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Review: The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson


Let me start this review off by saying that I LOVED The Name of the Star. It was the first book I had ever read of Maureen Johnson’s and I fell in love.  It was my 8th favorite book from 2011 (8th out of 92). So that’s saying a lot. I was eagerly anticipating the follow-up and I felt like I had to wait forever for it to come out. When I saw it was available from NetGalley I jumped at it, and tore right in. I’m sad to say I was pretty disappointed. 

It’s not a bad book, and trust, I’ve read some pretty bad books.  It just wasn’t as good as the first book, and I was actually annoyed for much of it. I think my main problem was with Rory. She spent most of book trying to get over what had occurred in the first book. She was dealing with some PTSD issues and that’s totally understandable, but at some point as a reader I just wanted her to get over it. It was frustrating to see such a strong character from the previous book to completely fall apart for an entire book. For the first half, I could probably handle that, but the whole thing? No. The other thing I HATED was the end. I don’t want to get too spoilery, but something very bad happens to one of the major characters, and I was actually pretty angry about it. I’m curious to see where the story goes, but I can’t see where I’m going to be happy with the outcome or not find it completely ridiculous. 

There were some positives in the book for me. I thought it was really well written.  I still haven’t gotten a chance to read any of the author’s other works, but if it’s as well written as this, than I’m sure I’ll love it. Another positive is the pacing of the book. A book that has bad pacing is always going to be killer for me. The characters remain strongly written, although I don’t really think I learned anything new about anyone from the previous books. 

Bottom Line:  I was disappointed, but I'll still read the next book in the series just to see where it goes. I have to trust that the author will not disappoint in the end. 

3 ½ footballs out of 5


  1. Nice review! This is the second review I've read on the book. And you said some of the same things as the last reviewer, mainly that this one is not living up to the first book. It's kind of disappointing to hear--espeically since I was rejected in getting an egalley at Netgalley--but I still intend to read it! Still curious to see how Rory picks herself back up, but it sounds like it might take her awhile from what you said! ;)

    Still, very nice review! My copy is already preordered and I can only hope that B&N ships it ASAP tomorrow--unlikely, but a girl can hope!

  2. Did you pick up the first one as an ebook yesterday? It was $2.99.

  3. I'm hesitant to start this book, didn't quite love the first one... So maybe I'll check it out.

  4. Thank you for your great and honest review. I have never heard of this author and I may read this book.