I’ve pointed this out before, but I feel like I should again. I’m not a very good reviewer, so don’t expect much of an in depth analysis.
I’ve said it before. I don’t read many books, and the few I do read, I listen to the audio books. However, when I heard that Maureen Johnson, one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter was doing a supernatural thriller, I thought, oh well, I guess I kind of should read it. Then I head it was about Jack the Ripper. That sold it. I’m really glad I read this book.
The Name of the Star is the first book in The Shades of London series. I can’t wait for the next one. I think I spent half the book holding my breath. It was amazing, go read it!
The Name of the Star was so good, I couldn’t even stop listening to it long enough to watch the Patriots beat the Jets. I can’t think of a higher compliment.
Who you gonna call? Admittedly, the Ghostbusters had much cooler equipment. I’ll take a proton pack over a terminus any day, but The Shades of London are much cooler, I think. I think it has to do with the covertness of the Shades as opposed to the Ghostbusters ‘here we are’ approach. Yes, if it wasn’t clear, The Shades of London are essentially government sanctioned Ghostbusters. They go around London using their terminuses to dissipate ghosts, though interestingly they don’t really know what happens to them. Are they sending them on? Are they destroying them? Who knows? I’m quite sure this will be a big part of future books.
The book centers on Rory, short for Aurora. She’s a seventeen-year-old girl from New Orleans in London at a boarding school called Wexford for her senior year of high school. She’s very much a fish out of water trying to figure out things in a new place, which is as different from her old life as can possibly be. I think she’s a very easy character to identify with. Hasn’t everyone felt out of place at one time or another?
After she has a brush with death, choking at dinner one night, she begins to see people that others can’t. Meanwhile, London is gripped with panic as Jack the Ripper copycat killings begin to happen around London.
Rory ends up right in the middle of the ripper murders when she sees a man near the site where one of the bodies is found…at Wexford. The story is expertly weaved moving from Rory’s effort to fit into her new life to the new Ripper murders, and Rory’s connection to them. Of course her sort of maybe boyfriend is a Ripper fanatic.
One of the most important things with any fiction is setting up the “rules”. Johnson does an amazing job setting up the rules for what the ghosts can and can’t do, how they look, and the way they interact with the living.
One of the things that drew me to this story was the Jack the Ripper angle. I love mysterious things. I frequently watch shows on History Channel like MysteryQuest, Ancient Discoveries, Ancient Aliens, Investigating History, and Brad Meltzer’s Decoded, among others. I’ve seen a few documentaries on Jack the Ripper as well as the amazing Johnny Depp movie From Hell based on the comic book by Alan Moore. So, going in, I knew quite a bit about Jack the Ripper and wasn’t at all disappointed in how that was used.
I wish I were better at summarizing, because I don’t think I’ve done a very good job of it here, but take my word for it. This book is amazing. I can’t wait for the next one in the series.
Lastly, if anyone in Hollywood is paying attention, MAKE THIS BOOK INTO A MOVIE. It would be an amazing movie.
Thanks for reading!