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

21 out of 22 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

7 out of 7 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 October 31, 2011

    YES! YES! YES!!!

    I'm going to keep this review short and sweet: this book was AMAZING!!!! It had me laughing and wanting to learn more about Jack the Ripper. Although it's a bit gruesome, it wasn't gruesome enough to stop reading the book or lose my apetite! Now please reward yourself with the possesion of this book! Get it and read it!!!!!

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    good read

    I enjoyed reading the name of the star. very hard to put down and intriguing.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    readers will enjoy Rory vs. the neo Ripper in the enjoyable opening Shades of London

    Excited teenager Rory Deveaux leaves Benouville, Louisiana bayou to attend the Wexford boarding school in London for a year while her parents Tulane professors on sabbatical are in Britain. However, she finds much of the city is in fear as Rippermania terrorizes the city with what the cops know is a copy cat serial killer. This psychopath has mutilated and murdered several people, but never appears on the security cameras that are in the city.

    As she struggles with the social customs of the school, Rory meets Jerome and her roommate Jazza. Rory and Jazza are walking together when the Louisiana native notices the killer; her new friend fails to see anything. Rory realizes she sees ghosts that other people and the cameras fail to notice. She tells the police who assume she is a typical American teen. However, the killer notices Rory as a threat and plans to bury her.

    The key to this young adult paranormal serial killer thriller is the cast, whether they are sightless norms or those who see ghosts, every important player seem genuine. The suspenseful story line is somewhat gory, but jocularity lightens the impact. With satirical asides on the security of the London surveillance network and the new age vamps and weres, readers will enjoy Rory vs. the neo Ripper in the enjoyable opening Shades of London.

    Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2012

    Loved it

    This is one of my fav books.A great read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Johnson creates a tense mystery all her own

    Rory Deveaux's parents decided a long time ago that it would be good for all of them to spend some time living outside of Louisiana which is how Rory finds herself arriving at a London boarding school the September of her senior year while her parents begin a teaching sabbatical in Bristol.

    Rory isn't sure what to expect of England much less her English school--especially when she finds out she will be playing hockey every single day as part of her curriculum. Rory's expectations become unimportant soon enough when something strange happens.

    Someone is killing London women and mimicking the gruesome crimes of Jack the Ripper--the notorious killer who terrorized London in the autumn of 1888 without ever being captured or even identified. The modern-day murders leave few leads. Nothing shows up on camera. No one sees anything. Still the murders continue as "Rippermania" grips the city.

    In the midst of the murders something even stranger happens to Rory. She sees a man the night before a body is found on school grounds. Rory knows what she saw. But her roommate was with her and saw nothing. It can't be coincidence. But can it really be the New Ripper?

    An outsider in every way, Rory soon finds herself at center of the investigation of the Ripper murders. As she learns more about the crimes and the suspect, Rory learns she is also at the center of something else--something stranger and possibly much more dangerous in The Name of the Star (2011) by Maureen Johnson.

    The Name of the Star is the first book in Johnson's Shades of London series.

    Starting with details from the original Ripper murders, Johnson creates a tense mystery all her own in The Name of the Star. Suspense blends with the supernatural as Rory learns more about the Ripper (new and old) and also about her own strange connection to the investigation.

    Rory is a completely likable, authentic heroine. Her take on London and English boarding school, colored by her Southern sensibilities, adds much needed wit and humor to what could have been an otherwise horribly grim story.By the middle of the novel Johnson turns everything upside down taking the story in a surprising direction and introducing many of my favorite characters.*

    In addition to her usual humor, Johnson keeps the writing her tense building suspense to nearly unbearable levels by the last quarter of the novel.

    In addition to being a mystery with a unique setting, The Name of the Star is filled with twists and not a few surprises that will keep readers guessing well past the last page--not to mention leaving readers extremely eager for the next Shades of London book.

    The Name of the Star is an exceptional start to what I fully expect to be a brilliant series.

    *Team Stephen forever! In all seriousness though, I think the latter half of the novel is more indicative of the direction the series will take in the next book and I'm really excited to see if I'm right. Reading more about Stephen is just an added bonus.

    Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Heist Society by Ally Carter, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    I COULD NOT PUT THE BOOK DOWN

    It was ahmazing believe me first of all im moving to london after i read the book to fight ghost and completly fall in love with stephen because he just needs somebody to love and rory eh she was ahdorable but the true killer at the end of the book stole the whole story and kept me on the edge of my seat

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    I loved this book! It had just a hint of sass and teenage humor(

    I loved this book! It had just a hint of sass and teenage humor(Example: "You told him I had Period Fever!") but I have to be honest and say that the cover was what first caught my eye.
    It was a modern twist on a classic tale that anyone who enjoys humor, mystery, teenage romance, and a slight bit of horror.

    Not to mention I LOVE how Maureen Johnson wrote their accents! I was dying!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    Great read

    Very interesting and entertaining take on Jack the Ripper. With the murderer following the same timeline as the in 1888, I was kept in suspence waiting to see what would happen just as the characters were. The dialogue and Rory's internal voice had me laughing at parts. For those who left comments about the story not being realistic, all I can say is, really?
    I also liked that there was an end to this book. No huge cliff-hanger leaving a reader feeling unfulfilled, just the potential for more adventure. It is definitely worth reading and recommending to friends. I am excited to see Rory's story continuing with the next book due out in Feb!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing!!

    At first I was afraid this was another one of those books where the girl gets conked in the head and she's magically taken back to Merry Olde England during the Jack the Ripper times. In fact its nothing of the sort and its a truly wonderful book about Rory and her life at a boarding school in London. I love how Ms. Johnson really makes you feel part of the setting. I found out so much more about how school are in England and what all goes on over there. I really like how she weaves in stories from the original Jack the Ripper murders in the 1800's in with the ones going on in modern day London. Rory is such a spunky, bright girl and I was laughing so much at her view on things. I think the romance is so nice between her and Jerome. I love how Ms Johnson's writing can make you get that giddy first love feel for him too. I really loved Rory's roommate Jezza. She's sweet and yet she will do anything for Rory.
    This is a definite must-read for anyone who likes some history, mystery and a little romance all thrown into one roller coaster of 372 pages.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    Really great book.

    I read it and couldn't put it down. I would recommened it to any teenage girl. Not really the best little kid book because it talks about murder and blood, but it was an amazing read. Makes you really apprecitate life. LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    Loved it!

    I was capitvated

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2014

    Chilling

    This book was amazing! It kept my attention the whole time that I was reading, which resulted in my finishing in three days! This well-written thriller is definatly going into my list of favorites. I highly reccomend this to anyone looking for a good mystery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    Love love love it

    I loved the book its was mystreious book

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  • Posted November 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I have finally joined in the modern Rippermania - took me long e

    I have finally joined in the modern Rippermania - took me long enough! The Jack the Ripper story Maureen Johnson created is one of a kind. It's not directly a retelling of the most famous murdering phantom of our history, but a new kind of paranormal, mysterious, yet romantic, boarding-school story with a ghostly chill and thrilling modern day crime case. Maureen really did consider most of my favourite YA elements, man she's good!

    The story begins with a murder comitted in frank sight of a CCTV camera, with the murderer remaining absent on the screen, invisible, like a ghost. And ghosts are definitely a major part of this very unconventional ghost story. I really liked the way Maureen Johnson rolled up the new Ripper’s story and how he came to commit all those murders, his methods and his motifs.
    Maureen drew a pretty realistic picture of what such a thing as a new Ripper would mean to a city like London.

    Of course THE NAME OF THE STAR wouldn’t be as intriguing and gripping as it is, if Maureen Johnson hadn’t processed the original Jack the Ripper cases and embedded them into Aurora's story in small and scary portions. I actually had to look up the crime scene picture of the Mary Kelly murder and a shudder went down my spine. I’m glad that Maureen wasn’t too reluctant on holding back the gory details for the modern day murders in London.

    THE NAME OF THE STAR resembles a brilliant combination of wise chosen YA elements. The boarding school setting means a new start and an adventurous year abroad for Rory. Boarding schools are a symbol of romantic escapades, cat fights and the beginning of new friendships.
    So Wexford as Rory’s new home for the next months was a perfect choice to set up the story. It’s located in London and with that makes it the center of public attention during the ongoing murder series. The crime and mystery factor of THE NAME OF THE STAR are pretty high set, although I wasn’t as scared as I hoped to be.
    The 1st person point of view by Rory is supplemented by a few scenes from a 3rd person perspective on a witness or victim getting in contact with the new Ripper. They add to the overall touch of the murderer's creepy everpresence in the entire city of London.

    The secondary characters are to some extend just as peculiar and amiable as Rory. We even get some romantic sparks. Can you believe it? A boarding school romance in London, hooray! I have to admit though, that I hoped for Rory to run off with a different guy out of her circle of new friends. Something about Stephen made me instantly feel drawn to him and I’m convinced Rory should feel that pull, too! The secret organization of ghost hunters he's a part of visibly enrichens the whole story.
    I always imagined Rory to be like Maureen herself. Slightly eccentric, smart and jumping in front of a killer to safe her friends before even thinking about it for a second. She was exactly the right character choice for the story of the name of the star and I’m looking forward to new revelations about ghosts, her abilities, the organization behind the ghost hunter Team of Boo, Stephen and Callum and more crime cases.


    5/5 ***** THE NAME OF THE STAR – Supremely satisfying and delightfully spooky!

    This book gives you the creeps, but not in a bad way. Maureen Johnson invented some kind of pleasant creeps, that make you want to read on and on for the entire night, regardless the gory details and machinations of a crazy murderer mastermind. I could read a whole shelf full of these kind of books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2013

    GET THIS BOOK

    I love this book this book is worth every dime

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    Loved it

    This was surprisingly well done. Quite well written and (miracle of miracles) a wonderful female protagonist/narrator

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    GET THIS BOOK!

    I flew through this book in 2 days it was soo good! You will surely enjoy it. Its full of romance and drama and supernatural stuff.. just what i like. READ THIS BOOK

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2013

    Read it

    This a fantastic book and so is the second one. I cant wait for the third. BTW big suprise in the third and remember rory needs to be careful who she befriends. And ps if u think u like jerome just u wait and see. :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2013

    Love this bookand Love thid Love this book butt Love this book but.........

    I really loved this book i read it in two days it is like the best book i have ever read the romance was also a genius touch but in the following book which i do recomend it does not have any romance if at all any jerome is not even in the book and aurora meets someone else bummer they were such a great couple together a and j so if u loved their romancing and are waiting to read the next book for more do not get your hopes up but it is still action packed that is like the only plus. Thanks for reading and another book i recomend is i yhink it is like the missing series it consists of like found, torn,missing,etc. But i totally recomend rhis book u should purchase it now do not wait just do it or u could get ripped by the ripper yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):);):):)!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This book is all I think about! I finished reading it in 2 days!

    This book is all I think about! I finished reading it in 2 days! And told my friends what it was about and now everyone's reading it! It's really one of my favorite books ever and if you're unsure of buying you HAVE to buy it!
    Stop reading this and buy it right now. You won't regret it, I promise it.
    (In the recommendations I also add The Hunger Games series if anyone in the world hasn't already read it...)

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