“The Name of the Star” is neither Maureen Johnson’s first novel, nor her first paranormal novel. However, it is one of her best. I think anything Johnson does is gold, but her new book stands out. Probably because it’s one of the few well-written paranormal novels to emerge
recently that doesn’t have a love interest with fangs or fur. But what girl doesn’t need a little Jack the Ripper in her life?
Rory Deveaux arrives in London with every intention of enjoying a year abroad at boarding school. It’s a big change from her little Southern hick town; people drive on the wrong side of the street in London and everybody seems so posh and their accents are so very pretty! Even if the course work is extremely difficult, Rory knows she’ll love it there.
But then the murders start. These murders mimic the original Jack the Ripper slayings, right down to the hour and method of the kill. Rory doesn’t think much about it at first, but when one of the murders happens at school, it hits too close to home.
The lovely thing about “The Name of the Star” is that if you don’t go into the novel knowing it’s paranormal, you might legitimately be surprised by the turn of events halfway through. There’s some suggestion that the killer might be a ghost or that he might just be somebody particularly clever with technology. Rest assured, things get a little weird.
It’s not your stereotypical romantic vampire story; it’s more of a contemporary, thriller, mystery.
A realistic paranormal book — who knew?
The book’s only flaw is its loose ends –– not everything is wrapped up nice and neat, but considering that it’s the start of a trilogy, you can’t really expect it to be. Don’t pick it up if you can’t stand trilogies.
But if you do like series, I’d recommend it. Johnson has created a brilliant cast of characters (humans and ghosts and teachers alike) who are certainly fun to read about.
If you scare easily, you shouldn’t read it before bed.