30 January 2017

REVIEW: The Shadow Cabinet

THE SHADOW CABINET
by Maureen Johnson


Pages: 374, paperback
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: 5th February 2015
ISBN: 1471401804
Received From:  Hot Key Books


Summary 

Grieving, shaken, and feeling very much alone, Rory's life as a member of the Shades of London has changed irrevocably. It's only been a matter of hours since Stephen was taken from her, possibly for ever. Her classmate Charlotte is still missing, kidnapped by the same people who tried to take Rory. Rory is no longer a schoolgirl haplessly involved in the dealings of a secret government unit. She is their weapon in a matter of life and death. 
With hardly a moment to think for herself, Rory is back to work. Charlotte must be found -- as must Stephen, if he is even out there. Lines must be drawn and forces rallied. Something is brewing under London, something bigger and much more dangerous than what has come before. The Shadow Cabinet holds the key to everything, and it is up to Rory to unravel its mysteries before time runs out... 

Review

**Spoilers if you haven't read the second book**

I started this series when I was still in college about five years ago now and I remember being terrified! The ghosts that haunted the streets of London literally were the thing of nightmare so when the second book came out, The Madness Underneath, I was hooked instantly. The ghosts may not have been quite as terrifying as the Ripper, who had made me cringe, but they were still scary. However, the reason I loved book two so much was that we go more of our all seeing ghost busting team! Saying that the ending of the second instillment broke me and when Hot Keys sent me the third book I couldn't bring myself to read it. With Stephen dead I didn't know if I really wanted to read on but after almost two years I finally picked The Shadow Cabinet off the shelf and started reading.

The Shadow Cabinet continues where we left on in The Madness Underneath. Stephen has just died, Charlotte is missing and the whole of London is on the hunt for Rory. This instalment of The Shades of London sees the team tackle the ghosts of their pasts and opens up a whole new world with the introduction of Sid and Sadie. These two gruesome characters are the reason behind Jane's madness and why she's so desperate to get hold of Rory. With ghosts old and new and a vital member of the team gone will this ghost busting team make it to the end of the book? Only one way to find out. 

"
"We see people come back all the time," I said.
"No. We see people who didn't leave. There's a big difference.""


Much like The Madness Underneath the ghost element that had scared and entranced me so much with The Name of the Star was missing and I was a little disappointed. Yes, there were ghosts and odd moments that felt like it was drawing on the foundations of the original book (especially in the second half) but it was mostly focused on one thing... Jane. In the second book Jane kidnapped Rory's 'friend' Charlotte and at the start of this book the hunt is on to find her. The whole story felt more about the people rather than the ghost to me and without Stephen and Rory and Callum not talking it really didn't grip my attention the way I hoped. 



There were new elements introduced to the series however, with more information into Jane's background, all things occult and a little firecracker named Freddie who tries to integrate into the ghost hunting team. Although With Stephen gone its not exactly the best timing at I can totally see why Callum doesn't approve as it feels a bit like they are trying to replace Stephen. The story line as a whole is good although it may not have been all I hoped for it still kept me interested and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. 




I'll admit the first part dragged on a bit but I love the series so much and I stuck with it and I'm glad I did. The second half was much more like the Shades of London books we've come to know and love and if you haven't yet read it I would recommend it. I won't say too much else as I don't want to give the game away but when book 4 is realised (as far as I know there isn't a title yet, but I will keep you posted) I will be reading it. Although unlike with the others I think I'll be reading more out of curiosity than seer excitement. Worth a read if you haven't already, as I do have high praise for the rest of the series. 


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