The Madness Underneath By Maureen Johnson

Title: The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2)

Author: Maureen Johnson

First Published: 26th February 2013

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books

Blurb:

When madness stalks the streets of London, no one is safe…

There’s a creepy new terror haunting modern-day London.
Fresh from defeating a Jack the Ripper killer, Rory must put her new-found hunting skills to the test before all hell breaks loose…

But enemies are not always who you expect them to be and crazy times call for crazy solutions. (From Goodreads, 25th May 2014)

Review:

After enjoying ‘The Name of the Star’ as much as I did I was excited to jump into ‘The Madness Underneath’. I was excited as I thought this second novel was going to be even more enjoyable because it concerned mental health patients…unfortunately such characters did not appear often or really play any central role. The excitement of the chase that was so strong in ‘The Name of the Star’ was lost and we are left reading a teen romance. I was disappointed. I was expecting ‘The Madness Underneath’ to be even more action packed than ‘The Name of the Star’ since it was the second in the series and we know the characters, their gifts, and I expected a fast paced sequel.

However, once I neared the end of the novel we returned to the gripping, thrilling writing by Maureen Johnson that we see in ‘The Name of the Star’. Soon I was at the end, mouth wide, eyes wide and breathless. Frantically I put my computer on and searched for the release date of the third novel in this series…then comes tears. So long to wait. Another book whose release date keeps getting pushed back. My advice – wait until the third book is released and marathon all three novels.

Okay, so by itself ‘The Madness Underneath’ gets 2 out of 5. However, as a series I place this as a 4 out of 5…but that may change once ‘The Shadow Cabinet’ is released and I can see if it rectifies the failings in this second Shades of London book.

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The Name of the Star By Maureen Johnson

Title: The Name of the Star

Author: Maureen Johnson

First Published: 29th September 2011

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books

Blurb:

The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago. Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him–the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities. (From Goodreads, 12th May 2014).

Review:

I absolutely loved this book! First it is set in London. Second it combines history with supernatural elements! And for me this just was wonderful!

Rory is in a new country, at a new school, away from her family and there is murders happening on her schools door step. Soon Rory becomes entangled in the murders after seeing the murderer, and becoming the next target. Life becomes more than high school for Rory as she is thrust into a world she never knew about. Ghost, murders, secret police, and some romance in there as well.

The premise of this novel was fantastic and I was gripped as soon as I started. The novel was fast paced and kept you wanting more. A ‘one more chapter…’ type off book.

‘The Name of the Star’ is a novel I would recommend to individuals who enjoy murder mysteries, combined with some teen angst and supernatural elements. A novel for those who enjoy something a bit different. Although I really enjoyed this novel, I can’t imagine many adults taking to it, however, young adults and teens should love this series. One that I will be recommending to my younger sister.

4.5 out of 5

The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman

   This was the first Neil Gaiman book I read thanks to an Amazon Daily Kindle Deal last December. It made me find out more about Neil Gaiman and that I had actually seen two of the films of his books – Stardust and Coraline – which I both enjoyed. And this novel was better than the films I had seen! I love his macabre style and the bizarreness that seemed so ‘normal’ in ‘The Graveyard Book’.

I have read in a few places that ‘The Graveyard Book’ was heavily influenced by Richard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’ or other comparing it to that – often saying ‘The Jungle Book with ghosts and ghouls’. I would say that the idea of a boy growing up with those different from himself is the main comparison. I don’t want to say more about this as I haven’t investigated it further.

Nobody Owens (‘Bod) is brought up by the ghosts of the Graveyard, though he is living, he is protected by them and can see both the world of the dead and the world of the living. This confusing station means he is given a guardian – Silas – a peculiar character who is not dead, yet not wholly alive. Silas is a mysterious character, drifting in and our, but around for pivotal points of ‘Bods life.

‘Bods family are killed by yet another mysterious character – Jack – and as ‘Bod grows older is protection from within the graveyard weakens. Why was his family killed? What does Silas know about the murderous Jack? What danger lurks out in the world of the living that ‘Bod has been protected from? Can Silas help ‘Bod? Or must ‘Bod work things out for himself?

A beautiful macabre novel for children, young adults and adults alike. A book with ghosts and ghouls. Murder. Mystery. Loneliness. Friendship. Adventure and much much more!

Don’t be put of because this is described as a Children’s book! Trust me you will enjoy it. I also think it was a good starting book for me in my introduction to Neil Gaiman. As I have also read his ‘Neverwhere’ which was very peculiar and different indeed! Neil Gaiman is a talented writer and I urge anyone to read his books. Including ‘The Graveyard Books’ as a must!

One thing I would like to see is a book about Silas. About his journey’s, his past. Silas was the most layered character in the book and I think I would like to see more of him – if there is more of him let me know!

Overall 4.75 out of 5