Title: The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: YA/urban fantasy
Date Read: 10/02/2016 – 12/02/2016
After following Maureen Johnson on Twitter for something like three years, one of her books seemed the obvious choice for the “a book by an author you feel you should have read by now” item on my 2016 Reading Challenge. While this book wasn’t entirely what I expected, I did end up enjoying it and went straight to the library to pick up the second one afterward.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Rory Deveaux moves to England with her parents, and starts attending boarding school in London while her parents lecture at Bristol University. The same day as she arrives, the population of London is equally horrified and fascinated by a murder that mimics very closely the first murder of Jack the Ripper back in 1888. After several more murders and the city being on lock-down, Rory sees a man at the murder-site that no one else can. And that’s when things begin to get really weird.
I really enjoyed the combination of Rory adjusting to a new school combined with the reaction to the Rippermania. Johnson depicts the public’s macabre fascination with these types of events really well. While Rory is somewhere in the middle, her friends range from those who love the facts about the original case and are using it predict what will happen this time around, to others who find the whole thing sickening.
While it is fairly clear from the blurb that the story would involve ghosts, I was a little bit surprised about where it went with this plot. I don’t want to give away anything, but I will say I was a bit disappointed when the Jack the Ripper murders ended up being more of a means to the killer’s end rather than especially relevant.
Overall, a fun, quick read with some scary moments that made me get up and pull the blinds closed. Recommended for urban fantasy fans.