Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: September 29th 2011
Pages: 374
Read it in: on and off for 1 week!
Source: Andy

You can buy it on amazon.

Synopsis: Goodreads:

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.

My Review: Caution, few spoilers included in the review!

So despite the outcome of this review, I have to say first of all, I actually really enjoyed this book! The concept behind it is great, the idea of the ghost of one of England’s most famous killers coming back and killing again was quite intriguing. Though of course the idea of Rory being the only one who notices this among her friends was interesting too – this was what made me think it was a ghost killer; I suck at reading the blurbs before reading the novel, I don’t want the blurb to ruin anything for me, or get me thinking before I’ve even started the book! Besides, my boyfriend had already read this one, he told me it was worth the read!

Rory is our main character. Nothing special to her, at first. She’s American, recently moved to London, England to go to a boarding school. Here she meets Jazza and Jerome (who I adore) and Alistair and eventually, Boo. Jazza starts off as Rory’s roommate, they click right away and become good friends immediately. 

The romance in the story takes place between Rory and Jerome, though I don’t really know how to explain this romance other than, awkward and kinda true. It’s not a ‘happy ever after’ romance, it happens, kinda like it would in real life. There are no amazing kissing love scene’s, like I said, it’s awkward. The flirting is awkward. It’s just awkward. Yet sweet. And I loved it.

Alistair lives in the library, pretty much, we always see him in the library. I mentioned him because he’s the only character, that even after I knew the plot, still caught me off guard. Though looking back on the novel, I really should have noticed it before hand… Oh well! He’s a great character and becomes very interesting once you know the truth. 

Boo… I really didn’t like Boo as a character, I don’t know why. But as soon as she came into the novel, I had an issue with her. But despite this, I loved her too. She was a character whom was necessary to the  novel and she had quite an interesting story line (as developed further when we meet Stephen and Callum). 

Now, ‘Jack the Ripper’ is scary enough as he is! Like I said, he’s one of England’s most famous! But for the wrong reasons. I’m sure you know a bit about him: if nothing else you know he’s famous because he got away with it. That’s what makes him so terrifying. Maureen Johnson uses the Ripper ghost and the Ripper Fever from the 1880’s to really give her book a creepy edge. The Ripper ghost in The Name of the Star was cleverly created and all of his messages were cleverly thought up. He genuinely creeped me out, and caused me to have a nightmare! But mind you, I suppose that had something to do with my boyfriend constantly telling me things about the real Jack the Ripper! 

One thing that really annoyed me, was the ending. That final chapter. Whatever you want to call it. I loved the ending to the plot, Ripper’s re-death, but the ending to the actual book – I hated. I feel as though it was rushed and wasn’t written well. Granted, what we find out is most likely crucial to the next book (I can’t see how it wouldn’t be!) but it was rushed in the ending. 

I’m interested in the next book, might even do some research into this ‘Bedlam’ thing before it comes out. Or I may just leave it a surprise. But despite the disappointing ending, I will read The Madness Underneath. 

Rating: 4/5 

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