Monday, October 17, 2011

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Release Date: 29th September, 2011

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 372pgs

The Story

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occassion. 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 Review

A big thanks to HarperCollins for sending me a review copy of this book!

THE NAME OF THE STAR is a fun, mysterious and an entertaining read, and as an introduction to a new YA urban fantasy series, I think Maureen Johnson fans - those fans of her previous contemporary novels - will be pleasantly happy with this book. Though for those who love the paranormal genre . . . some may believe you've seen this all before. Except it's about Jack the Ripper. Who doesn't love him?

Our main heroine is an all-round American teenager, a girl named Rory, and the very last thing she expected from her parents was to move to the foggy streets of London and start at her new all-round English boarding school where strange events start to occur before her known arrival. With ghosts, murders, cute boys and new unlikely friends, pretty much every element is covered for paranormal freaks like me. But what makes this book even stronger is the fantastic historical aspect of Jack the Ripper and Maureen Johnson easily taps into the spooky facts about him. You could tell she went detective on us and did a lot of research which you as a reader can tell when it comes to this book.

This is the second book I've read of Maureen Johnson's and when I finished Suite Scarlett I was pretty disappointed in all the hype that her writing was getting - especially when it came to that book. However, she really surprised me with this new book of hers. While the first hundred or so pages were incredibly slow for me - to a point where I found myself skimming some paragraphs with not so much happening - and with a story that wasn't so entertaining as I first assumed, but once Jack the Ripper entered and everything changed in a paranormalistic-turn, I couldn't wait to find out more and what awaits Rory's fate.

Without giving too much away, all I can say is on the fantasy side Maureen Johnson did a great job in writing about Ripper and putting the little pieces together of the gruesome murders that happens throughout the book. It was pretty interesting and intense too. Now on the honest side of things, I thought this story relied too much on Jack's legend - which I know is the point of this story - but I felt like something was lacking from it. I don't what it is exactly . . . but something was missing. Sure, I didn't mind Rory's character and I connected to her on a certain level, and I even found the whole paranormal police agency interesting too, but while I was totally engrossed with Jack the Ripper's history, I desperately wanted a better ending because Johnson was building up to something great and this greatness never showed up.

However despite some minor things I wished could've been developed more, on a whole I really enjoyed THE NAME OF THE STAR and I'm still looking forward to reading the sequel. The story needed more meat for me but for fans who don't know what to expect from a story like this one, than I'm sure you will overlook these dissatisfying feelings I'm left with. Still . . . everyone will LOVE Jack the Ripper which is way I'm giving this four stars rather than 3 1/2 stars because real or not we love him.

The Rating

4/5 stars


  1. Glad you enjoyed this! Especially after a not-so-great experience with Suite Scarlett. The whole Jack the Ripper vibe is definitely what first intrigued me to this, so intriguing to see authors take these type of historical figures and put their own spin on the story. Awesome review!

  2. Thanks! Yeah I definitely got a better vibe with this book compared to Suite Scarlett. Maureen had her own spin on Jack which was great to read about.


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