Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Name of the Star review

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)
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. (goodreads summary)

Rory is spending her senior year in London attending the Wexford Boarding School while her parents teach American Law at the University of Bristol in England.  She is anticipating the many new things awaiting her in London. She finds the school is quite different than back home in Louisiana but adjusts easily and fitting in with her new roommate Jazza. Upon her arrival though, the city of London and its residents are caught up in the frenzy of a copycat serial killer mimicking the gruesome murders of the once famous Jack the Ripper of 1888. Rory finds herself a main participant as well as she becomes a witness to a strange man lurking about the area of a recent murder.  Rory begins to question what she believes to be true as her friend Jazza did not see the same man.  She soon discovers that she has developed a rare ability to see people (mainly ghosts) who others cannot see. She finds there is a small group of others that have the same unusual capabilities but who are connected to a secret underground ghost police force. Is the man that Rory eyewitnesses really a copycat killer or could it actually be the ghost of Jack the Ripper himself? With Rory's sudden unexplainable ability, she finds herself  involved in a crime solving mystery and becomes a link between the supernatural world and the real world.

I first saw this at my local bookstore where they have the young adult section divided up between books for ages 12/up and 14/up.  It was under the 12+ section and I was curious if the age recommendation was correct.  The mystery of Jack the Ripper and his crimes are terribly shocking and turning the history of this into a present day paranormal story was quite interesting. The first half of the book was slow going and it took a while to get exciting. But since this was the first of a new series, I realized there was a lot of focus on character developing and I enjoyed it. I liked the wide variety of characters with each one given a unique personality and back story that made them fit well into the happenings of the book.  I also appreciated the descriptive details put into the London setting. It gave me the sense of being there, taking in the sites, sounds and all of the activity surrounding the Rippermania frenzy. There was a love interest for Rory with an English boy named Jerome, which I questioned why it was there though. I think it got lost in the real story.  Towards the middle of the book, it finally became exciting when Boo, Stephen and Callum were introduced. I gained a better insight to their purpose as the underground ghost police and how their abilities connected them to protecting Rory.  From there it developed into a paranormal thriller centered around solving a mystery of the copycat murderer and stopping a ghostly serial killer before he strikes again.  The author included many grisly details of the murders and history of the Ripper that gave me some shivers after reading them. All the murders were re-enacted in the same style and on the same dates as those of Jack the Ripper giving the impression that he has returned. Because there were so many different characters, I had a couple of conclusions in mind myself but in the end proved that I'm not a crime solving sleuth.  I thought this was a good introduction to the series and definitely left the door open for more. I gained good understanding of the characters and how their roles will used in the future. Do I agree that it is for age twelve? No.....a murderer dismembering victims like Jack the Ripper did to prostitutes is another can of worms I am not ready to open up just yet for my child. I think that this would be a "just right book" for ages 16 and over.~

Title: The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Pub. Date: September 2011
Genre: paranormal,  young adult mystery
Hardcover, 372 pgs.

1 comment:

  1. Rippermania. That's all I have to say! I mean - doesn't that draw you in already? This is why I was so excited to start The Name of the Star and I gotta tell was pretty awesome! I couldn't learn enough about these murders and the ghostly happenings around Rory's school.