Series Review: Shades of London by Maureen Johnson

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book4

Series: Shades of London
Author: Maureen Johnson
# of Books: 4 (The Name of the Star, The Madness Underneath, The Shadow Cabinet, Book 4)

There is a prequel novella called The Boy in the Smoke

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 4 will be published in 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Ghosts, Supernatural, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: October 2012 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: I did not finish reading The Madness Underneath when I published this review. Find out why below…

I read The Name of the Star for two reasons: 1) I loved the eBook cover (the one when it first came out) and 2) I hadn’t read anything about ghosts in a long time, if ever. Normally, I prefer to read romance or action novels–I don’t really enjoy ‘scary’ movies but I LOVE thrillers and this book sounded like an episode of Criminal Minds (one of my favourite TV shows) but with a supernatural twist.

Unfortunately, The Name of the Star didn’t do much for me. I didn’t really like Rory as a character and I had a hard time convincing myself to like her. I just didn’t like how she acted–I think some people might label it “quirky’; I would label it “quacky” because I thought she was very odd. I’m not sure if it is the writing style as it is a novel set in the UK and I most books I read that are set there tend to have a slower pace to them but it didn’t do much for me. But I was hooked into the mystery so I continued to read–and I’m glad I did because I liked the ending and solution to the mystery all things considered.

However: I had no interest in reading the sequel. But what happens at the very end of the novel–plus the connection I thought I saw between Rory and another character–kept my interest enough to see what the sequel was all about.

Unfortunately, The Madness Underneath fell (no pun intended) into the classic Book 2 of a Trilogy Slump. I was halfway through the book when I had to ask myself: what the hell is the plot? Honestly, halfway through the book the “mystery” (the “creepy new terror haunting modern-day London”) is never mentioned. Instead, we get to listen to an angsty Rory as she tries to navigate her teenaged life–which is not my cup of tea in any book and especially in this series where I’m not a huge fan of Rory. It would have been ok if the other characters we meet were involved but Rory pretty much flies solo for most of the book.

I was 40% of the way through The Madness Underneath when I decided to stop reading it. I read in other reviews that the ending is very exciting but in my opinion it was too little too late. I decided to sleep on it and see if I changed my mind but I decided I really didn’t care (because nothing had really started by that point) and I could live with not knowing considering I had live without reading The Madness Underneath for two years. I just didn’t want to be committed to another book if I did like the ending. I have better series to read from the library so I am officially putting this one to rest.

Series Rating: 2.5/5

The Name of the Star 3/5 | The Madness Underneath DNF | The Shadow Cabinet N/A | Book 4 N/A

overall

While I personally didn’t enjoy this story, I quite a few people will like the supernatural/paranormal spin of it. If you like slower series with books dedicated to personal character development then this series is for you. But if you are like me and like having multiple plotlines or faster plotlines with lots of twists and action, you won’t enjoy this series so stay away!

similarreads

  • Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
  • Hereafter by Tess Hudson (Hereafter Trilogy #1)

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Name of the Star (from Goodreads):
Jack the Ripper is back,
and he’s coming for Rory next….
Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed 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…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

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