Monday, April 9, 2012


Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves
3/5 stars
Flux Books, 2012
340 pages
YA; Historical; Paranormal

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lately I have found myself seeking out and enjoying stories involving Jack the Ripper. Due to the unresolved status of the case, there are lots of ways for the author to take the story. She can assign any murderer and motivation and bring in any details she chooses. Thus I entered this book with high expectations.

Main character Arabella lives with her grandmother in London after the death of her mother. Said grandmother is determined to provide Arabella with the "right" kind of lifestyle and encourages her to volunteer at Whitechapel Hospital for a week, taking care of prostitutes and their children. That is exactly the kind of life Arabella enjoys to her grandmother's dismay and Arabella also hopes to pursue a medical career. But her fear is heightened when several former patients of Whitechapel are discovered brutally murdered by a killer who earns the name Jack the Ripper.  I really enjoyed the historical aspects especially the looks at Victorian attitudes toward sex, violence, and charitable actions.

But I had two areas of concern, which unfortunately played big roles in the story and meant that I finished dissatisfied.  One aspect was the romantic plot lines. Early in the story, Arabella is introduced to two different guys who are pretty similar. They are both young doctors working at Whitechapel Hospital with interesting social connections (one upper-class, the other affiliated with the Pre-Raphaelites). I had so much trouble telling them apart so I was not invested in Arabella's struggle. She definitely prefers one over the other and I just couldn't bring myself to care.

The other main area was the introduction of some paranormal elements. I don't want to go too in-depth since this is mostly saved for the ending and would be full of spoilers for you. But I find the mystery of Jack the Ripper so intriguing that I didn't feel the paranormal elements added much. And while there are some terrifying sections, I found the pacing pretty slow especially in the beginning which made it hard to keep my attention on the story.

Overall: Some strong historical aspects but the paranormal felt unnecessary to me.

Cover: I'm not really a fan of the girl staring out at us although I like the coloring, which seems dark and mysterious befitting a story featuring Jack the Ripper.


  1. Hmmmm. I'm really curious about this one, for some reason I'm perversely fascinated by Jack the Ripper. Too bad the paranormal elements and the romantic elements aren't as strong as they could have been, but the historical elements might be enough to drive me to pick this one up:)

  2. I've been really into reading Jack the Ripper stories lately too, especially after liking The Name of the Star -- they're always so fascinating to read about! :) That aspect of this book sounds awesome, but it's too bad that the romance wasn't as interesting! It's always more fun to read a romance where you're torn between the two guys instead of clearly rooting for one ;)

    But despite not enjoying the romance and paranormal element as much, you still made me super-intrigued about this book! Thanks so much for the awesome honest review, B! :) <3

  3. I'm more on the 2 star end of rating Ripper. Like you, I just could NOT get into the romance element or the paranormal bits. I remember reading and thinking to myself, what the heck is this? I am glad though, that you found at least one aspect to enjoy with Ripper.

  4. I felt about the same way with the romance aspect. I didn't really think too much about the paranormal until you pointed it out, but I kind of agree that it didn't quite fit in. I also was not a huge fan of the cover. Check out my review here:


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