Review: The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is Book One in the Shades of London set. I found it immensely enjoyable, and different from most paranormal stories. Rory is an American from Louisiana, sent to live in a boarding school in London while her parents teach law at a university in Bristol. She finds life at the boarding house, esp. an English one, to be confusing at first, but she is determined, unlike a lot of sulky teens, to make the most of the experiment, and she lucks out in the roommate department. Things go along swimmingly, a nice young man enters the picture as a possible love interest, and she seems to love the food. She struggles some with the course work, as it is advanced, but generally she is happy and content in her little circle. Then one day, something happens to her that she can’t explain, and life is never the same. Set during a time of a copy-cat Ripper killer, who’s exploits match those of the famous serial killer, she gets drawn into this new set of crimes, and becomes an integral part of it. Her new talents lead her to new people, a new way of looking at things, and more adventures. Can’t say more without giving away too much. But it is a solidly entertaining book, with the promise of more to come. I truly enjoyed the glimpse of life in the school, and the teens reactions all seemed to be in sync with reality, without any of the teen angst thrown in that makes an adult like me want to hurl something. This is not a “Bella” book. The characters are nicely drawn, although I suppose they could be a little more fleshed out, like her boyfriend, but this is an action centered book, not a character driven one. The way the Ripper cases are handled, the excitement generated, the media frenzy, and the fear, seem palpably real. Some nice atmospheric touches with the underground, and a surprising heroine emerges at the end.

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