Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Book Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

24 Sep 2011

Title: The Name of the Star
Series: Shades of London #1
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Harper Collins Aus.
Release Date: 1st October 2011
From publisher via Netgalley (Thank you!)
Format: Ebook
Goodreads Synopisis:

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.

My Thoughts:

I’m quite ashamed to admit that I’d never heard of the name Jack the Ripper before, let alone knew what he was famous for. I’m actually a fan of crime fiction (and real crime) especially the whole mystery surrounding the perpetrators, so I’m glad Maureen Johnson introduced me to a new true crime story which I’ll be sure to research very soon.

 The Name of the Star was a mediocre read for me; I enjoyed it but it did not leave a lasting impression on me. The premise was fantastic (like I said, I love crime) however, the characters were vague and the writing style was just…average. I’ve never read any of Maureen Johnson’s books before but I have certainly seen her books around so naturally I was expecting a magnificent read, but The Name of the Star didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

I genuinely enjoyed reading about Jack the Ripper and as much as his murders grossed me out, I found it highly fascinating.(I mean, a serial killer who actually mutilates and cuts open his victims? I’ve only ever read about those!)  In The Name of the Star, women have winded up dead and murdered in almost the same way as the victims of Jack the Ripper over a century ago. There’s frenzy and fear in the country as the ‘new’ Jack the Ripper is believed to be back. I liked how Maureen Johnson was able to effectively link the history of Jack the Ripper with this modern day crime, creating fear yet excitement among the public.

The characters were…decent but weren’t exceptional or memorable. There were like a blur to me and easily forgotten; it wasn’t that the characters lacked depth or personality but they just didn’t leave an impression on me. I guess my favourite characters would have to be the minor ones – Boo (what an awesome name!) and Alistair, both whom were more interesting than the other characters. There was also the typical up-herself ‘it’ girl who instantly became the MC’s rival/enemy and usually readers (or at least me) would detest the enemy as well, but in this case, I personally found no reason to hate the girl. There wasn’t anything wrong with her; sure, she was a bit naggy and academically competitive but that was all. It definitely didn’t seem enough reason for everyone to hate her.

The writing style was another factor that caused me to lose interest in the novel. At times, I was so bored, I had to switch to another book and put this one on hold indefinitely. Like the characters, there was nothing wrong with the writing; it just wasn’t striking in any way. Even during the climax, the writing remained the same;it wasn’t intense or gripping and I didn’t feel compelled to read more.
Without being too spoilery, I should mention that I didn’t find the villain’s reason for attacking the victims legit. I wasn’t content with the explanation; I mean one must have an incredibly plausible explanation for committing such brutal crimes, right? ( No, wait, no one has the right to kill people, but I’ll make an exception here..)Yet the whole purpose behind the killings was so ordinary that murdering so many people was just plain unnecessary. But  I was still intrigued by the whole mystery surrounding the killer so this wasn’t a huge issue for me.

Overall, I found The Name of the Star a pleasant read but marred by a weak writing style. I may not have liked this as much I as wanted, but I’m looking forward to the second book. Hopefully I’ll like it better than The Name of the Star. 

Rating: 3 stars
"He's asking me out by asking me to ask you?" 

"I go completely mental too. Period fever. It's the worst."


  1. I am sorry to hear that this book is just so-so, but I am glad you got to learn about Jack the Ripper. How amazing that you hadn't heard of him before now- maybe he is more popular in the U.S.A.? :)

    Great review!

    I found you through Book Blogs and signed up to follow you. When you have a chance- please stop by and follow the blog for my middle grade novel that I am hoping to get published.
    Take care-
    Jess- although I may show up as Fairday, the main character from my novel. I can't figure out why that happens and I can't fix it. :)

  2. I'm really looking forward to this book. I have heard of Jack the Ripper but I've never really paid attention to his story. Thanks for the review.

    Xpresso Reads

  3. eeeep. definitely not a novel I would run after. I was curious but I really don't enjoy murderous books with so much detail. some I can handle but Jack the Ripper. No Bloody Way. Ace Review by the way, you are a fantastic writer <3


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