I’ve officially finished all the books that Maureen Johnson has published in this series. Thankfully a fourth one is planned, because the end of the third is so unsatisfying! I’ll try hard not to spoil too much….but this book takes place immediately after the second book, with the Shades team reeling from the cliffhanger.
The Shadow Cabinet
by Maureen Johnson
Published: Putnam Juvenile (2015)
Rory, Boo and Thorpe pick up immediately where the second book ended, trying to decide if they succeeded in “saving” a member of their team. Racked with guilt, but unable to succumb to it, they begin to search for their missing squad member, Rory’s classmate, and try to figure out what Jane has planned. As they search for answers, they begin to uncover a hidden cult that most likely killed ten teenagers many years ago.
Rory makes some new friends along the way, as well as reuniting with old ones. She is overloaded with mythology that is looking more and more real, causing Jane’s cult to look more and more terrifying. Can Rory, Boo and Callum save Charlotte with the help of their new friends, find Stephen, and keep London from falling apart?
In case you don’t follow me on Goodreads, I tend to post my reaction or a gif to show how I am feeling after I finish a book. Normally it’s some sort of “Finished, awesome, review to come later!” But for this book, my review currently looks like this:
Mostly I think this is because I’m caught up to where the series currently is, and I. Hate. Waiting. For. Books. Especially books that obviously haven’t resolved. Anyways.
Unlike the other two books, this one is a little less action, lot more investigation and info-dumping. It moves, though a bit slowly. It took about 200 pages before I was willing to sit down for long periods of time and read it. I think it’s because two of my favorite characters weren’t in the book much. Once one of them pops back up, I was all for reading it. (Okay, again, this is probably when the action all started too.)
And poor Rory. She’s so broken in this book. I mean, they all are, understandably, but she never seems to get to mourn properly. I guess she’s the kind of person I would want around in a crisis. She is constantly trying to push forward to understand what’s going on and how to fix it. She’s not whiny, not demanding, but instead, doing what Thorpe asks her to do (within reason, she is just a teenage girl and all.) I’ve read mixed reviews where people have found her too mopey and dramatic, but I didn’t feel she was that way. I mean, what happened, no matter how new their friendship was, she still had a right to be upset.
My only complaint: while I used to find her babbles about Louisiana wonderful, they’re starting to get a bit “meh.”
Rory makes a new friend, another one that can see ghosts. Freddie. I love female characters that have masculine names. But she also brings Jerome along, which, just….go away. I don’t know why I don’t care for Jerome, but he’s not my favorite. He just makes everything complicated and messy. But he brought Freddie (whichever you want to look at it), and Freddie’s cool. She balances out Boo, Callum and Stephen.
Spoilers here so look away. But I really can’t not talk about this book and not talk briefly about Stephen. The diner scene, the meaning of “Shadow Cabinet”, his coming back…. I know it’s probably cheesy, but I was all for it. I’ve liked Stephen since the beginning, and I wasn’t disappointed with him in this one. I’m worried what will happen with him in the fourth book, but who knows how long I have to wait until that comes out??
What I’m really hoping is that this book is a big build up to the fourth book. Is there a lot of info-dumping? Sure. Was it boring? At parts, though I’ve read much worse. Will I read it again? Proooobably not, unless there is some big thing explained in the fourth book that requires me to reread this one. The fourth book is definitely set up to have new villains….creepy twins at that. If you’ve started this series and haven’t read this one….well I don’t know how, after the way the second one reads. But if you haven’t I would recommend holding off until the fourth book has been released.