The Compulsive Reader: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

When her parents move to England her senior year, Rory Devereaux agrees to go with them, as long as she can attend boarding school in London. The school and the people in it are a far cry from her tiny southern hometown, not far from New Orleans, but Rory likes her new roommate and is enjoying her school (well, except for maybe the field hockey part). Then, a murder is committed near the school, an exact replica of the first of the Jack the Ripper murders. And none of the security cameras in the area ever caught a glimpse of the killer. It doesn't take long for everyone in London to realize that there is a Ripper copycat on the loose, throwing the entire city into mayhem. Rory thinks that she's safe from it all, despite her proximity to the murder scenes, but when she is questioned by a secret branch of the London police, Rory finds that she is a lot closer to the real killer than she thought.

Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star is a fascinating and unique book! It is a bit different from her earlier, humor-driven work, but the writing is just as good as ever, and while the book isn't necessary serious, the mystery of the brutal deaths and the threat to Rory does have a bit of a sobering effect. That being said, there is still a lot of great humor in The Name of the Star, and some fantastic, quirky characters that entertain to no end. Rory is an excellent narrator—she's hardworking, funny, loyal, and when the going gets tough, she's a pretty noble person, even if the circumstances terrify her. The boarding school setting is a great one, with lots of fun and drama, and it's the perfect location for the Rippermania to take place. You'll learn a lot about London and the history of the Jack the Ripper murders throughout this book, and the combination of real facts and places with the special, secret police force Rory becomes involved in (which is a bit reminiscent of the early episodes of the TV show Torchwood) makes this book hard to put down. The Name of the Star is an intriguing, creepy mystery with an awesome setting and a great cast of characters. If the only complaint about it is the cruel cliffhanger of an ending, then you definitely need to pick this one up!

Cover Comments: I like the gray of the cover, the girl's bright hair, and the shadow of the man in the background! Very mysterious! 

ARC picked up at BEA signing!

This one comes out tomorrow!


Jena said...

can't wait to read this one!! Great review! :)

Anonymous said...

Originally, I sort of wanted to pass this one up, but the more I read about it the more I'm interested.

Oddly enough, I don't like the cover, LOL.

But I do like your review

Liss Martz said...

I love this cover, it sounds great, too.

Mary @ BookSwarm said...

Ooh, hints of Torchwood? I'm there (okay, I've already preordered this one and am waiting breathlessly for it to arrive). Great review! though I do agree with Alex. Not a fan of the cover.

The book girl said...

I wasn't quite sure about this book-- I got an ARC of it recently-- because it seemed so different from the author's other work. But you've convinced me to give it a try! I'm sure I'll love it:)

Sarah Billington said...

I just finished reading this book today, and am somewhat troubled by the cover. I have NO idea who its depicting.
The protagonist has dark hair, and there are no male characters that look like or are dressed like that.
So I'm flummoxed.
It was a great book though.