarding school, and resume a normal life. However, life will never again be "normal" for Rory. She discovers that she is a "terminis" and has the ability to permanently extinguish ghosts. The British squad of those with the ability to see ghosts and monitor their activity recruits her help to investigate an unexplained death near campus. It appears that an evil force is moving through the underground, causing death and destruction. The opening chapters bring readers up to date, recapping previous events and characters and, in the process, revealing the plot in The Name of the Star (Putnam, 2011). The action picks up considerably in the final chapters. Readers will remain on the edge of their seats as the leader of a cult that follows the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries drugs and kidnaps Rory, hoping to use her extraordinary powers to defeat death. Johnson's sharp wit is ever-present, and her heroine is the perfect blend of snark and teen anxiety. Rory finds romance, but is it destined to end? Readers will anxiously await the final installment in the series to learn the fate of this Eleusinian cult, and to find out if a girl who can annihilate ghosts has a future with one very hot guy.—Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Rory and her friends in the Shades, London's answer to the Ghostbusters, return and regroup after defeating a spectral Jack the Ripper copycat killer at her boarding school in The Name of the Star (rev. 11/11). While not as taut and engaging as Name, this second installment in the series still offers promising developments, such as Rory's new supernatural power, gained from her near-death experience at the end of the last book. She has become a human "terminus," meaning that when she touches a ghost, it disappears for good. Hailing from a Louisiana family peppered with eccentric alleged mystics, Rory was, from the beginning, game for belief in the spirit world. Now she hesitates when her comrades try to persuade her to put her power to civic use, even as other suspicious deaths crop up to suggest that the Ripper's destruction may have simply unleashed more mayhem. Fans of the first book should be sufficiently intrigued to stick with the series and see where it goes next. christine m. heppermann

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