Saturday, October 1, 2011

Review: The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson


The Name Of The Star 
by Maureen Johnson

Series: Shades of London (#1)

Pages: 352
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Published: October 1st, 2011
IBSN: 9780007432264

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 serial killer emulating the gruesome murders of Jack The Ripper is filling modern day London with both terror and morbid curiosity. Rory, an American student, will cross paths with the copycat murderer and be left wondering if he's really the weirdest thing she's to encounter.

Maureen Johnson is one of my favourite authors, maybe even one of my very favourite people (just visit her on Twitter to see what I'm on about). The reason I'm mentioning this is as a disclaimer: my review is so very biased, because Maureen can do no wrong in my eyes.

The writing style was smooth and eloquent and natural to the teenaged protagonist. Rory's voice was effortlessly evoked through a dry tone with inherent humour in the prose. She was relatable and immediately likeable, reminiscent of an old friend.

Maureen Johnson remains one of my favourite romance writers, with Rory and Jerome's relationship more relatable than most. She doesn't specialise in stunningly attractive and mysterious boys sweeping the girl off her feet, but normal, funny guys with crazy hair awkwardly wooing them. The characters are real, and their relationships are realistic.

The premise is original, and executed brilliantly. The plot had its fair share of unexpected twists and was paced in the fashion typical of books first in a series, slowly introducing the world and the major plot arc. Johnson created an eerie and vivid without bogging us down with excess descriptions.

If Maureen's creepy atmosphere and wry character tone won you over, I'd recommend her novel Devilish -- another paranormal that reads more like a horror than a paranormal. If she hasn't yet won you over, I recommend you let her soon.

I give The Name Of The Star a 4 out of 5.