Book Review – The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1)

Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m here to talk about The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, which was for one of the prompts of July’s readathons. The prompt was to read a book by your favourite author, which was quite difficult for me, as I don’t have a particular favourite author. So, I picked to read a book written by the author of some of my favourite books this year, the Truly Devious series. I’ve read and reviewed all four of the books this year, and absolutely loved them, so when my friend offered to lend me these, I was curious.

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him – the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

I was slightly skeptical when I first came across this book as I’m not a big fan of books that glorify Jack the Ripper, especially after reading the spectacular book The Five for last year’s Wolfson’s History Prize, and the book does continue the myth that the victims were sex workers, which simply wasn’t the case; it’s a far more complicated situation.

However, very little of the book is actually focused on the supposed return of Jack, and instead follows Rory as she uncovers a world that had no idea was real: a world of ghosts, and of the people who can see them. Sucked into the system by sheer chance, Rory is forced into difficult and dangerous situations that made for a genuinely exhilarating read, full of twists and turns, alive and dead.

As always, Maureen Johnson writes with a innate skill for weaving a web of mystery, and and writes a fantastic cast of characters, led by a protagonist who draws empathy and sympathy throughout the book, as well as the usual vein of humour that allows the books to tick over at a brilliant pace, and keeps attention gripped throughout.

Although I didn’t enjoy it as much as the Truly Devious books, I’ll be sure to read the rest of the series as I would be curious to see where the characters go next, especially given the twist at the end. If you’re looking for a witty, character driven mystery with a supernatural twist, you’ll enjoy this!

Here are the links to each of the Truly Devious reviews, because I’ll never miss an opportunity to talk about how brilliant they are!

Truly Devious
The Vanishing Stair
The Hand on the Wall
The Box in the Woods

Thanks for stopping by today, and be sure to stop by again soon for daily posts.


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