Feb 8, 2016

Review--The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

The thrilling third installment to the Edgar-nominated, bestselling series.

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 just finished Maureen Johnson’s The Shadow Cabinet and I’m left with more than a few puzzling questions! I initially thought this book was a trilogy, but the way this one ended…there just has to be another one!! There were way too many loose-ends and there’s still that unsettling feeling I have with the characters. Nothing seemed resolved in a way that everyone can live happily ever after…or not. So I am just hoping Goodreads is correct in that there is a book 4 in this series, but that’s all they have to tell me, no title, no potential release date…nothing.

But anyway, The Shadow Cabinet really amps up the mystery and puzzles in this series, though I was sad at the lack of ghosts. Maybe it was because in book 1 we started with a murderous ghost on a rampage and in book 2 we had a few ghosts about being naughty, I had hopes to see more ghosties in this one. While we did see one or two on occasion, it wasn’t as in depth as I could hope for.

Rory, Boo, and Callum spend a great deal of time looking for Stephen in this book. If you’ve read The Madness Underneath, then you remember that chilling and epic ending we got, trying to find Stephen is important. But they can’t find him. I think this is where the book drags for awhile, as we don’t see Stephen until the last quarter of the book. And even then, it was in a really weird way. A good chunk of the last quarter of the book was hard to decipher. Things didn’t feel real or true, and while it was in part intriguing to read the book as such, it did make it complicated to comprehend at times as well.

In this one, we at least get a new character, Freddie! Freddie is a feisty little bit who steadfastly followed the Ripper case and knows a lot about ghosts and who Stephen and his friends are. She was an interesting addition to the group and kind of becomes a new member of the team in a way, for again, the team is spending a large amount of time trying to find Stephen.

The other portion of the book is devoted to figuring out who Jane is and what her deal is. We learn a lot about her “friends” Sid and Sadie’s history and how Jane is connected to them. This part too was interesting as well. It definitely gives you a few chills when you learn about these two because they are without a doubt some batsh*t crazy characters! But you gotta love your psychotic villains! Especially when they are technically dead already!

While The Shadow Cabinet is definitely a bit better paced than The Madness Underneath, I did feel like at times it was a bit too slow. There wasn’t quite enough going on or whatever clue Rory and her friends were following or tracking down, it just didn’t lead to much excitement. There wasn’t enough thrills and chills, since there is some scary stuff going on here. And like I said earlier, not nearly enough ghosty business either.

Now begins the painful wait to hear about information regarding a book 4. Immediately after finishing this one, I posted said question on twitter and hoping that Maureen can provide an answer! I think I find the not knowing of another book hard to truly enjoy this one or rate it fairly. As it stands, I was a bit disappointed with a few things regarding the ending, but if luck holds out, we might get a fourth book to smooth all that over and this one could be enjoyed much easier knowing there’s still more story to tell. Otherwise, I liked this book, I had the potential to truly love it…I just didn’t quite get there sadly.

The Shadow Cabinet was a decently paced book, there was some lag time in between events and such. Not nearly enough romantic tension with Rory and Steven, given the obvious reasons, but I had hoped for something more between them. As it turns out, things are rather complicated at the moment. I will just have to do my best and sit patiently until there’s news of a fourth book.

And we all know how I do with “patiently”! ;)

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars




  1. It's too bad you didn't love this book. The series looks good, fingers crossed there will be a 4th book.

  2. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the ending and hopefully there will be a next book to fix that :)

    Majanka @ I Heart Reading

  3. I have mixed feelings about starting this series based on your review--my limited reading time demands I find a series to stick with. I hope there is a 4th book for you!

  4. It definitely sounds like it could lag with looking for a character through three quarters of the book. I haven't read this series, but you have my curiosity piqued. I'm glad there will be another one so you aren't left with unanswered questions and confusion. Great review!


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