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Thursday, May 28, 2015

New "Ghost Squad" Novel Full of Surprises

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for The Shadow Cabinet, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from previous Shades of London novels.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

When Stephen Dene dies, Rory Deveaux doesn't think.  She just acts.  As a human terminus, the American teen has the power—well, she's pretty sure she has the power—to save a dying person.  Not to bring him back to life, but to turn him into a ghost.  It's a desperate action, the only way Rory can keep the man she loves in her life.  The question is:  did it work?  If Stephen is one of the many spirits who wander the streets of London, why can't she find him?  And, what if her plan failed?  How will Rory live with her grief and guilt if Stephen is really, truly gone?

While keeping an eye out for Stephen, Rory and the other supernatural detectives have another problem.  Charlotte, Rory's boarding school classmate, is missing.  She was last seen in the company of Jane Quaint, her therapist.  As Rory has come to realize, Quaint is more than just a psychiatrist.  Also a possessor of "the sight," she recruits teens who are likewise gifted into what Rory suspects is a cult.  The group may, in fact, be responsible for a number of deaths.  Whatever power Jane may possess, though, pales in comparison to that of a dangerous pair of ghosts recently arrived in London.  It's up to Rory and her team to stop them all from hurting anyone else.  Can the "ghost squad" stop Jane and her cohorts before it's too late?  Or will they, like Stephen, go missing in action?

I've loved Maureen Johnson's Shades of London series since it began (with The Name of the Star).  It's not the most original YA supernatural series out there, but it's one of the only ones that combines all of my favorite things—intriguing characters, an atmospheric setting, vivid prose, and pulse-pounding action—in one elongated story line.  Each of the books brings something new to the table, which keeps me anxious for sequels.  Since The Madness Underneath ended in such a torturous cliffhanger, it felt like I waited a decade for The Shadow Cabinet to come out.  This third book in the series begins where the last one left off, answering the question of Stephen's fate, while adding in lots of new thrills.  Like its predecessors, The Shadow Cabinet is a perfect blend of creepy and funny.  It's compelling, thrilling, and satisfying.  My only complaint is that I now have to wait another decade for the fourth and final book in the series.  Waaahhh!

(Readalikes:  The Name of the Star and The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, scary images, depictions of illegal drug use, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Shadow Cabinet from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.  


  1. I'm avoiding your review because I haven't started this series yet, but I want to. However, I wanted to check with you - you won the copy of One Plus One I was giving away on my blog, but I didn't get a reply. If you'll send your address to toadacious1 at yahoo dot com - I'll have the book sent your way!

  2. I read the first book quite some time ago and haven't read the 2nd or now the 3rd. I think I might need to reread the beginning so I can remember what happened. Thanks for reminding me. I really like #1.


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