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The Name of the Star (The Shades of London) Hardcover – September 29, 2011
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"Johnson fearlessly takes readers from . . . a cool innocent-abroad-with-iPod story to supernatural thriller. The tension ramps up exquisitely among cups of tea, library visits and the London Underground. The explosive ending is genuinely terrifying but never loses the wit, verve and humor that Rory carries with her throughout." - Kirkus
About the Author
Maureen Johnson (maureenjohnsonbooks.com) is the author of ten young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Let It Snow. She lives in New York City.
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Top Customer Reviews
Within 30 pages, I knew that Rory, the story's heroine, was one of my new book BFFs.
"I decided to deflect her attitude by giving a long Southern answer. I come from people who know how to draw things out. Annoy a Southern, and we will drain away the moments of your life with our slow, detailed replies until you are nothing but a husk of your former self and that much closer to death."
Rory doesn't take any guff from her British classmates. While she does stick out like a sore thumb, she doesn't hide. She shares her differences and love of Cheese Whiz with her classmates openly. It was refreshing to have a main female character embrace her differences and flaunt them. I wanted to be more like Rory in almost every way!
The details of the Ripper murders happen quite quickly as the replicated murders happen in the same timeframe as the original murders. Under the scrutiny of the 24-hour news cycle it was not difficult imagine the world waiting for the next murder to happen. It's crazy what constant access to news and security footage does to society. The history of the Ripper murders were shared via news updates which was helpful and made sense given the context of the story. It also allowed the characters to be out in the thick of it rather than stuck in a dank library.
The narration for the audiobook was well done. Nicola Barber slipped between various English accents and an American Southern accent easily. It seemed a bit odd that the Rory's speaking voice was Southern, but her internal thoughts and description of the events were non-accented. I'm not 100% certain I would have enjoyed the audiobook if everything from Rory's point of view was done with a Southern accent. It just seemed odd when I first started listening.
I did enjoy listening to The Name of the Star. The unsolved Ripper murders of old set against the backdrop of a modern copycat was a tantalizing and the resolution isn't quite what you expect. While this is a series, there is no huge cliffhanger, as a result, The Name of the Star can be read as a stand alone novel unless you wish to continue on Rory's journey.
This review was originally posted on Second Run Reviews.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson stars Rory, a teen from Louisiana, who goes to London to attend school. She is quickly met with headlines proclaiming there is a new Jack the Ripper serial killer on the loose. While Rory is trying to maneuver living with a roommate and crushing on a cute guy who also is obsessed with Jack, the killer seems to be aware of her in a scary way. Things get a bit more paranormal, but I'll let the reader discover that for themselves.
I really enjoyed the writing of this book. The setting and mood were very London-ish and the book was well researched. I loved Rory and her crazy family back in Louisiana, and I enjoyed getting to know some of the supporting cast, which I won't go into as to not spoil any readers.
I agree with some of the other reviewers that in the middle it seems to stagnate a bit, and I thought this a solid four star novel for a while. Not to mention, the romance seemed pretty lackluster. But with a paranormal plot twist, and a terrific ending-- the only way it could have ended--I was impressed enough to give it another half star.
I believe Johnson is just getting started and is a promising new writer, and I'll definitely be picking up the next installment.
"The Name of The Star"" was set up for sequels, and I was happy to find out that book two, The Madness Underneath, is available. I like this set up--London is a city that has been built and rebuilt so many times that it has layers of 'ghosts'--and Rory can help the Shades in London for awhile. After that there is the possibility that she return to Louisiana and/or New Orleans, a city with its own history of ghosts.
This is a fun read and is highly enjoyable. It's not high literature, but it's not suppose to be. The story won't make you think too hard, but it will whisk you away from your day-to-day for a few hours.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a great read! Very refreshing and well, creepy.Read more