Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star
By Maureen Johnson
Review copy: From my library

From 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.

I loved this book. At the same time, I could see why many readers would NOT love this book. There are some things that could turn readers away. The first thing is Maureen Johnson. She has this truly distinctive voice that comes out in her characters so strongly, it is as if she is sitting across the table from you and telling you this story. This voice, however is so strong it can overpower her characters. Rory is very similar to Scarlet from Suite Scarlet, because they are both Maureen Johnson. That said, Johnson's voice is smart, quick witted and a little immature. I love it, but I could see it being a drawback for other readers I know. 
  Second, this story does not really get rolling until about 200 pages in. The entire beginning of this book is about Rory (American) getting used to Wexford (very English prep school).  As I am an Anglophile, I loved this. Others may lose patience getting to the meat of this story. Just a warning, if you have no interest in the melting of Cheez Whiz on radiators or many descriptions of  a typical day at an English boarding school, then this may drag for you. Me? I could not get enough. 
  On the paranormal end, this is a pretty tight ghost story. I thought the exciting bits were exciting, and the thrilling bits were thrilling. 
In short, I could not wait to get home just to pick up where I left off, and THAT is the mark of good book for me! I say bravo, and I am looking forward to the sequel. Also, a super thumbs up for the Doctor Who reference on page 22o. 

One final note, I dislike the US cover. I know, I know, its pretty, but it has NOTHING to do with the story. That is not really the Ripper (either Ripper) and who is the woman? Because Rory is not a redhead. Or dead. Is is Mary Kelly? Just saying.....
I don't like the UK cover either. If that is Rory (is it?) she looks quite dead. The hair matches the description at least. 


Christi said...

Thanks for the heads-up...I borrowed this from the library, but I'm taking it back and putting it back on my to-read pile. Right now my "must-reads" list is too long to waste 200 pages trying to get interested in a book. Glad you liked it, though!