The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson, the third installment of the Shades of London series, is packed with blood-pumping action from start to finish. She knows how to invoke fear and write wit and love. Of course I am talking about Rory’s relationship with Stephen (left dead at the end of the second book in the series), and the tension builds to an almost unbearable level until, thankfully, Johnson introduces a unique twist that allows this tension to be satisfactorily released while simultaneously creating even more suspense as the book goes on.
It’s difficult to think of flaws in this novel. Despite the losses Rory is feeling as the novel goes on, it is never overwhelming for the reader to be alongside Rory as she experiences the emotional rollercoaster that is love, loss, and fear. Neither is it boring. This book is a definite page-turner, certain to keep you up and night and from working on any assignments you might have.
Freddie was a wonderful addition to the gang. We see less of some old favourites, such as Jazz and Alistair, but I think everyone may have felt that it was time to move on from that aspect of Rory’s story. It certainly didn’t feel as if there was anyone missing. Maureen eloquently refocused the narrative on the core group of characters that mattered most to the story at present in an incredibly satisfying way. The introduction of two super-villains, Sid and Sadie, has upped the ante and will be sure to leave the reader on the edge of their seat. However, as scary as Rory’s world is, I find myself wanting to be a part of it. The writing is so descriptive, the surroundings and characters so vivid, that I feel a sort of absence now that I have finished the novel. I can only wait eagerly for the next instalment, biting my nails all the while as I try to figure out where Rory, Stephen and the gang are headed next, but of course the mind of Maureen is a unique one and we’ll never know what she has planned until she tells us.
All-in-all, The Shadow Cabinet has me longing for a movie series. The plot has gone in directions that I never could have pictured and would be amazing on the big screen. Best reading experience of 2015 thus far.
-Ember Book Reviews xxoo
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