Audio Book Review: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Not as good as its predecessor but still an amazing story and narrator.

Book CWs

  • Character death
  • Murder
  • Suicide
  • Occult
  • Kidnapping

Premise

Aurora (Rory) Deveaux was attacked by a Jack The Ripper copycat and survived. Unable to actually explain what happened to her and removed from school, Rory finds herself feeling overwhelmingly lonely. But something amazing happens: Rory’s therapist convinces her parents to let her return to Wexford, where she is welcomed back with open arms.

Everything seems to be going exactly as Rory had wanted, well, except for:

  1. She has become a human terminus and is now the Shades only weapon.
  2. Her friends are becoming more and more distant as her lies begin to pile up.
  3. She is failing all of her classes.
  4. People around the city are suddenly dropping dead.

Review (No Spoilers)

If you’ve read my review for the previous book in the series then you already know that I love Nicola Barber. She does a good job with pauses, intonation, and accents and make you really feel like you’re in the story. Unfortunately, because I was so obsessed with her narration of The Name of the Star, I was quite annoyed when I discovered that she changed some of her voices.

I imagine that some of these were made on purpose after getting feedback on her work and I am grateful for her aiming to get better. There were, however, some changes that seemed to just be from her forgetting what the character sounded like.

For example, there is a character who has an accent where words like “anything” come out as “anyfink”. Nicola kept this in mind every time she voiced the character in The Name of the Star but for some reason in The Madness Underneath, the character suddenly says “anything”, well, exactly like “anything”. Some other characters had slight voice changes but nothing stood out to me as much as that change.

The actually story in The Madness Underneath is pretty different from its predecessor but still very interesting. Instead of revolving around a murderer terrorizing London, the main focus is on Rory and how she’s trying to overcome her trauma. I would say that it’s less scary and more of a psychological thriller type of book.

The characters in the book are pretty darn lovable. Surprisingly, I’d say my least favorite character right now is actually Rory because she is really good at unnecessarily pushing people away and I want to hold on to the wonderful side characters as much as possible.

I am 100% going to download the audiobook for The Shadow Cabinet (book #3 in the series). I just have to set up my audible account first. Stay tuned for that audiobook review!

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