Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: The Name of the Star

Author: Maureen Johnson
Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
Publisher: HarperCollins
Add it: 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.
London is once again swept up in a flurry of fear, murder investigations and media frenzy as a gruesome and horrific history begins to repeat itself. Jack the Ripper has returned. Or at least, someone imitating his work. The same day the copycat murders begin is when Rory Deveaux arrives in London for her senior year at Wexford Academy. Whether it's fate or sheer bad luck that finds her journey beginning the same day as a twisted murderer's, Rory is certainly in for one chaotic year and a life changing discovery that will sweep her up in a dangerous and exciting new life of the living and non-living.

I enjoyed reading from Rory's perspective. She has this down-to-earth, 'average teenager' vibe. Someone you could easily find yourself hanging out with every day. There's little quirks to her that make her all the more endearing and she has such a fun personality. I adored the glimpses into her colourful family back home in New Orleans. From Uncle Will and the eight freezers in his spare bedroom to Aunt Diane and her Healing Angel Ministry. I would love to see her visit home again, if only for a short time. I'm not really sure if that's an option in future novels, but it would be so much fun to visit her family!

However, the characters who do surround Rory amidst the terror of the Ripper killings are definitely a stellar cast. Boo was a particular favourite of mine, she makes her entrance as a new student halfway through the novel and not only brings a riot of energy and laughs but yet another added mystery as Rory and her roommate, Jazza, try to decode Boo's baffling and slightly suspicious personality.  There is a very light smattering of romance between Rory and Jerome. While I didn't feel that 'spark' between the pair, I enjoyed their friendship.

I found the paranormal aspect compelling and can't wait to delve further into that lore in following books. It blended in well amongst the humour and fearful, yet morbidly excited air running thick through London. People are scared, but they're also sort of thrilled at this piece of history repeating, that still manages to confound media and authorities years on. There was one issue for me, while not huge, it's more of a minor pet peeve. When we finally reach that showdown at the end, only to have the villain launch into a long monologue detailing his motives and how he did this and that. Everyone is standing around waiting for him to finish his story, despite a character in peril and they only spring into action once he's conveniently finished. Now don't get me wrong, the villain and his actions did intrigue me, but these dialogues often pull me away from the story. I know it's necessary information for the readers to learn, but in reality, who's going to stand around listening to the life story of a guy who's openly admitted he's about to murder you in a minute? It wasn't enough to deter me from the overall enjoyment of the story, just a small annoyance!

The Name of the Star was a thrilling start to what will no doubt shape up to be a highly entertaining series. Mystery, murder and mayhem haunt the streets of London as old terrors resurface and a teenager girl with a special ability finds herself caught in the middle of the terrifying chaos. A perfect blend of humour, suspense, history and supernatural which will appeal to all those fascinated by Jack the Ripper or else just in the mood for something fresh and captivating.

4/5 Golden Apples!

9 comments:

  1. Love your review Brodie! Love hoenstness! <33 :) I really want to read this one! Hopefully I'll get my hands on a copy soon enough! :)

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  2. Haha, they do the same thing in movies and it drives me nuts. Do not stand there letting the bad guy tell you why he is so bad, and what he is going to do to you.

    Lovely review. I enjoyed Boo too. After the ending I am excited to see where Maureen takes this one.

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  3. Great review. I didn't mind this novel . . . but what really drew me in was the whole Jack the Ripper element. So it'll be interesting where Maureen Johnson takes this series to.

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  4. I am so excited to read this book! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

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  5. Great Review. I have a copy but I don't want to read it.... not into the theme myself!

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  6. I loved this one. I totally agree--Rory is a character I can see myself hanging out with. I also think there's meant to be no spark between Jerome and Rory. He's not her ultimate love interest. I suspect.
    Ruby

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  7. Awesome review! I saw this at the bookshop but didn't buy it - because I wasn't really sure if I would like it. I've read mixed reviews on this one and I wasn't really sure if I was ready to dive into it. But now, my hopes are up again! Will give it a try. *adds it to to-buy-list* I love the way you describe it. And I'm loving books set in London and Europe. <3

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  8. I'm so intrigued by this one! It's more mystery than horror, right? I liked 13 Little Blue Envelopes, so I should give this one a shot.

    About the evil plan unfolding thing... I totally get that. It's like when a character has a whole chapter of dialogue after they've been stabbed and while I would have been originally sad, I kind of end up just thinking, "DIE ALREADY!" Not so much a good thing LOL.

    Great review!

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  9. Thanks for the lovely comments! <3 Definitely excited to see what Maureen has planned for us next, the story has a lot of potential.

    @Rubita - I have a theory on who Rory may end up with later on... which would hopefully make for an intriguing duo!

    @Precious - Yes, definitely give it a try! I think you'll like it. And I love books that have a foreign flavour... rather than set in the US, which we see so often!

    @Sonia - Yep, much more mystery than actual horror. LOL I know, those drawn-out deaths always make me "agghh!" - they conveniently say everything they need to before they finally die. Psh!

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