Written by Maureen Johnson
The Shadow Cabinet is the 3rd book in the Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson. In this installment of the series, Aurora (Rory) is discovering more about her developing powers in relationship to ghosts and becoming a more integral part of the special team who deals with the incorporeal beings of London. We, as readers, also learn more about the world the author creates that exists between the living and the dead.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I did not read the 2nd book in the series before I finished this 3rd book. Because of that I am missing a little bit of context regarding the relationship between Rory and the two boys she is close to, Jerome and Stephen. Apparently, a lot happened in the second book between these characters that I don’t know about. I am also a little in the dark as to what Rory’s abilities are in relation to the ghosts and things that she encounters. It seems that she has a lot more power than she did at the end of the first book.
I would say that I liked the 1st and 3rd books well enough to go back and read the 2nd one (once I can get access to it) so that I can catch up on all the stuff I am missing. I didn’t care a lot about the romance that seems to be occurring between Rory and the two boys she is apparently involved with (I don’t like love triangles all that much anyway) and so I got a bit bored with that aspect of the story. Maybe once I go back and read the 2nd book, I will take a little more interest in all that.
As with the 1st book (and I am going to assume the 2nd book is the same), the author switches back and forth a little bit between some 3rd person segments to the segments where Rory is a 1st person narrator. I definitely prefer the 3rd person sections of the book. When Rory is the sole focus, I lose a bit of my interest level. The side stories that the 3rd person segments bring in are far more intriguing to me and increase my involvement in the story. I really kind of wish that Ms. Johnson had written the whole book in 3rd person. (But I am biased since 3rd person, past-tense is my favorite narrative style, so I do prefer it in most instances.) That being said, the 1st person sections didn’t bother me to the point of distraction and I think that Johnson is a very solid writer with a good grasp of the English language.
I loved the setting of the book in London and the surrounding areas and I feel like Johnson did a good job of portraying this. Admittedly, I am a huge anglophile and love all things British so I enjoyed the venue even though we are occasionally reminded that Rory is a born and raised Southern girl from the states.
I think Rory is a good main character. Although she definitely represents a typical adolescent girl (sometimes irritating), she is strong in her own right and not too whiny or annoying. That being the case, I still actually liked many of the supporting characters better. I have to admit that I tend to prefer the villains of this story more than all the rest of the characters. Johnson introduces the characters of Syd and Sadie, who I found very intriguing and super creepy. I think I liked them best out of everyone. And many of the other antagonists where equally as compelling, and they are really what pulled me deeper into the story.
This book is pretty creepy and there are a few startling events that take place, so readers should be aware of that fact. But I didn’t feel that there was anything too scary or graphic in the book. Just be prepared for some mildly frightful stuff.
This book is not the end of the series with these ghost hunters and I am interested to see where Johnson decides to take the story from here. I think there will be more run-ins with the sinister Syd and Sadie and more information to come on the connections between the spirit world and the world of the living. I would definitely jump into the next book to see what happens.
Overall, I really liked this book and the series (what I have read of it) in general. I think I would recommend this as a good, fun read.
Review by Rachelle Funk, Skyline High School Media Center
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 9-12
Author Website: http://www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com/
The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London #3)
Written by Maureen Johnson
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Categories: Sr. High – Fiction
Tags: YA, paranormal romance, series book (#3), mystery, ghosts