The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read nearly 3/4 of this book curled up in my easy chair while the kids napped, snow falling softly outside. It is rare that I get that much peace and quiet anymore, so I roared through the book, wanting to finish it before the twins awoke and shattered the peace.
Therefore, any nitpicks I have about anything in the book feeling rushed are no doubt of my own doing, as I manically flipped pages, wanting to find out what happened to Rory and the rest of the gang. When the series is over, I look forward to reading all the books again, and savoring them a bit more.
Needless to say, I loved this book. Definitely my favorite novel to date this year. I am sure Johnson's Shade of London series isn't for everyone, but I've fallen for American-based Rory, a transplant in London, who can now see ghosts. It sounds preposterous, but Johnson has made it work- and work well- in all three novels so far. I love Rory, I love her character, and I love the group of people she's come to surround herself in London - far away from the home she knows in New Orleans.
*spoilers if you haven't read the first two books - which you should, immediately!*
In book three, Rory is dealing with the grief of losing Stephen, as the team frantically tries to find his ghost. They are also trying to find her prefect, Charlotte, who was kidnapped by Rory's therapist, Jane. We learn more about Jane and her past involvement in an ancient cult and a likely string of murders. It all involves a much bigger plot involving London's ability to harness its dead, and the existence of a murky, rumored government organization who polices ghosts.
We also meet a new character in this novel, Freddie (a girl), who is quite bright, but of whom I still remain suspicious - silly, perhaps, but it's so hard to trust new people coming into the gang. We see more of Jerome, which is nice, and Boo and Callum, of course. There's actually less focus on actual ghosts than you'd think and more on some big conspiracies, but it all works, really well. The camaraderie of the team, and the way Johnson voices Rory is just lovely, and the book reads so well. Even what should be a crazy plot is made readable and believable through the lens of these developed characters.
As always, I'm left a bit bereft, waiting for the next book. (And, for the record, I finished the last few pages right before the twins woke up. I feel like that's fate, right?)
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