The Shadow Cabinet
Author: Maureen Johnson
Release: February 10th 2015
Genre: Paranormal, Ghosts, Mystery, YA
#3 in the Shades of London quartet
Series: The Name of the Star (#1), The Madness Underneath (#2), Untitled (#4)
Rory and her friends are reeling from a series of sudden and tragic events. While racked with grief, Rory tries to determine if she acted in time to save a member of the squad. If she did, how do you find a ghost? Also, Rory’s classmate Charlotte has been kidnapped by Jane and her nefarious organization. Evidence is uncovered of a forty-year-old cult, ten missing teenagers, and a likely mass murder. Everything indicates that Charlotte’s in danger, and it seems that something much bigger and much more terrible is coming.
Time is running out as Rory fights to find her friends and the ghost squad struggles to stop Jane from unleashing her spectral nightmare on the entire city. In the process, they'll discover the existence of an organization that underpins London itself—and Rory will learn that someone she trusts has been keeping a tremendous secret.
I kind of really, really love this series. The concept might not be that unique, but the execution is and the characters simply stand out so much, and they're all so likable.
Seriously, especially Rory's narration is so peppered with all of her own quirks and spleens, which make her so much more endearing to me as the reader. I'm pretty sure that this narrating style could also quickly go down the other cliff and come across as annoying, but personally, I loved it.
The other main characters also have something about them that make them memorable and give them life, so that in the end, this story feels like it's about real people. The premise may be as absurd as can be, but the people involved are solid.
At this point, it's important to mention that the interweaving relationships are interesting, too. Friendships, romances, both past and present, as well as how the relationship might turn out between authority figures and "bosses" so to speak. It's all there, and it's executed so wonderfully. It's never a big part of the book — the focus is most definitely on the plot, and always has been throughout the series — but there might be a glance here or a word there that brings it all across so well. Especially Stephen and Rory's romance is so freaking well written, they're seriously one of my all time favorite couples now. They just work so well together.
As for the plot, well, let me just say that I read this within a single day. It was fast paced, and Johnson drops subtle hints every now and then so that I was literally dying to know what happens next. Seriously, I haven't been this engrossed in a book in some time. I was tempted to skip ahead every now and then, just to break the tension. But in the end, that's the best thing about this novel, the undercurrent of urgency that stretches across the whole book, the needing to know and being invested into every character's feelings and thoughts, hanging on to every single word. So, so good.
I'm so damn happy that there's a fourth book, because I am dying for more. And it doesn't feel like it's going to be some sort of page filler either, because that cliffhanger was horrible and needs to be resolved ASAP. I cannot wait for the next book.