Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The Name of the Star
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2011
YA; Paranormal; Thriller
I was so nervous picking this book up. Yes, I've seen lots of mixed to positive reviews but I was hyping it so much in my head that I figured it could never live up to my expectations. However I thought this was fantastic!
The main character is Rory, don't call her Aurora, an American student spending her senior year at a London boarding school while her parents are on sabbatical in Bristol. She has to adjust to a new school, tough academics, and different way of life in England. She also has to deal with a string of Jack the Ripper murders and a mysterious new ability she seems to have developed.
The big deal is the Jack the Ripper murders, which made me think of the television program Whitechapel, which is from 2009 but just aired in the US and also focuses on copycat murders. They are completely different stories, don't worry, but it's interesting to me how Jack the Ripper is popping up in my life because I really have no interest in serial killers unlike the Ripperologists who appear in both stories. This ties in with Rory, whose boarding school is located basically right in the middle of where Jack the Ripper struck and is thus caught up in the panic that engulfs London.
But that is not the end of the story. One night Rory and her roommate sneak out and when they return to their dorm, Rory sees a man...but the roommate does not despite his proximity. Is Rory going crazy? Don't worry, it's just a paranormal ability. This introduces her to a bunch of other people and leads to the stopping of the murders.
As we journey through the story, we also have some romance, suspense, terror, and even comedy cropping up at odd times. I thought the writing was very assured and each character was well-developed and contributed toward his/her part of the story, whether that was being menacing or adding color to life at a boarding school.
Overall: Highly recommended-great mix of different elements without being too scary. Concludes the story while still setting up a series; definitely will be reading the second book, The Madness Underneath, due out later this year.