The Madness Underneath: Shades of London, Book 2

By . 7 CDs. 7:52 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4418-6643-1. $54.97.
Gr 7 Up—In Johnson's sequel (2013) to The Name of the Star (2011, both Putnam), Rory is still recovering from an attack by the murderous Ripper and trying to reconnect with her friends and school life. But she can't seem to get back on track and is drawn to her old relationships with the Shades, the city's secret ghost-fighting police, and especially to Stephen who seems more distant and colder than ever. When she discovers that she has become a terminus, perhaps the only one remaining and thus of great value to those who want to help ghosts leave this world permanently, she knows that her life will never be the same. Nicola Barber easily moves between Rory's exaggerated Southern drawl (used to charm and befuddle classmates, teachers, and anyone else she needs to con) and her sincere adult voice as narrator and co-conspirator to the Shades. She also skillfully deals with a large supporting cast, individualizing each character's voice and intentions, including would-be boyfriend Jerome, roommates, teachers, a Scottish therapist, a confused mad man charged with murder, and a friendly counselor whose intentions are not what they seem. Listeners will be drawn into Rory's confusion and frustration as she tries to decide whom she can trust and what her role should be. The cliff-hanging conclusion, with friends in danger and much unresolved, will leave fans eagerly awaiting the next installment.—Edie Ching, University of Maryland, College Park

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