Book Review: The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1)

This book was recommended to me by Mari over at Story and Somnomancy. She’s been responsible for many recommendations that I have loved over the years, and this one did not disappoint. This is the first series I’m reviewing where I’ll do each book rather than the entire series…which is a smart idea, given how different books 1 and 2 are. (Yes, I’ve finished book 2 as well, which I’ll never do again before reviewing. Such a bad idea.) Minor spoilers below, which have to be discussed I’m sorry. Below is all three covers I’ve seen for the book between my kindle edition and the library. I can’t decide which one I like the most (though the middle one is my least favorite.) So without further ado….

The Name of the Star

by Maureen Johnson

Part of the Shades of London series

Rated: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md4.25/5 Moose


Aurora (Rory) Deveraux is a sixteen year old from Louisiana. Her parents take a job in Bristol, allowing Rory to pick her school while they’re over in the UK. She settles on a boarding school in London that, unbeknownst to Rory, is in the middle of Rippermania. A modern serial killer with a Jack the Ripper fetish started just days before Rory lands in London. Unfortunately similar to the original Jack the Ripper case, the police have no leads, no suspects and no witnesses….except for one. Rory has seen a man that her roommate claims to not have seen. Who is right, who is wrong? And what happens when Rory starts to realize that maybe the copycat murder is really Jack the Ripper, back from the grave?

Things I liked:

I really love Rory as a character. She reminds me of plenty of girls I knew growing up, especially in the Arkansas area. Hell, she actually reminds  me of a friend of mine from Louisiana. I love that she occasionally plays up the accent (I used to do this too when I went up north). I super love how Rory begins to see ghosts. I love that the ghosts aren’t necessarily evil or scary, though they can be of course. They’re human, and as diverse as humankind is. I love Alastair, Jo, Boo, Callum (okay maybe only Callum’s name) and Stephen.

I so love Stephen. I have something for British guys, even if they are fictional, but as they start to be broken and intelligent and wear their scarves a certain way. He’s so much cooler than Jerome, who Rory is dating.

Things I didn’t like:

There wasn’t a ton about this book that I didn’t like. Some of the twists were a bit predictable. Granted, it’s young adult literature, and I’ve read a few good books recently, or maybe I am super good at figuring out twists. I don’t think I am though. I really wasn’t a fan of most of the characters in the boarding school, though I related a bit to Jazza. I feel like we’d get along just fine. Jerome drove me nuts, but again, a bit relatable. What can I say — I love serial killers too. He just didn’t seem to have any motivation.


I enjoyed it, and immediately picked up the second book. It was a bit hard to find, and I’ve officially renewed my library card because of it. I’m glad it was recommended to me, and I’ll happily pass along the suggestion. It was supernatural without being overly supernatural. Rory doesn’t adjust to it easily, but she doesn’t become a whiny mess because of it either. I’ll definitely look at a few other Maureen Johnson books — I am glad this was my first one.

3 responses to “Book Review: The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1)”

  1. I can’t remember if I’d read this book first or Maureen Johnson’s short story in Zombies vs. Unicorns, but I remember liking what I’d read of hers. Name of the Star was certainly one I enjoyed. Glad you liked the book!

  2. […] the third book in the Shades of London series. I read the second one over the weekend, and the first one the week before. It’s part of my continuing education of understanding boarding school life. […]

  3. […] I love the Shades of London series, and I felt that Rory and Stephen’s relationship is  quite organic, to the point that […]

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