Customer Reviews for

The Name of the Star (Shades of London Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

A witty tale of intrigue and adventure

Take an American girl from Bénouville, Louisiana. Relocate her to a boarding school in London. Throw in a couple of ghosts, a dallop of mystery and a dash of romance and you've got the page-turning, spine-tingling, keeps-you-up-at-night-to-finish-reading-it novel that i...
Take an American girl from Bénouville, Louisiana. Relocate her to a boarding school in London. Throw in a couple of ghosts, a dallop of mystery and a dash of romance and you've got the page-turning, spine-tingling, keeps-you-up-at-night-to-finish-reading-it novel that is The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.

Rory, has a witty and spunky voice - which I found to be similar to Maureen's Twitter-chatter style. The story opens up with Rory giving the reader a very brief background of her family and home, the reason she decided to go to Wexford, and her arrival at her new school. We meet Claudia, the house mistress, and Charlotte, the head girl - for some reason I blended the two characters in my head and had a bit of trouble sorting them out in the end, however, this isn't pertinent to the tale. We are introduced to Jazza (Rory's cautious roommate), and Jerome (Rory's Ripper-addicted interest, of sorts); both were such fun characters to read that I found myself looking forward to seeing more of them.

The main plot is the ghost story/mystery that is weaved throughout. There is a killer on the loose, one who is copying the Jack the Ripper slayings. Yet, in a city with CCTVs everywhere, the killer seems to be invisible to the police; that is, until Rory thinks she spotted someone out and about, near the site of one of the killings. Once she tells the police her story, the plot picks up pace and takes you on a whirlwind adventure with eccentric roommates, mysterious strangers, and so much Jack the Ripper information that you come away feeling well versed on the topic - and a somewhat creepier for it.

I love reading Maureen's novels because she is very descriptive about places and situations, so much so that you feel as though you're walking next to the characters - The Name of the Star is written in this fashion. I also enjoyed the bits of family information that Rory litters throughout her narrative; funny little anecdotes to help describe the way she's feeling. One thing that I appreciated about the story is that, compared to other protagonists who have supernatural abilities thrusted upon them, Rory reacts in a very normal and completely expected way. She experiences denial and disbelief in a believable way.

The Name of the Star is the first in a trilogy, and while this story ties up a lot of loose-ends, the ending leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction and curiosity as to what will happen next.

I utterly enjoyed reading it, and highly recommend this to anyone who is a mystery fan.

PS - there are no vampires.

posted by Shanella on November 2, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A disappointing read with a promising sequel.

The cover:

I like this one. It does represent Rory and some place of London.

The storyline:

Well, well. This was an interesting read. The story begins when Rory, the main character, goes to a boarding school in London, she settles there and meets new friends. T...
The cover:

I like this one. It does represent Rory and some place of London.

The storyline:

Well, well. This was an interesting read. The story begins when Rory, the main character, goes to a boarding school in London, she settles there and meets new friends. Then, while she’s settling, a murder happens, what’s so special about it is that it has the same characteristics of the victims of the infamous Jack the Ripper. She starts to fall in love with this boy, Jerome, she met while the murders go on.

Then, on the fourth murder, she suddenly becomes the only witness the police has. After interrogating her, she thinks something weird is happening and that’s when she realizes that she’s seeing the ghost of the ripper, because the ripper is a ghost.

That’s when she gets a new roommate whose later found to be a police woman protecting Rory. They become friends along with other two guys who explain things to her and tell her that she has a special gift.

The ripper shows up again and this time he wants Rory. He goes on threating her and the other two guys until she gives up and go with him. Later on, Boo (the new roommate) sends her “ghost” friend to save Rory. She saves Rory but ends up dead too.

At the end, Rory discovers something new and interesting about herself.

What I liked:

The story has some sense in it. I did like how Maureen included Jack the Ripper in this book and how she described every murder very vividly.
The main protagonist, Rory, was brave. And very smart at the beginning.
The writing style was good. Not great but good.
The characters were good.
What I disliked:

The pace in the story was killing me. At the beginning, I got very intrigued by the concept of the book, then the flow of the events was going slowly for me.
I hated how everything seemed easy to happen or to do in this story.
I hated seeing Rory becoming naïve.
The ending wasn’t good at all. I expected more in it and thought maybe what didn’t please me in the beginning and the middle of the book will do at the end, I was disappointed.
I was disappointed not to find the story horrifying. I was expecting it to scare me to death, unfortunately, it didn’t :(.
Why I went for the audiobook eventually:

I started reading the e-book first, but when things started to bore me, I decided to get the audiobook, but guess what? Even the amazing English accents didn’t cheer me up :s. So, thanks to the audiobook, I devoured the story whole even though I was going to stop reading it.

The characters:

Rory is the main protagonist. She’s from the US but goes to a boarding school in England. She’s smart and brave as well as loving and kind.

Jerome is the nice guy. He’s been mostly kept out of story because he had no idea what was going on.

Jazza is Rory’s first roommate and later best friend. She’s kind, nice and smart too. That’s probably why she and Rory became friends in the first place ^_^.

Boo is super cool. She has this funny and cool British accent that I love. She’s been mysterious but later we found out that she’s as nice and cool as Jazza, almost.

The other worth mentioning characters are: Stephen and Callum.

Conclusion:

This could’ve been a great book with the writing style and the characters. Unfortunately, it disappointed me a lot.

Will I be reading the sequel?

Definitely. The sequel has the potential to be way better and I’m having great expectations about it. Let’s hope I won’t be disappointed agai

posted by Ranousha on February 17, 2012

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  • Posted February 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A disappointing read with a promising sequel.

    The cover:

    I like this one. It does represent Rory and some place of London.

    The storyline:

    Well, well. This was an interesting read. The story begins when Rory, the main character, goes to a boarding school in London, she settles there and meets new friends. Then, while she’s settling, a murder happens, what’s so special about it is that it has the same characteristics of the victims of the infamous Jack the Ripper. She starts to fall in love with this boy, Jerome, she met while the murders go on.

    Then, on the fourth murder, she suddenly becomes the only witness the police has. After interrogating her, she thinks something weird is happening and that’s when she realizes that she’s seeing the ghost of the ripper, because the ripper is a ghost.

    That’s when she gets a new roommate whose later found to be a police woman protecting Rory. They become friends along with other two guys who explain things to her and tell her that she has a special gift.

    The ripper shows up again and this time he wants Rory. He goes on threating her and the other two guys until she gives up and go with him. Later on, Boo (the new roommate) sends her “ghost” friend to save Rory. She saves Rory but ends up dead too.

    At the end, Rory discovers something new and interesting about herself.

    What I liked:

    The story has some sense in it. I did like how Maureen included Jack the Ripper in this book and how she described every murder very vividly.
    The main protagonist, Rory, was brave. And very smart at the beginning.
    The writing style was good. Not great but good.
    The characters were good.
    What I disliked:

    The pace in the story was killing me. At the beginning, I got very intrigued by the concept of the book, then the flow of the events was going slowly for me.
    I hated how everything seemed easy to happen or to do in this story.
    I hated seeing Rory becoming naïve.
    The ending wasn’t good at all. I expected more in it and thought maybe what didn’t please me in the beginning and the middle of the book will do at the end, I was disappointed.
    I was disappointed not to find the story horrifying. I was expecting it to scare me to death, unfortunately, it didn’t :(.
    Why I went for the audiobook eventually:

    I started reading the e-book first, but when things started to bore me, I decided to get the audiobook, but guess what? Even the amazing English accents didn’t cheer me up :s. So, thanks to the audiobook, I devoured the story whole even though I was going to stop reading it.

    The characters:

    Rory is the main protagonist. She’s from the US but goes to a boarding school in England. She’s smart and brave as well as loving and kind.

    Jerome is the nice guy. He’s been mostly kept out of story because he had no idea what was going on.

    Jazza is Rory’s first roommate and later best friend. She’s kind, nice and smart too. That’s probably why she and Rory became friends in the first place ^_^.

    Boo is super cool. She has this funny and cool British accent that I love. She’s been mysterious but later we found out that she’s as nice and cool as Jazza, almost.

    The other worth mentioning characters are: Stephen and Callum.

    Conclusion:

    This could’ve been a great book with the writing style and the characters. Unfortunately, it disappointed me a lot.

    Will I be reading the sequel?

    Definitely. The sequel has the potential to be way better and I’m having great expectations about it. Let’s hope I won’t be disappointed agai

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    I dont know...

    This book was good in the beggining but then it got a little far fetched/wierd. If you like ghosts and creepy stuff you will like this book,if you dont then this might not be the book for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    I thought that the book was well written. Although the book star

    I thought that the book was well written. Although the book started out slowly. It took me about 9 or 10 chapters to get into the book. Normally, I don't keep reading books if I can't get into them, but I kept reading. Overall, the book was great but could have used a little more speed in the beginning.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    Flawed but still fun

    Fabulous story but I always get a little annoyed when I can see the plot twists coming chapters in advance... which I could. At times I felt th epace was a bit slow which kind of ruins the effect. Other then that I highly recommend it! DFTBA

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    3.5 - Great Story, Not-So-Great Characters

    I love the idea of ghost police and a modern Jack the Ripper. This story really does pull you in, but I didn't really find it to be "amazing." It's definitely not a page-turner, and the characters are unrealistic and boring. The main character, Rory, could really have been any number of nameless characters. She had no personality, and I felt as if I was reading a fan-fiction. The book held my attention, mostly because I was waiting for it to get better. The Rippermania does hold suspense though, but the book was something that was not worth wasting my time over.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Creepy and breathtaking!

    This book was another take on Jack the Ripper and it was very intriguing how it was not exactly what you think at first. Aurora or Rory as she has her friends call her experiences a life altering experience that sends her life catapulting into a direction that she had not intended to go. Her new friends overseas have no idea what one bad evening dinner would cause such an uproar in her world. She finds companionship in Jerome and the attraction is becoming stronger. She also gains another roommate that has an alternate adgenda. Boo is unlikely friends with Stephen, a very sexy young police officer that has several run ins with Rory. Once they find out what part Rory plays in the new Jack the Ripper killings, then they have no other choice but to let her in on their secret as well. Highly recommended for YA Paranormal lovers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 8, 2011

    A book that will keep you guessing

    Really 3.5 stars

    We've all heard stories about Jack the Ripper or other serial killers and wondered how people could do such things. In this day and age, with all of the technology we have, it seems like it would be nearly impossible to recreate these events. But when Rory Deveaux moves to London, that's exactly what starts happening...

    When Rory's parents told her that she could pick where she went to school for her senior year, she chose a boarding school in London. It's a hard enough adjustment for her to get used to a new city, a more advanced school, and living with a roommate. If that's not bad enough, someone has started recreating the murders of Jack the Ripper, and Rory's boarding school is in the area near the crime scenes. And then things really get strange. Rory sees a man that nobody else seems tobe able to see, not even her roommate who was with her. Then she gets a second roommate who never seems to do any schoolwork. Finally, there's a mysterious boy who always seems to be hanging out in the library. As Rippermania continues to sweep the city, life becomes increasingly more complicated for Rory. Could it be that she's the murderer's next target? And if she is...why?

    First of all, I love books set in foreign cities. I've only spent a few days in London, so it was great to explore more of this city in this book. I really enjoyed the history that was incorporated in this book. This book revolved around Jack the Ripper's infamous murders, and we were not spared any of the details. Although this book is from Rory's point of view, occasionally an outside perspective would be introduced that added to the heightened sense of Rippermania, which I found very effective. I also appreciated how the mystery is not as cut and dry as it first appears. There is more to the murderer than just his elusive qualities. There is, in fact, an entire world of ghosts and secret police hidden in London into which Rory finds herself inducted. This added paranormal element really made the book intriguing.

    I enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book and learning more of their backstories. When the action seemed stalled, the interaction among the characters balanced this. I did have one complaint about this interaction, however, and that was the romance between Rory and Jerome. It seemed almost out of place; I would have liked to have seen it developed more. I was also slightly disappointed with the murderer's reasoning behind his actions. While there is some closure at the end of this book, there is also an unexpected twist that should be interesting to watch play out in the next book.

    Complete with interesting characters, unexpected plot twists, and a little bit of history, The Name of the Star will keep you guessing and keep you reading right until the very end. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next!

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