The Name of The Star

The Name of The Star (Shades of London #1)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 372
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Rating: 4/5

Review: Alright so I first saw this book on the shelves a long time ago when it had an entirely different cover. I had picked it up off the shelf and read the back and knew instantly that it sounded like it was just for me.

London? Check.
Boarding School? Check.
Jack The Ripper's ghost? Mega Check.

Okay, that sounds a little weird but I have a strange fascination with the Jack The Ripper case. That period of time in history is interesting and it is both frightening and a little fascinating that the man responsible for such terror simply vanished. Did he die? Did he finish his task and then just stop? What was his task? Why was he killing? Who was he?

I did however, put the book back down and add it onto my TBR list. I didn't get to it until a year or so later, when I was leaving for a Trip to Europe for five weeks I made sure that I loaded my Kindle with all the books that I wanted to read so I'd have something to pass the time on the planes and trains during the trip.

This was one of them and after I finishing reading the first two books in the Divergent Series (Turns out I failed to download my copy of Allegiant before I left)

So I flipped through my kobo list to discover what I did have and this one was on there.

In my defense, I did not know this was a series when I started it, otherwise I would maybe have tried another book but instead I started this one. I'm actually glad I did, because I started (and finished) this book (and the second, I broke down and bought it when we finally had wifi)  right before I made it to London!

It was neat to go from having just read about these places she was discovering, the metro, her oyster card and then getting to experience it all for myself soon after.  I had a bit of difficulty getting into the story the first time I started it. The beginning was sort of slow to me the first time I tried, but I guess the circumstances of the trip changed that for me and when I pushed past the beginning I was hooked.

Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I got sucked into the story, a ghostly paranormal phenomenon that was happening now!

Story: Rory is a high school aged girl from America who finds herself at a London Boarding school because her parents got jobs teaching a a University in Bristol. She's quick to make friends (and enemies) and everything starts as a normal school experience (you know ignoring the gruesome murders that are taking place). That's until she has a near death experience (chew your food people)

Choking on a piece of beef seems like a ridiculous but totally relatable way to obtain a psychic power. She gets what's called 'The Sight' and eventually realizes she can see Ghosts. Awesome right? Or not so awesome because she is the only one who can see, and or stop the supposed Ripper once Rippermania takes hold of London.

The story has a slow start as I mentioned, but it is great as it sets up who the character is, where she came from, what her life is like and how she is adjusting to culture shock. The Ripper portion starts out as a secondary plot, something that is merely happening around them and then, once her powers are obtained, becomes the main focus of the story.

I really liked this book because it seemed to approach things in a more realistic or relatable way. While there were elements of the fantastical, Rory's everyday life was quite normal. There is Romance, but it's more of a casual I like you for now, but that could change, sort of thing rather than a 'Til death do us part, I'll die without you' sort of thing. Personally I liked this better, but to each their own.

Favourite Quotes: 

“Fear can't hurt you," she said. "When it washes over you, give it no power. It's a snake with no venom. Remember that. That knowledge can save you.”

“Welsh is an actual, currently used language and our next-door neighbors Angela and Gaenor spoke it. It sounds like Wizard."

“Keep calm and carry on. Also, stay in and hide because the Ripper is coming.”

Recommendation: I am honestly surprised I don't personally know more people who are into this series. I guess when you lead your explanation or recommendation with 'Jack the Ripper', it  tends to make the non-serial killer obsessed people shy away at first,  but it's brilliant. I try to recommend it to everyone I come across and if you like YA with wit, sarcasm, history and ghosts. Dooooo it.