The Shadow Cabinet- Maureen Johnson

Book three in the Shades of London ghost story series spends about two thirds of its time wrapping up a major event from

book two, and the rest setting up the finale. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it, and found it easy to follow even having skipped book two, The Madness Underneath.

Rory’s crush Stephen has been killed in a car accident while trying to save her from being kidnapped, but Rory is sure she managed to bring him back as a ghost. The problem is, she can’t find him. Meanwhile, she tries to locate Charlotte, a fellow student kidnapped by Rory’s dangerous therapist.

The best part of the story, for me, has always been Stephen, with his willingness to sacrifice himself for his fellow squad members and his goals. In this book, we get some more insight into why he’s like that, and how much it stems from his messed-up upbringing. Rory wants to punch his parents for leaving him feeling like he can sacrifice himself for everyone but no one is allowed to do the same for him (because, implicitly, he’s not worth it).

There’s also a nicely creepy scene at the beginning where Rory tangles with a manipulative ghost in a graveyard and almost ends up on fire.

I do think it’s a bit odd that among the four main characters, the two non-white people pair up romantically and so do the two white people, so there’s diversity but no interracial relationships. However, I’m oversensitive to that (being the product of an interracial relationship). On a similar note, I’d have liked more screentime for beta couple Callum and Boo.

I’m looking forward to the final book– the series definitely has its moments even if overall it’s more competent than amazing.

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