Review: The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2) by Maureen Johnson

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the madness underneathTitle: The Madness Underneath
Series: Shades of London, #2
Author:
Maureen Johnson
Genre: YA Supernatural
Source: Gifted (Signed Hardcover)

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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. A thrilling teen mystery.

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So I’m kind of in love with Maureen Johnson. She has such a wide range of stories that I never know what she’s going to come up with next! I had actually started reading her stories with her Shades of London series and loved the characters so much that I had to see what other characters she had come up with. The great thing about Maureen is that even though she’s writing horror, she works in humour and other elements as well. Makes for a very enjoyable read!

While I loved the first book in this series, The Name of the Star, I have to say that this one was lacking just a little something. It might have been due to the fact that the main character, Rory, isn’t in school for a lot of the story, therefore not around characters like Jazza and Jerome, or maybe the scares just aren’t there as much as they were in the first book. Still, this was a fun installment, full of some scares and creepy settings.

One thing I really disliked with this story was how in The Name of the Star, we’re given a resolution at the end, with an opening for another story in the series. This one ends by setting up the next story — with really no resolution. To me, the story just didn’t seem finished, especially since I started reading it after finishing the first book, thinking how great it was that each book would be a story all on its own, rather than a set-up story. Boy, was I wrong! I almost wish that I had held off a little longer, reading this one when the third book was available because cliffhangers like this one suck.

Maureen Johnson is still tops in my books when it comes to awesome YA authors, so I’m still super excited to see where this series goes next with The Shadow Cabinet. There was still plenty of unexpected moments, which was great, but I kind of wish that the boarding school had more prominence in this story. Still, I do love the London atmosphere and the creepy elements that Maureen worked into the setting.

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Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

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the replacementTitle: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Date(s) read: April 9 – 10, 2013
Genre: YA Supernatural
Source: Purchased (Paperback)

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Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

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The Replacement is one of those books that has been on my radar for quite some time, mainly because of its uber-creepy cover. I mean, a baby carriage with scissors and other dangerous objects hanging over it? How creepy is that?

One thing I love about Brenna Yovanoff’s writing is that her stories could be like the typical paranormal or supernatural stories that are out there, but they’re also so different. Just like the last story of hers I read, The Space Between, this one deals with demons and the devil, with the main focus being on these “replacements” — creatures that are put in the place of small children after the children are stolen. Normally, these creatures die, but in some cases, they live.

I really loved Mackie’s character, although it did take me a few pages until I found out that Mackie was a boy. I guess I’m not that used to reading books with male narrators! It was definitely a refreshing change and I really liked the story told from his point of view. He seemed confused and a little out of place, but he was still a boy had all those “boy” feelings, but I liked that he was never a jerk or too cocky about it. I also really loved Tate’s character, even if she was a little too demanding at times. I felt like there were times when she’d rather others do her dirty work while she dictates the terms, instead of getting her hands dirty herself.

I also really liked how different this story was. There were so many things going on in it, especially the theme of just being different — it’s especially dark in that sense, seeing as these “replacements” happen more often than not and more people can’t accept them. Not only is there the feeling of being different and not belonging, but love — and not even love between a boy and a girl, but familial love and sibling love. It was very powerful!

Another thing I really love about Brenna’s writing is her worlds. They’re not quite like the world we live in today, but there’s something dark and mysterious about them. It’s like seeing a world in full colour, but that one colour has something peculiar about them, like something you see that’s usually red has a greyish tinge to it — there’s just something “off” about it, and that’s a nice thing.

While I did love this story, I wouldn’t say that it hooked me as much as The Space Between did, though I am still very interested in Brenna’s writing. I think her writing is unique and able to draw in its readers with quirkiness, mystery, and romance. I think she’s an author to watch.

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Review: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3) by Cassandra Clare

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clockwork princessTitle: Clockwork Princess
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices, #3
Date(s) read: March 20 – 24, 2013
Genre: YA Steampunk
Source: Purchased (Hardcover)

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Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Tessa Gray should be happy – aren’t all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa’s heart, will do anything to save her.

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First things first, I am SO sad that this series is over. While I may have my issues with the continuing of the Mortal Instruments series, the Infernal Devices series was one that I was addicted to right from the start, with a world that I wish would never end.

Unfortunately, series books DO need to end after a while and the way an author handles that ending can be good or bad. For me, this series ended on kind of a lukewarm note for me. I really loved the story itself and was interested to see how all of these characters came together in the end, how they eventually connected with the character in the Mortal Instruments series, but the ending seemed to be a little too … happy for me.

I get that authors like to make EVERYONE happy, and I know I’ve complained about this NOT happening in the past, but part of me wished that the ending had been a bit messier. Of course, I’m not going to talk about WHAT the ending was, but the whole thing was just a little too neat for me.

I still loved Tessa’s character in this story, even if I wasn’t too keen on her choices. I felt like Will had some of the best speeches in the story — enough to rip my heart to pieces. And even Jem’s story was intriguing. The hard thing about writing this review is that there are things that happened that I completely disagreed with, but that I can’t talk about in this review because I’d ruin the story. I guess it all comes down to wanting to make everyone happy — it just doesn’t have to happen all the time.

I still think that this was a great series and it’s one that will stick with me for a long while. Cassandra Clare is a wonderful writing and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with in the future. Steampunk seems to be something she’s good at, but I do hope that she tries her hand at a different genre at some point. I think she’d be great at it.

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