“Durward Street, East London, August 31 4.17am
THE EYES OF LONDON WERE WATCHING CLAIRE JENKINS. She didn’t notice them, of course. No one paid attention to the cameras. It was an accepted fact that London has one of the most extensive CCTV systems in the world. The conservative estimate was that there were a million cameras around the city, but the actual number was probably much higher and growing all the time.”
Louisiana’s Rory Deveaux moves to England for her parents to take a sabbatical in Bristol. Choosing her school wisely she enrols in posh boarding school, Wexford so that she can experience more from life. What she doesn’t expect is someone carrying out copy cat style murders of Jack the Ripper on the day she lands. “Rippermania” takes over London and while everyone is trying to figure out who the killer is, Rory finds herself face to face with him. There’s just one problem; her friend Jazza was with her when Rory saw him… and she didn’t see a thing.
When the back of this book tells you that its an “edge of your seat” thriller… It ain’t kidding. I gobbled up The Name of the Star in a matter of hours and I don’t think I stopped to think about anything else the whole time. Johnson creates an amazing atmosphere throughout the entire book and has an excellent twist on ways of dealing with ghosts.
The plot that flows through this book is amazing. Rory is new to town when the killings start happening. The perspective is mostly first person, taken from Rory but we do get the odd chapter which is written in a third person from another character’s perspective. These chapters fit in with the story brilliantly and really add depth. I especially loved Veronica Atkins’ chapter which really set the ghost story aspect up. There was mystery, suspense and some ‘romance’ all thrown into this book and I really did love every minute of it. I know that Johnson’s stuff is mainly contemporary fiction so I was unsure when I heard this was paranormal but I think her take on paranormal was really well done and there was a good balance of it in the book.
The characters were interesting. I liked Rory, she was fun and easy going. I did think for someone so laid back she seemed a bit too uptight about being an American in England but other than that she was ok, not too shy but not to in your face. Saying that I didnt love her, I think she could have had a bit more to her but she was a decent main character. I loved Jazza, she was exactly the kinda friend you need around and I loved the way she was goody-goody but always set out to piss off Charlotte. Jerome was also a pretty cool character. I loved how his journalistic attributes really came out and how shy he was about Rory.
Then we get onto those with “the sight” I loved the idea of a police department to deal with ghosts. It is an awesome idea! Callum was a proper boy-ish boy, he reminded me of my brother a bit. He was sporty and you could kinda tell, but you didnt get to find out that much about him. Stephen was an intellectual, but still pretty young, this didnt mesh with me and I kinda saw him in my head as a Keanu Reeves character, kinda in his 30s with a permanent long face but this wasnt right as he was meant to be around Rory’s age. He was a bit of a misery but I got to like him a lot. Then Boo… well upon finishing the book I cant help but like her… but at first she seriously pissed me off. I would have gone mental with someone following me around like she did to Rory. I swear I would have punched her if I was Rory, or Jazza. I didn’t like her until we found out why she was doing what she was doing… then she got better, but I never really loved her either.
The characters were definitely good for the story but none of them really jumped out that much… I also really didnt get the whole thing between Rory and Jerome.. one minute they’d be talking, next they’d be making out and that just seemed to happen, like without warning or anything… there was no romantic air between them. I kinda thought their making out was added as an after thought and not really entwined into the story properly which annoyed me a little but maybe more will come of it in the next book as I do believe this is a series.
Overall I really recommend The Name of the Star because its a great story. The character grow on you and the writing, for the most part, is brilliant… obviously, its Maureen Johnson! If you are looking for a great paranormal romance then this stoy isn’t for you but if youre just looking for the paranormal? Read this!
The Name of the Star is published by HarperCollins children’s book and will be available to buy in stores and online from Thursday 29th September. My copy was kindly sent to me by publishers in return for an honest review.