Thursday, 5 February 2015

The Shadow Cabinet


The Shadow Cabinet
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the author!

The entire squad are in the midst of grieving, Callum is angry Rory made Stephen in to what he despises most, the others are frantically searching for Stephen anywhere he could appear, and Charlotte is still missing with Jane and her merry band of psychos still at large. Thorpe is keeping Rory in hiding, and as far as the world is aware, she's still a missing person, and she's starting to feel some adverse effects the more she's used as a terminus.

There's no time to mourn, the squad have to find Charlotte, deal with a girl who's been stalking all of them since the Ripper investigations, Rory's ex-boyfriend, and the mysterious Shadow Cabinet, and more importantly, the stones they protect. Stones that are connected to the diamonds in the Terminus's/Termini and are something to do with the dead of London. Things for the Squad are about to change, a new, more dangerous enemy is about to reveal itself, and with something brewing under London, things aren't going to be the same again. But where is Stephen? and what is the Shadow Cabinet?

Okay, I'm gonna try and do this with as few spoilers as possible! I won an proof from a competition Maureen did on Twitter, and I must say, while it doesn't leave a cliffhanger as agonizing as The Madness Underneath, it still leaves you wanting more and very excited, with things set up that promise to take this series in an intriguing new direction!

Shadow Cabinet gave me all the feels. Like, this was straight after the events of Madness Underneath so you now...FEELS. Feels intensified and it was just so emotional I can't even. Watching the squad deal with the aftermath of Madness Underneath was so feels inducing. So yeah. Feels. Not to mention my ship. I love my ship, The Madness Underneath set my ship sailing and there was a distinct lack of my ship in Shadow Cabinet but that was to be expected. I don't think it's going to be smooth sailing, an ex is definitely going to shake things up and it's going to make things interesting.

I loved all the information/history to do with the stones in this installment, it was rich and detailed and intriguing, as was all of the magic/lore and the Greek elements with the ritual and such. It was all woven in fantastically and I loved all of it. I particularly loved the whole theft of the Crown Jewels bit!

It was so easy to slip back in to the world, it continues to be vivid even to someone who actually lives in London. I swear Maureen knows more about my town than me! I'm fairly certain the Diner mentioned in the book is the one my friends and I go to for milkshakes when we're in London!
The series is still so totally unique, each installment further cements its place on my list of favourite series.
The next book has been perfectly and subtly set up and it's really set to take the series in a different direction, with the whole S&S thing, and the repercussions of it, and the stones, and if there's going to be more problems regarding those and so on.

The Shadow Cabinet continues on perfectly from The Madness Underneath, the continuity is perfect. The characters continue to grow and develop, and be well written and full of depth. More of them is revealed each installment and we get a deeper look at lives and so on. Rory is still my favourite, she's still strong, and easy to empathize with and connect with, which was so emotional for this installment with Rory dealing with everything.

Freddie is interesting, and slips in perfectly to the series and the plot, I love how she's been there all along, I'm interested to know more about her and her back-story and I'm excited to see more of her and how the dynamic of the Squad might change and how she'll fit in to the squad etc. The ghosts are still slightly creepy, not in your face creepy, but subtly creepy, and I love a good creepy ghost. I'm excited to see if the ghosts are going to be present more in the next few books or less.

The plot is complex, there's a lot going on and there's never a dull moment, so the book is very fast paced. There's different threads going on with the story, things from the previous book are being tied up in this book and brought to the front, there's threads from the past tying in with the present and it's a delightful web of intrigue and general awesomeness! Not to mention the engaging narrative that's still going strong. It's utterly impossible to put the book down, you're frantically turning pages, and to be honest, I was reading this when it was the two times a week I'm at acting class....let's just say it helped me get some strong emotion going for some scenes :')

I love how the characters talk. Their language is up to date and current, but more importantly, I love, particularly Boo and Callum's, turn of speech. It's so very London, not posh London like Stephen, but a liiiiittle bit cockney, like how I speak, with the turns of phrase and the slang words and everything, and it's perfectly done. I've read some books where it's so overdone, but Johnson nails it perfectly and it's one of my favourite things about the book!

Maureen is an expert at keeping the intrigue and mystery going, and I really enjoyed the breaks in narrative in between the parts of the books, when we saw the other POV's and the little bit at the beginning from the past and it was so atmospheric, it draws you in and it was delightfully creepy, it set the tone of the book!
The little bit at the end really sets up the next book, it's subtly set up throughout the book as I said, but that end bit really sets the direction (I'm assuming, I could be wrong).

I'm very excited to see what's going to happen next, I feel like S&S are going to be not only delightfully creepy adversaries, with how they talk, I mean....it's just...creepy. But they're clearly more dangerous than they seem and have some strange powers going on after events so I'm excited to see them become villains properly, they're already being nefarious. It's also going to be interesting to see what their grand plan is and how it's going to affect the dead of London and the squad and how they deal with it, as well as seeing if any dodgy ghosts have come through in the little fountain of spooks, and ya know....is Stephen really okay? Has it messed with him? The whole boy....situation and how it's going to progress and so on and so forth.

Like I said, it's going to be interesting to see if it focuses more on S&S in the upcoming book(s) than the ghosts. I literally can't wait to see how Jerome and Jazza are going to react....like....I can't even. I need to know! And Rory's still missing, technically and OH MY GOD. Janes band of merry psycho's are STILL at large, and probably going to bite them all in the ass. There's culty things that are probably going to go on.

So yes.....Shadow Cabinet is awesome, I need more, it's gonna have new elements added in that's gonna make it even more awesome, and the world and the characters continue to be fantastically written and I really can't get enough of this series. Or Thorpe....can we have some more of Thorpe? I loved him, the poor sod!

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