* Prices may differ from that shown
The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson is the first book in the new supernatural series - shades of London. I didn't really know all that much about this book when I first started reading it or really anything about Maureen Johnson so I was taken by complete surprise when I just couldn't put the book down.
Despite what you might think (or at least what I initially thought) The Name of the Star isn't a historical novel, it is set in present day London. The Name of the Star really brings a great twist to the mystery and interest surrounding Jack the Ripper and the story does read like a lot of research has went into shaping the characters and background.
The writing really drew me in and I loved some of the creepy and atmospheric moments that had me almost (but not quite) nervous about what was coming next. Rory the main character was well written and likeable, but she wasn't my favourite character there was quite a selection of interesting supporting and minor characters that made this more than just another 'OK' YA paranormal book.
As well as being well written and having some great characters The Name of the Star kept me guessing - which is often the best compliment I give a YA book. I do find that a lot of the time even thou a book is good it is still predictable. But with The Name of the Star it had me more than once sitting at the edge of my seat turning the pages as quickly as I could possibly read because I had no idea what was coming next and couldn't wait to find out.
However, as much as I did love this book and I really did it wasn't perfect. I did find that the beginning felt a little slow and just plodded along for a couple of chapters before it really did drag me into the story. I think for me it was just a case of information overload and it did read as a bit of an info dump, but it was important for the background to be laid out. As much as I did think it was a little slow to start it certainly didn't put me off the book and after the first few chapters and the set up was over the story was original, interesting and worthy of Jack the Ripper's notorious status.
Something that can really ruin a book for me is the ending, but I absolutely loved the ending of The Name of the Star it left me wishing that Ms. Johnson would write quicker so I could find out what happens next, but at the same time she manages to tie up all the loose endings and created a great cliffhanger without cheating (i.e., just stopping in the middle of an action sequence - one of my biggest book pet peeves).
For me this is an absolute must read and one of my favourite books from 2011. If you haven't read The Name of the Star then I really suggest you pick it up, I don't think you will be disappointed.
I really can't wait for the next book in the Shades of London series to be released! Maureen Johnson if you ever read this and need a Beta reader or just want to send me the book super early I'd definitely be your very bestest best friend.
Overall - READ IT, READ IT, READ IT
If you haven't read this book yet then I definitely suggest you run to your nearest book store and fix that ASAP.
Genre - YA, Paranormal
Published by HarperCollins (Sept 2011)
Paperback 352 pages (£6.99)
Source - I received a copy of 'The Name of the Star' by Maureen Johnson in exchange for an honest review.
The Name of the Star is the first book in a series by Maureen Johnson. It was published by Harper Collins Children's Books on 29th September and the book is 252 pages long.
The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.
Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target?
What I thought
I used to be fascinated with Jack the Ripper, which is a little bit morbid for a 13 year old girl, I know. When I heard about this book, I couldn't have been more excited. It is quite safe to say that I loved this aspect of the book.
The Name of the Star feels very authentic to London and its old, cobbled streets. The whole setting of this book, especially the hard hitting and gruesome beginning is eerie and creepy but it draws you right in. I was hooked after only one 1 page and I have to applaud Maureen Johnson for beginning the first book in a series this way. It made a massive impact on me and it's now an opening I don't think I could ever forget. If more books were written like this, I would be a very happy girl.
The mystery in this book is by far the best part of it. I couldn't wait to find out what was really going on and to find out what the deal was with all of the killings and strange going ons. However, when the twist was finally revealed, I was extremely unsure about it. It seemed pretty insane and I was hoping it had been something else for quite some time. After more and more about it was explained though, I thought it was actually really clever, fresh and exciting.
The main character is not Jack the Ripper at all, like I was thinking it might be. Instead, it is American teenager Rory who has just moved to England. As her parents are working in Bristol, Rory has to attend a private boarding school in London. She's completely out of place in a country she doesn't really understand even after trying to. I liked Rory though as she tried to make the best out of her situation. I don't really know how I would react to moving to London in the middle of a Jack the Ripper-esque killing spree.
Unfortunately, other aspects of the book did not quite do it for me. There were a lot of characters all over the place and this made certain things quite confusing at times. Rory's romance (if you can call it that) with Jerome was seriously un-needed. Fair enough that the YA audience like this in a book but at least make it integral to the rest of the plot. For me, their relationship was only about kissing and it had nothing to do with anything else at all. I think the time spent in this area of the book would have been better spent focusing on the twist and the other things that were going on.
I know my review sounds like a real mixed bag for this book but I really did enjoy it. It is a fantastic thriller full of mystery but as a series, I wonder where it can possibly go next.