From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-This continuation of the series opens as Rory is recovering from a brutal attack by a ghost mimicking Jack the Ripper's grisly murders. She is persuaded by her therapist to leave the family's Bristol home, return to her London boarding school, and resume a normal life. However, life will never again be "normal" for Rory. She discovers that she is a "terminis" and has the ability to permanently extinguish ghosts. The British squad of those with the ability to see ghosts and monitor their activity recruits her help to investigate an unexplained death near campus. It appears that an evil force is moving through the underground, causing death and destruction. The opening chapters bring readers up to date, recapping previous events and characters and, in the process, revealing the plot in The Name of the Star (Putnam, 2011). The action picks up considerably in the final chapters. Readers will remain on the edge of their seats as the leader of a cult that follows the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries drugs and kidnaps Rory, hoping to use her extraordinary powers to defeat death. Johnson's sharp wit is ever-present, and her heroine is the perfect blend of snark and teen anxiety. Rory finds romance, but is it destined to end? Readers will anxiously await the final installment in the series to learn the fate of this Eleusinian cult, and to find out if a girl who can annihilate ghosts has a future with one very hot guy.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Rory might have escaped death at the hands of a Jack the Ripper copycat in The Name of the Star (2011), but the experience has left her with the skill of a terminus: the ability to dispatch ghosts from our plane of existence. In an attempt to reclaim her former life, Rory returns to boarding school, where she and her friends at a clandestine British government ghost squad stumble upon evidence that the remains of an old psychiatric hospital, right beneath the school, is stirring up otherworldly activity. The propulsive thrills of the Edgar Award–nominated first volume are largely missing here. The hospital idea, a juicy one, never galvanizes into a strong plotline, and Rory’s goals as a supernatural operative feel vague. Thankfully, Johnson’s handling of the normal problems of teenhood—boys, school, and so on—is agile, humorous, and real. Many of Rory’s constant jokes fall flat, but, hey, that’s realistic, too. The best news? The final 50 pages roar back to life with a turnaround so creepy it bolsters confidence in the next volume of the Shades of London series. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Johnson is one of YA lit’s perennial favorites, and an author tour will help keep this series on many must-read lists. Grades 8-11. --Daniel Kraus