BOOK REVIEW: The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson

GENRE: Young Adult – Fantasy
FORM: Audiobook

NARRATOR: Nicola Barber

SERIES: Shades of London – Book 1

SYNOPSIS (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.

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.

REVIEW:  So I have concluded that this book would have been a lot better had I not read reviews/synopsis/blogs prior to reading this book.  I’m thinking that the plot line and twists would have been a lot more exciting and impacting had I not already known the basic premise.  So instead of taking it all in, I’m listening to this audio and dysecting the foreshadowing that I may or may not have picked up on and everything else under the sun.

So the book reminds me a lot of Harry Potter in it’s description of the school, and how the school ran, however; I am not from England and may be oblivious…this really might be how schools in England are run, and that is why.  I didn’t not like this part of the book, I just noticed the similarities.  And I’m sure I’m about the millionth person to point this out.  So yeah.  

That’s okay, though.  I really enjoyed this book.  The idea behind it, the mystery unraveling.  It did feel a little bit Scooby-Doo when the villain revealed every detail of his story.  Not that I didn’t want to know the whens and whys, but it is a teensy bit stereotypical villain-esk character trait to have the entire thing unraveled by the sociopathic assumption that everything is going to happen just as said villain envisioned?!  BUT, somehow, from what I know of Maureen Johnson via blog/twitter stalking – this was intended and what would be right for her I think. 

I like Rory…a lot.  She was just pretty awesome, a risk taker, but she also has a respect for authorities and doing what is right as well.  However, her small romance – I’m not sure how I feel about her and Jerome.  The relationship seemed very – on the sidelines, or almost non-existent.  I wasn’t feeling the chemistry at all.  I was actually hoping she’d drop him and go after the young hottie police guy who’s name is slipping my memory at the moment…but alas I suppose there IS an age difference there, huh?  Character relationship between Rory and all of her friends would be something I’d like to see better established in future books, because that sort of fell short in my opinion…which is a bit surprising to me after reading the Blue Envelope Series.


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