Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review: The Name of the Star, Mauren Johnson

Publisher:Putnam Juvenile
Pages:370 (Hardback)
Genre: YA, paranormal
Release:September 2011
Source: Review copy from BEA
Challenge: None this year, read in 2011
Nice to know:The first book in Johnson's new series Shades of London.

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.

A Great Storyteller

Maureen Johnson has her own way of telling a story. She writes with humour and entusiasm, and her personality shines through the pages of the book.

In the Name of the Star we get to meet Rory Deveraux. She arrives in London to go to a boarding school, men her stay in this city will be a lot more thrilling than she could ever have imagined. Soon a series of murders takes place, every murder a copy of one of Jack the Ripper's murders. Rory finds herself a witness to one of them, but what has she actually seen?

I had huge expectations for this book. I am deeply fascinated by the myths surrounding Jack the Ripper, and I have read a lot of books about this infamous murderer. I also happen to love London and I love stories that takes place here.
The English will play hockey in any weather. Thunder, lightning, plague of locusts... nothing can stop the hockey. Do not fight the hockey, for the hockey will win.

Johnson's book is off to a good start, and I like her way of writing a story. As I mentioned earlier, I think she is a great storyteller. She does not take herself too seriously, and neither does the characters in her book. She writes with so much humour and spunk, and avoids the big clich├ęs. She also have a lot of funny observations when it comes to the English people and their culture.

Rory is an interesting and great character who seems to embody a lot of Johnson's spirit. She also has a natural and believable development throughout the book.

There is not a lot of romance and love in this book, this aspect takes second place to the big mystery surrounding the murders. I do not mind that. Sometimes the love story takes up to much space in YA - fiction, in the Name of the Star this have been given a natural place. Not too much and not too little.

Kissing is something that makes up for a lot of the other crap you have to put up with in school and as a teenager in general.

No guy had ever asked me if I wanted to talk, not like that. Not like a talk, talk kind of talk - if this was, in fact, a talk, talk "can we talk?" Or whatever.
The book has a thrilling beginning, but the suspense is not sustained throughout the book. There is, though, some interesting twists to the mystery, the problem is it takes too long for anything to really happen. I sat and wanted more as I read and flipped the pages. But for those of you who love paranormal YA, there is a lot of things in the book you would enjoy. The ending came as a complete surprise to me, nothing is what it seems.

I will pick up the next installment in this story because I loved Johnson's writing. The book does not have a cliffhanger, so you can pick it up if you do not normally buy a book in a series.

Other reviews:
The Book Smugglers (OBS: spoilers)
Sam Downing
YA Bibliophile

1 comment:

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

this sounds so good! thanks for the great review!

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