By Elizabeth Wroten
Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
On 20, Feb 2013 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten
The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.
Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.
So, this book thoroughly creeped me out, but I am not above scaring the pants off myself then regretting it for several nights afterward. But hindsight is always 20/20.
The Name of the Star isn’t the most well-crafted of books, but it sure did keep me turning the pages well past midnight so obviously literary merit didn’t really matter. The first 100-150 pages did take a leisurely pace developing the story, setting the scene and introducing the characters, which could have been irritating, but I think it actually served to make the plot twists and turns creepier. From that point on some of the strange goings-on and mysterious pieces began to come together and fall into place and it got really spooky really fast.
I have to say it irked me that Rory is from New Orleans. I know this is one of my own personal quirks, but I always feel like authors choose to set creepy stories there or have characters with special “talents” from NOLA because it’s a place associated with voodoo, cemeteries and general creepiness. I can’t say that that is truly the motivation here or elsewhere, but it always feels that way to me. Especially since there really was no reason Rory couldn’t have been from Atlanta or Sacramento or anywhere else.
Besides that minor irritation, I stayed up late reading it and got up early to finish it.