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Shades of London #3

The Shadow Cabinet

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Rory and her friends are reeling from a series of sudden and tragic events. While racked with grief, Rory tries to determine if she acted in time to save a member of the squad. If she did, how do you find a ghost? Also, Rory’s classmate Charlotte has been kidnapped by Jane and her nefarious organization. Evidence is uncovered of a forty-year-old cult, ten missing teenagers, and a likely mass murder. Everything indicates that Charlotte’s in danger, and it seems that something much bigger and much more terrible is coming.

Time is running out as Rory fights to find her friends and the ghost squad struggles to stop Jane from unleashing her spectral nightmare on the entire city. In the process, they'll discover the existence of an organization that underpins London itself - and Rory will learn that someone she trusts has been keeping a tremendous secret.

In this exhilarating third installment to her New York Times bestselling series, Maureen Johnson brings the sinister streets of London to life with her signature wit and page-turning suspense.

376 pages, Hardcover

First published February 10, 2015

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Maureen Johnson

60 books14.9k followers

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5 stars
2,557 (29%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 996 reviews
Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
893 reviews254 followers
July 22, 2017
I read an ARC copy of The Madness Underneath back in late 2012. Imagine the pain when I finished that book and came across one of the worst cliffhangers! Of course, it became even worse when the next book, this book, didn't come out until 2015. That felt like ages away to me! I was insanely happy to be able to finally pick up this book and get my answers!

This book takes place right after The Madness Underneath left off. Stephen has been pronounced dead and the entire team is searching everywhere for his ghost. Though, at the same time, they are trying to search for Charlotte, Rory's classmate, who has been kidnapped by Jane. Then, they begin to uncover secrets about a cult from forty years ago that included the disappearance and possible murder of many, and Jane was involved. The group has to find Stephen, Charlotte, and figure out what Jane is planning.

This book is definitely my favorite so far! I had issues in the beginning, as I realized that I really didn't remember anything about the previous book. I can vividly recall the ending, but other than that? Nope. Thankfully, I wasn't confused very long and a recap of the previous events was sprinkled in to help me!

The main reason why I love this book so much more than the others is probably because I felt like everything was finally becoming together! Also, so much happens in this book! I'm sorry if I'm being vague about this, but I really don't know how to explain everything that happens without spoiling things! But the entire book was very fast-paced and full of so many surprising!

As far as romance, there isn't much romance in this book, which isn't surprising. I kind of wish there was kissing, which is odd considering I usually think the opposite, but I actually was kind of disappointed by this. Oh well!

As for the ending, there is no horrible horrible cliffhanger! There is a bit of 'I need to know more!', but there is no cliffhanger like the last one! Yay!

I am so happy that I finally got a chance to read this and it has turned out to be my favorite in the series! This book was full of so many twists and it was so fast-paced, I really can't wait for the next book!

There is only one downside to reading ARCs...
You have to wait even longer for the next book.

Excuse me while I go cry into a pillow...

Do you know when I read The Madness Underneath?

Do you know when this book, as in the next book in the series comes out?
MARCH 2015!!!!!!


Maureen, why must you torture us so??????
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,747 reviews1,306 followers
October 10, 2019
This was really good ☺ I am so upset that it looks like the rest of this series isn't going to happen.

“We need to start looking. We do the hospital. We do the flat, both the old one and the new one. And if that fails, we come back here and we do it again. Yeah?”

This book was very different to the two that came before it, and it was full of info-dumps.

Rory seemed like a different person in this book. I found it hard to see her as the same girl who used to eat chocolate doughnuts and sausages for breakfast, and while I didn’t dislike her, it was like her personality was maybe missing a bit.

The storyline in this was about Rory trying to talk to Stephen, and looking through his books trying to work out where he would go. We also got a storyline about a set of twins who were performing some kind of black magic years ago, and these storylines then mingled. The pace in this was very slow though, and the info dumps were just constant! I felt like every other paragraph we were just told loads of stuff, and I got so bored. Did we really need all those info-dumps? Could we not have been shown something instead of being told something?

The ending to this was a little irritating , and the epilogue then left us with a new storyline, leaving me thinking that this is not the last book in the series. I have to say that for me, this has been the worst book in the series so far though, and I seriously hope the next one is an improvement!
6 out of 10
Profile Image for Jazmin.
184 reviews3 followers
March 10, 2015
I've finally read it!! Plot wise, I'm really glad that the Rites of Demeter thing was explained (and boy that was a really cool thing) whereas D: at the fact that Sid and Sadie are alive. Romance wise, I needed more like the diner scene and the end, i.e you've never seen snow? made me want to bash my head against a wall because you idiots kiss already. As we know #4 is the end, I want it to be FULL CIRCLE Y'ALL. Go in on that stephen/rory romance, let's forget about Sid & Sadie.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,514 reviews859 followers
April 13, 2018
This has been the best one yet!Will there ever be a fourth? Even if there isn’t , this has been a really fantastic urban paranormal fantasy. Feeling a bit sad to be left in the dark about Rory and Stephen though...it’s quite a journey that Rory has been on since the first book: extreme character development! I just love Rory’s voice in this book and series. Recommended.
Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,124 followers
February 13, 2015

One of the better YA books I've read recently, though that's not saying much since the last few I've read have been utter rubbish.

-The plot was a bit of a mixed bag. Enjoyed the parts with Sid/Sadie, and Jerome getting involved with Rory and all her ghosty problems, and Thorpe trying to keep his team together. There were quite a lot parts that dragged though, like when Rory and co were trying to find Stephen, and towards the end with the whole moving of the Oswulf stone, they both took ages, it was so boring.

-I didn't mind Rory too much in this, she was likeable enough.. Well, apart from when she was being melodramatic or sappy about Stephen. Seriously, they'd only kissed once and hadn't even known each other very long but she acted like a grieving widow when it came to his 'death'. Despite that they were actually rather sweet together.

-Loved most of the secondary characters, I preferred them more than Rory, they were far more endearing than her.
Liked Freddie most of all. Although, I did feel like her character was a bit convenient/deus ex machina, she just so happened to pop into Rory's life and have all the answers and solution to all of her problems.
Stephen, Thorpe and Boo were great too.

-The Egyptian mythology and occult stuff was quite interesting but it kind of came out of nowhere. It gave the story a different tone from previous books, and at times it felt like I was reading a completely different series.

-Liked that Rory's parents actually behaved like real parents and were worried about her and involved in trying to find her. Most YA parents don't usually give a damn.

-Of course there had to be the clichéd 'heroine looking in the mirror and no longer recognising herself' moment. I cringe whenever a mirror is mentioned in a YA book because it's so bloody obvious what's coming.

-The British dialogue for some of the characters didn't ring true. And the London setting was written poorly as well, Rory and co may have been running around all over London but saying it was rainy or busy or mentioning well known places was nowhere near enough to capture the London atmosphere.

-Looking forward to the Sid/Sadie/Rory showdown in the next book. Although, it's pretty obvious how things will turn out.
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews805 followers
July 22, 2019
5 Words: Ghosts, London, life, death, relationships.

Oh god. That was just... I need more.

After the ending of the last book, I was desperate for this. And it felt like such a long wait, even though this was out surprisingly quickly. But how could the wait be anything other than excruciating after THAT ENDING of book two?
Profile Image for Laura.
99 reviews18 followers
August 11, 2015
I need this book right now.
Gah. I'm gonna cry.
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,739 reviews868 followers
October 3, 2023
#1) The Name of the Star ★★★☆☆
#2) The Madness Underneath ★★☆☆☆

Trigger warnings for .

Representation: Boo (sc) is Indian-British; Callum (sc) is Jamacian-British; Freddie (sc)is sapphic; Jerome (li) has asthma.

BlogTrigger Warning DatabaseStoryGraph
Profile Image for Bryony.
158 reviews38 followers
June 29, 2017
This was good! I enjoyed it, but not as much as I enjoyed the first two. I did read them when they were first published, and think that my taste has matured slightly perhaps. I think the best thing about Johnson's writing would be the ability she has to set the scene - the atmosphere and descriptions made me feel like I was right there in London with Rory, Boo, Thorpe, Freddie, and Callum.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Initial thoughts: WHAT! WHY HAS THE RELEASE DATE BEEN PUSHED BACK?!?!!?

Profile Image for Justine.
1,158 reviews312 followers
November 9, 2015
I thought this was such a truly excellent series of books. I was so impressed with the story, the characters, just everything about them. This third book was very fortunately not a cliff-hanger, but definitely set the stage for the story to continue and deepen.
Profile Image for Paige.
114 reviews47 followers
February 15, 2015
How do I review this book without getting ten different kinds of spoilery?

Let's see. It picks up right where The Madness Underneath left off (you know, right after THAT THING happened), and things start getting weird... almost immediately. Which is cool, if you like weird, which I'm guessing you do, since you're reading something written by Maureen Johnson.

Everyone is appropriately affected by The Thing That Happened. Like, Rory doesn't do that whole blame-yourself-for-something-that-had-nothing-to-do-with-you BS, because it had everything to do with her and her poor life decisions (also Stephen's poor life decisions, and everyone else's poor life decisions regarding Stephen). So she goes solo for a bit (which is not always wise when it comes to Rory and her plans — but it is always entertaining), trying to fix The Thing. Callum shuts down, and Boo tries to hold everything together. raise your hand if you think making out with each other would solve some of Boo's and Callum's problems! *raises hand*

And there's a new character who is, as one of the other new characters would say, "fab." She's fab. She's also weird, but who in this series is not weird? ("Stephen is not weird," you insist. Really? The boy who leads a group of teenage ghost-poppers and has psychological issues so deep that he doesn't think twice about his own safety ever? "Okay, what about Callum?" Oh, you mean the boy who hates ghosts so much that he gets a thrill from popping them? "...Boo...?" Yes, the girl who was best friends with a ghost for years: totally normal.)

Like I said, everyone is weird. The plot is weird too, but I can't get into that. There is quite a bit of murder, at least two pagan rituals, possibly another dimension but the jury's still out on that one, and several redheads. Kiersten White once told me The Madness Underneath gave her anxiety because of Rory's Wexford delinquency — um, hold on to your hat, Kiersten, because there is no schoolwork in this book whatsoever. Sorry! I didn't mind it because, well, I really wanted them to fix The Thing That Happened and also not be killed by cult leaders and such. But I can see how the truancy would put you on edge.

Possibly my favorite aspect of The Shadow Cabinet is that The Thing brought about major amounts of character development, and I already loved the characters in the first place. Rory almost seems like an entirely different person in this book, but then she gets into her Louisiana stories and you're like, "Nope, same girl, just more mature and in-control." You learn a lot about other characters too, but— ugh, everything is a spoiler.

And of course, the end frustrated me to the point where I'm pretty sure I actually yelled, "OH COME ON, JOHNSON." But that might have only happened in my head... or in that other-dimensiony place...
Profile Image for Ely.
1,385 reviews114 followers
May 30, 2015
I'm thinking of starting a petition for Maureen Johnson to stop ruining lives, namely mine.
Profile Image for Kristina Horner.
157 reviews1,822 followers
April 24, 2015
I am going to seriously wither away and die waiting for the next book in this series.
The last two books in the Shades of London series really went in all sorts of directions I didn't expect, ripped at my heartstrings and often had me yelling out loud in my car at the characters (I listened to the audiobook).

I think this book did a really good job of making people who ended up sort of being put in larger than life situations feel extremely grounded in reality - I really felt the things these characters were feeling, even when I had absolutely no way of actually empathizing. I care about every single person in the squad so fully. I even came around to caring about Jerome and Jazza, when I was completely bored by them in books 1 and 2. Freddy seemed to fit seamlessly into the squad, even when I was unsure about her right away, and I really liked the fleshing out of Thorpe.

My only complaint is specifically about the audiobook - the narrator whispered ALL THE TIME. I know she was using it for effect, but whispering is really hard to hear over the roar of your car driving on a freeway, which is where I listened to 90% of this book. Please don't whisper in audiobooks as a main emotion of your main character/narration!

This series continued to blow me away, delivering much more than I expected. Even when some of the plot lines feel like they could be silly, I was continually impressed and surprised. Good work, Maureen. Can't wait to read more.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 28 books5,682 followers
May 7, 2015
So, the last book ended on a very upsetting note, and this one begins on that same upsetting note. But it's not gratuitously upsetting, there's a reason for everything that happens in this series, and the plotting is very tight. I also love the way Johnson describes the setting, and sets the mood. London must be a foggy, creepy, yet wonderful place, if real life is like the books.

The one weak spot for me, at least, is Rory, our main character. I mean, she's fine and all, she's realistic, but I just keep picturing a young Maureen Johnson herself. So many of her main characters follow this pattern: cute girls, intelligent but not genius-level intelligent, slightly awkward around cute boys, with a tendency to babble, etc. They honestly sound like I imagine Maureen sounding, judging from her blogs and tweets. You could put any of Maureen's girls into any of her books, it's the plot/setting that is different, not the narrator, or their geeky-yet-fit suitors. Halfway through this book I started wondering how it would have been different if the main character had been someone with a more extreme personality, or maybe just someone who didn't have the perfect witty remark or thought for every occasion. I definitely want to keep reading the series to find out what will happen at the end, but I would have loved it even more if the main character broke the Maureen Johnson mold.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,275 reviews227 followers
November 15, 2015
By far the most satisfying of the series so far.

Rory gets taken under Thorpe's wing after the events of the previous book. There's a desperate search to find Stephen, but he's not anywhere that the team can find. Meanwhile the sinister Jane Quaint is still at large with serious plans for Rory and her friends.

This book and the previous one could be considered a duology in the larger series. Many of the plot points set up in the previous novel are resolved satisfactorily in this one. The Madness Underneath left the Shades and Rory in an unstable state, without terminii, so the Shades themselves being fairly pointless and Rory about to be shipped back to the States at a moment's notice. In this one the whole framework of the Shades becomes much clearer and you can see the basis that ongoing books in this series can build off. The introduction of Freddy and the fleshing out of Thorpe as well as exposition on Stephen's Weighty Secrets are all welcome.

Looking forward to the next one and a probably long series to come.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,929 reviews386 followers
September 24, 2019
I read this book to fill the Darkest London square of my 2019 Halloween Bingo Card.

I have rated all three books in this series so far at 4 stars, because I really enjoyed them. However, the first book still reigns supreme for me. This one, book 3, is better than the second one, but still not as much fun as book one. I miss the boarding school surroundings and Rory’s dread of field hockey. And Claudia. I miss Claudia.

Still, it’s a very good story, with suitably spooky Sid & Sadie waiting in the wings to use Rory’s talents. Plus the rather unappealing Thorpe, who now heads the team while Stephen is out of commission. I was happy to have Jerome reappear and he still has Rory’s back. Stephen is an unknown quantity at this point--after all that he has been through, will he be able to relate to Rory at all? I’m unapologetically on Team Jerome, but I’m probably in the minority on that one.

I’ll definitely read book four when/if it becomes available. I keep being surprised at how much I enjoy Young Adult literature, but I keep finding series like this one, which are well written, suspenseful, and deal with subjects and situations that interest me.
Profile Image for Veronique.
1,253 reviews182 followers
January 21, 2020
The Madness Underneath had worried me a little with the direction it took at the very end. I am pleased however how Johnson dealt with this in this third book, while carrying on with the threat posed by Jane and her ‘cult’.

The Shadow Cabinet picks up immediately on where we were left, with Rory and the team trying to cope with the shocking events regarding Steven, and the repercussions from the previous events. The table is once again turned on us. Thorpe takes on a more active role and we get a new character too. Somehow the narrative keeps throwing us from one thing to the next, without the time to catch breath, which is probably how Rory feels!

I guess it is the proof you enjoyed a story when you can’t wait to get the rest. Johnson thankfully doesn’t leave us on the same kind of cliffhanger we had at the end of book 2, but so much is left unresolved! What is to happen to Rory’s situation (her parents, her staying in the UK), her relationship with Steven, her friendships, and more pressingly, what are the horrid twins planning and how can you stop them!...
Profile Image for Book Riot Community.
953 reviews160k followers
March 2, 2015
So, yeah, I read this twice this month, in two different formats. Because it was great. Shadow Cabinet is the third installment in Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London series, and for real, the series is only getting better. The series is about a Louisiana girl named Rory who transfers to a boarding school in London and in the first book, she develops the ability to see ghosts (ooohh). By the third book, she’s been working with a group of young police officers whose job it is to clear up ghost-related crimes and disturbances. Think Veronica Mars + ghosts + accents, and throw in some David Bowie-look-alike villains in Book 3. I know. All I really want is for a weekly procedural show based on the series. Rory’s abilities have changed and grown over the series, but and I was really worried that things would devolve into Rory being savior of the universe (which is my LEAST favorite kind of storyline), but Johnson has broadened the story while keeping the characters realistic and relatable. All in all, excellent funny/spooky YA. — Jesse Doogan

From The Best Books We Read In February: http://bookriot.com/2015/03/02/riot-r...
Profile Image for Abby Connor.
105 reviews3 followers
February 15, 2015
I really love this series and I love Maureen Johnson, but I feel kind of disappointed by this book. There were just so many really really long paragraphs of information, often times revealed in hard-to-believe dialogue, that made it a bit tedious to read. A lot of the humorous tone was missing in this book and I really missed the boarding school characters. The only person we really got to hear from was Jerome and I don't particularly care for him or the love triangle aspect that he's involved in. I think Sid and Sadie make good villains, but I wish we had heard more from them earlier in the series if they're really meant to be the big bad. I still enjoyed this book - a lot of the writing was really beautiful and well done - but it wasn't as fun as the others and it was a lot harder to keep up with.
Profile Image for Ronda.
862 reviews139 followers
April 2, 2015
Another absolutely fabulous book!

I have to say that I was shocked a few times with the events going on, this world that Maureen Johnson has created is like nothing I have read before! New characters added to this edition, Freddie is cool!! I love Rory, I'm dying to know what will become of her when we discover what she can really do... and Stephen, well...

Characters I love to hate - Sid and Sadie!!! Say no more!!!!

Can't wait for the release of the next book, I really, really love this storyline!
Profile Image for Robyn.
827 reviews131 followers
November 8, 2015
The mystery deepens in this one considerably, and becomes more interesting as a result. (Not to say that the other ones weren't!) The things that concerned me in book 2 have largely resolved, and this was a highly enjoyable one. Ready for book 4 .... oh wait.
Profile Image for Melody.
375 reviews20 followers
February 19, 2016

Oh goodness, I need this now. D:
Profile Image for Zoe.
12 reviews15 followers
February 7, 2014
Anyone else suspect that there's going to be some ghost on girl action?
September 14, 2021
Endlich habe ich Band 3 der Reihe auch gelesen! Ursprünglich habe ich mit Absicht etwas warten wollen, damit ich bis Band 4 nicht alles vergessen habe, aber dieser wird wohl niemals kommen 🙁 Das ist echt schade, weil gerade in diesem Teil nochmal einige neue Fragen aufgeworfen werden, die nicht mehr beantwortet werden.
Davon abgesehen hat mir das Buch echt gut gefallen. Ich war sofort wieder drin bei den Shades, London und habe die Charaktere in mein Herz schließen können. Maureen Johnson’s Schreibstil ist GRANDIOS. Sie erschafft es eine unvergleichliche Atmosphäre zu kreieren. In jeder Szene wusste ich genau, wie sie sich anfühlt. Ob es warm oder kalt war, windig oder staubig, die Umgebung laut oder es wenige Hintergrundgeräusche gab. Und das hat sie geschafft, ohne lange Beschreibungstexte, sondern durch eine Verflechtung im Text. Bei mir lief also ein super spannender Film im Kopf ab und ich werde London jetzt schon vermissen. Auch Rorys Anekdoten aus ihrer alten Heimat habe ich auch hier wieder sehr geliebt.
Der Plot war dagegen nicht zu 100% meins. Mir waren die Geschehnisse in Dr. Marigolds zu abgedreht bzw. zu wenig erklärt (Band 4!!!! 😡). Dazu war dieser Teil sehr viel düsterer als seine Vorgänger. Ich meine, es beginnt direkt mit einem ausführlichen Massenmord… 🙈 Ich habe die Pubszenen oder Nebenhandlungen im Wexford College echt vermisst, verstehe aber auch warum das durch Stephen nicht ganz funktioniert hat.

Insgesamt eine richtig tolle Reihe mit unverwechselbarer Atmosphäre 🏚🌬
Profile Image for Samantha.
1,767 reviews96 followers
March 4, 2015
3.5 stars. As near as I can tell, everyone else I know who read this book really didn't care for it. As for me, I rather liked it, and nearly rated it four stars. And it deserved four, in my opinion, based purely on entertainment value. BUT (there's always a but, no?) I think it suffered due to some serious plot/transitional issues. Further, I will emphatically echo others' complaints that this series has become problematic because it was originally supposed to be a trilogy and has apparently been expanded to four (or more?) books.

This trend of taking trilogy-format series and expanding it into more volumes has become, quite frankly, a plague on YA fantasy. Publishers are getting greedy with successful authors and then suddenly it's "why stop at three when you can sell seven?" Sometimes more is absolutely NOT more. This series is no exception. It isn't that there wasn't valuable information to the series' trajectory in this book...but I still think that perhaps a slightly longer second and third volume rather than an entire extra novel would serve the same purpose of adding detail and fleshing out the story while keeping the trilogy format intact and cutting some of the filler.

Also a problem: I didn't love Jane's character arc, which took a sharp turn in this book with little warning. How does one go from supreme villainous mastermind to lackey for the undead? It felt like the ultimate bait and switch, Sauron morphing into Grima Wormtongue in mere moments. I do like the eventual explanation and connection she has to Sid and Sadie (who are excellent villains in their own right), but the transition was abrupt and felt cheap and contrived. I also thought the conclusion was anticlimactic.

Still, Rory has a great voice as a narrator, and she's both aspirationally heroic and relatable at the same time. Johnson does a great job of humanizing her protagonist, and clearly understands how teenagers think and feel. I love Rory's analogous thought processes-The story about the Toaster Thief or getting fired from the soft serve place both made for apt and entertaining comparison sequences which were perfectly in line with a girl Rory's age's line of thinking.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, but also hoping it's the last. I like this series, but it's time to wrap it up.
Profile Image for Melissa Chung.
904 reviews327 followers
July 20, 2015
This was pretty good. Going into this book I thought it was the end of the trilogy. Then mid-way I found out that there is another... a fourth book is coming out. Sigh. There is no release date.

The first half of the book went really quickly. It started right where it left off from the second book 'Madness Underneath' at the hospital. Then all of a sudden the mystery side of the book took off. As a reader we learn about a whole new world and a new character. A goodie two-shoes Hermione character that was slightly, okay a lot annoying with 'I know it all' attitude.

A lot of strange things happen. Rory does some pretty dumb shit. Gets herself into a lot of trouble, but things sort of work out in the end.

Which brings us to the end. The end wasn't necessarily a cliff hanger, but it does make you wish you knew what the release date was for the fourth and hopefully final book in this paranormal mystery series.

I still love all the characters. I'm hoping for the best for all of them.
Profile Image for Katherine.
778 reviews355 followers
August 10, 2018
Full review to come soon, but for now, I can say that this was an absolutely AMAZING read. This book will make you immediately want to move to London and fight ghosts, have Rory be your best friend, and desperately wish that ghosts are real so you can fight along Stephen, Boo, and Callum.

As long as the ghosts are friendly, of course ;)
Profile Image for Abbie.
1,976 reviews581 followers
May 12, 2015
This was really disappointing.

The characters were okay, but I didn't like them as much as I did in the first two books.

I was expecting to really like this one, as I enjoyed books one and two. Unfortunately though, I felt bored for most of it. It was info dump after info dump, and I didn't find the story that interesting.

Profile Image for Kate.
1,243 reviews2,226 followers
September 1, 2019

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