Bunnies: Kevan Atteberry
Growing Bookworms Newsletter: March 25

The Shadow Cabinet (The Shades of London): Maureen Johnson

Book: The Shadow Cabinet (The Shades of London series, Book 3)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Pages: 384
Age Range: 12 and up

For some reason, I thought that The Shadow Cabinet was the conclusion to Maureen Johnson's Shade of London series. Just so you know, it's not. Which is great in that there will be at least one more book in this intriguing, atmospheric series. There will be spoilers in this review for books 1 and 2. If you haven't read them, I'll just tell you that they are ghost stories with some historical references set in modern-day London, and featuring a teenage girl from Louisiana who becomes involves with an unusual investigative squad. They are both fun, suspenseful, and in parts, seriously creepy. 

Apart from a brief flashback scene, The Shadow Cabinet begins immediately following the events of Book 2, The Madness Underneath. Rory and the rest of the squad are searching for the ghost of Stephen, who died from injuries sustained rescuing Rory from a crazy woman named Jane. A fellow student of Rory's, Charlotte, is still missing, presumably in Jane's company. Rory is in hiding, guilty about and grieving for Stephen, but determined to help make things better. Adventures, with mortals and ghosts, follow. 

A new character is introduced in The Shadow Cabinet, a geeky girl named Freddie who loves to do research, and a past character, Rory's ex-boyfriend Jerome, makes a reappearance. The world building that Johnson demonstrates re: Rory's ghost-filled London is quite strong. The supernatural aspects are conveyed in almost a matter-of-fact way, such that one might almost believe that The Shades of London are real. But my favorite aspect of this series remains Rory's voice. She can be humorous, like this:

"England is strange in many ways, and one of those ways is that they leave things like Stonehenge sitting at the side of the road. I think I expected something more like Disneyland, with all kinds of buildings nearby, and maybe a waterslide called Druid Dunk! or something. Maybe I thought it would be larger, or behind a wall. No. It was just there, in the field." (Page 193)

But also raw and honest, like this:

"W wave hit me--an agony so profound it was exquisite. It stopped my heart and took my air and made the floor feel like it was falling away. Nope. Nope, nope, nope. Feelings denied. I had to be fine for him, and therefore I would be fine. This was an order." (Page 55)

Even the various little chatty bits in which Rory tells quirky stories about her Louisiana hometown didn't bother me, despite interrupting the flow of the plot a bit, because I just like hearing her talk. I listened to Book 2, actually, which helped me in "hearing" Book 3 in my head.

I hesitate to say more, because you should go into this without too much knowledge about the plot. I'll just say that fans of the series will definitely not want to miss The Shadow Cabinet. Though larger plot (and relationship) questions are left for the next book, enough things are resolved in this book to satisfy readers. But oh, how I am curious about what will happen next! Recommended for anyone who enjoys ghost stories, particularly if they like them with just a splash of humor. But read Books 1 and 2 first. 

Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons (@PenguinTeen) 
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2015 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).