Thursday, 22 March 2012
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Series: Shades of London #1
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Rory Deveaux has moved to England from Louisiana to start a new life at a boarding school. The day Rory arrives in London's famed East End a shockingly familiar murder heralds the start of Rippermania. With the police stumped as the copycat killings continue, people become increasingly obsessed with Jack the Ripper. But when Rory sees their prime suspect lurking on school grounds she is dragged into a secret world she could never have imagined...because her friend Jazza was with her and she didn't see anyone.
This is the first book in the new Shades of London series and one that I've been really looking forward to reading. I live in London and I love reading about Jack the Ripper so this was a really fun book for me to read. The London of the book is pretty accurate with several places and events being particularly well described. The author has managed to capture the city on page and it makes for a fascinating read.
While the pace of the book maintains a fairly steady pace throughout, the plot itself is tightly written with a minimum of info-dumping. There are a bunch of twists and turns and while some were expected (like that Rory's time in London wouldn't be normal), others caught me totally off guard. The mystery element is particularly well written and really sucks the reader in to the point that by the end of the book I was so invested in the characters and storyline that I literally couldn't put it down.
Rory is an interesting main character. It was funny watching an all-American girl get exposed to how differently we do things in the UK and her surprise at some things (like our drinking laws) helps to make her character seem realistic. I also liked her friend/roommate Jazza who kept things normal and love interest Jerome, although once Rory's life becomes increasingly intertwined with the Ripper case the more mundane people in her life seem to fade into the background.
All in all this was a great read and I can't wait for The Madness Underneath.