11) The Madness Underneath

Book Two of The Shades of London

By: Maureen Johnson

Date Finished: 04.05.14

by Maureen Johnson

“I definitely do not think,” I said.  And that was the truest thing I’d said in a long time.

Life is always going to be a series of ouch-making moments, and the question was, was I going to go all fetal position, or was I going to woman up?  I went into the fetal position on the bed to think about this.

The Rippermania surrounding London and Rory’s school in particular has died down, but Rory is still sequestered with her parents in Bristol.  There she is subjected to therapy sessions where she simply cannot disclose most of what happened even if she felt like pouring out her soul to a clinical stranger.  Then, without warning, her therapist recommends Rory return to her school in London and resume her previous life.  Her first night back, Rory learns she was brought back for a purpose as a new string of inexpiable murders have popped up.

I’m really not sure if I can talk rationally about this series even some weeks later.  Reading this book, I realized how much Rory and I have in common — not our personalities per-say, but our overactive imaginations definitely.  If my life went spiraling on some insane, possibly supernatural adventure, my narrator voice would sound similar to hers.  PLUS I have an irrational love for Stephen.  PLUS I do identify personality-wise with Jazza.  PLUS it’s full of that great Maureen Johnson sass, hi-jinks, and awkwardness spread among phenomenal characters.  How could I not swoon?

Now to say that she ended this on a cliffhanger is to define understatement.  It’s yet another reminder of why I don’t like to start a series until all the books are out, but it took me long enough to get my hands on a copy I simply refused to pass up the opportunity to read it.  This is a good book to read with a nighttime ambiance, but I finished in the middle of the day, incongruous to the atmosphere of the book (and my soul).  My immediate reaction was to wallow in sorrow on the couch, but there were birds singing outside my window, rudely interrupting my anguish with their cheerfulness.  Because of them, I sang Skeeter Davis’ “The End of the World” for the rest of the day.

Okay, okay, I complain about a broken heart, but in actuality, it was AWESOME.  It was a brilliant, perfect ending because SHE WENT THERE.  In an effort to be spoiler-free, let me just say that the rules of Johnson’s world are not as stringent as our own.  There is a very viable THING THAT CAN HAPPEN that cannot reasonably happen in most other books.  She opened the door in the first book — which was a gorgeous moment that I still fangirl over 14 months later — but she didn’t go through.  This time she did.  Honestly, I would have been disappointed if it hadn’t happened to someone.  Am I happy about who it happened to or how?  As a human, no.  As a reader, absolutely — it’s so much more devastating this way.

So, there you have it.  As calm and cohesive as I can manage.  If you haven’t read The Name of the Starjust pop on over to your local library and check it out.  I’ll be here when you come back.

At the end of the day: Really, really, really for me

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