Minor Minor spoilers in this review.
The Madness Underneath was a meat grinder for my emotions. STEPHEN! NO! I LOVED YOU SO MUCH! HOW COULD YOU LEAVE ME?
Well… errr.. I kind of knew you, and you were nice. And Rory did have that connection with you… so… was it actually real teen fiction forever love? Was it? Tell me Maureen Johnson you destroyer of dreams and murderer of hearts!
The Shadow Cabinet picked up right where Madness left off. Our Shades are completely in shock from the loss of Stephen, their leader, the quiet and dignified glue that binds them all together. Rory believes that she can bring Stephen back as a ghost, which causes the team to fracture. Boo is for it, Callum is not. But Rory does something. Leading to the first phase of the book. THE SEARCH FOR STEPHEN’S GHOST!
What I really liked about this book was how relationship driven it was. The reader learns more about Stephen now that he’s gone than they ever did when he was running around London. You see just how important he was to everyone. Thorpe undergoes some characterization in this novel too. With Stephen gone he steps into the role of leader instead of just being a benevolent government agent.
Even though there is focus on these relationships, they never overpower the plot. At no point does the plot get put on hold for the sake of character development. Which is nice because it gives Shadow Cabinet a good flow and I was never felt bored.
THE VILLAINS! In Madness we had Jane, who was introduced at the beginning of the book as a possible help to Rory, but revealed at the end to run a psychedelic cult (any chance to use the word psychedelic and I’m on it). At the beginning of Shadow we find out that Jane is just a henchman and serves our actual big bad. Sid and Sadie are twins who were pretty prominent in many mystical hippie circles. Johnson describes them as being calm, collected and ethereal. It turns out that they’re in some magical coma, and Jane’s goal is to wake them from it. What do these two want to do if they wake up? I don’t know, but I really want to find out. I’m more interested in their end goal than Sid and Sadie as characters. I can see how someone could find them creepy, but to me they were a little one sided, and bogged down with awkward dialogue. The Resurrection Man that Rory runs into had more of a creep factor for me.
Overall I really enjoyed The Shadow Cabinet and thought it was an improvement on the previous book in the series. I’m really excited to see where Maureen Johnson takes the story in the next book. I just hope we don’t have a long wait till we find out how everything ends.
So if you want to know more about my thoughts on this novel check out our vlog review!