Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star
(Shades of London, Book #1)
by Maureen Johnson

Genre: Young Adult | Supernatural Thriller

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.

Moving to London was to be a new experience for Rory's last year of high school. The most she was expecting was to make new friends, try out some new sports, and move back to Louisiana with new memories of living abroad. But what she got instead was a morbid life-altering adventure into one of London's darkest mysteries that became a little to personal for Rory and her roommates. Thus, as the gruesome Ripper copy-cat killer begins re-creating the bloody murders right in Rory's East London neighborhood and Rory herself becomes the only witness . . . a darkness unlike anything she has ever known existed begins to take over the whole city.

I found this book to be quite refreshing within the current YA releases. Yet, the beginning and the end almost created two totally different stories for me. It was easy to devour the first few chapters since Rory was witty and very accepting of her new transition into her London boarding school. The settings created were richly detailed & highly intriguing and the variety of side-characters created added enjoyable sparks to the overall tale. The thrilling murders along with the instant media sensation of "Ripper-Mania" blended realistically well into Rory's new lifestyle and set up for a very dark/suspenseful read, but then the story took a bit of a supernatural spin . . . something one would think I would be highly anticipating, but unfortunately I felt it took away something from the story. It was not as if this new direction during the second portion of The Name of the Star was any less gripping than it's first portion, it just created a different reality within the tale that was some-what lacking. All in all, I'm still tempted to check out Book #2 and will judge the series better after that book.

Likes: The New Orleans/Louisiana references were fun and easily relatable (i.e. hurricanes, swamps, gators, etc.)

Dislikes: Loved the beginning, not so much the ending!


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