The Madness Underneath is the sequel to The Name of the Star and therefore this review will contain spoilers for the previous book.
Rory is stuck in Bristol following her close-call with the Ripper copycat. She can’t tell her therapist what really happened and she’d rather not be in therapy at all. She’d rather be back in London, with her friends and the people who know what really happened to her. When she tries to reach out to the ghosts of Bristol, she finds something odd and scary happening; the ghosts are vanishing. So when her therapist suddenly decides it would be beneficial to return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to go back to school.
Whilst the first book was a gripping thriller, this second instalment is much more about Rory coming to terms with her mixed feelings and anxieties and how her life has been completely turned upside-down. She’s incredibly isolated whilst her parents are trying to keep her safe, understandably for them. Yet back in London, the Shades (a supernatural ghost-busting police force, top secret, hush hush) are reluctant to let her get too involved with their work. Except that she has new found powers which they really need. So she also becomes frustrated being back in London and her schoolwork starts to suffer as well.
Of course, there is plenty of ghosty goings on and suspicious things to be investigated; it is overall a much slower and more thoughtful novel. I didn’t really believe Rory’s sudden trust in her new therapist and the quite clearly dodgy set up they had going on. She just seemed to be uncharacteristically naïve all of a sudden.
But the ending! Oh how my heart breaks. There’s something about the quietness of it all that makes so much more of an impact. It’s also a cliffhanger ending that feels like a conclusion but leaves you desperately wanting to read more. The wait will be a long one…
The Madness Underneath will be published in the US on 26th February 2013 by Penguin in hardback and ebook formats. The UK paperback edition will be available from 28th March 2013. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.