The Name of the Star : Shades of London

  • by Maureen Johnson
  • Narrated by Nicola Barber
  • Series: Shades of London
  • 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 work of Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888. 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 with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, what is he planning to do about her?
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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Boarding school fiction with a paranormal twist.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Name of the Star to be better than the print version?

Not sure, since I haven't read it.


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Name of the Star?

I really liked the fact that for the first half it read like a realistic fiction book about boarding school life in England.


Would you listen to another book narrated by Nicola Barber?

On the fence. Her accents were good but her actual normal narration was really distracting. She over enunciated which was annoying.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"Jack is back."


Any additional comments?

Fun, quick YA listen. Nothing overwhelmingly good, but decent writing and performance and intriguing storyline.

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- Noelle M. "I love stories."

Paranormal Ripper-Related YA

It's hard to rate this novel, because it does many things.

For one, it's a YA fish-out-of-water tale about a small-town Louisiana girl who suddenly finds herself in a boarding school in London. As a glimpse of London life, popular culture, and history through an American lens, it's a very successful and often laugh-out-loud funny tale.

The novel is also a Jack-the-Ripper thriller about a copycat murderer who uses the original Ripper slayings as inspiration for "tribute" killings, with some clever and chilling contemporary updates to the 1888 story. This aspect of the novel, with its atmospheric descriptions and creepy depiction of the morbidly fascinated public at large does work on its own, although it's somewhat jarring next to the more upbeat schooldays story.

But wait, there's more! This book also serves up a paranormal coming-of-age and coming-into-your-powers narrative about ghosts (or shades), those who see them, and the secret police who are in charge of cases involving them. (Think of the Torchwood group dedicated to ghosts. I couldn't unsee Torchwood throughout this section of the novel.) In some ways the novel hangs together - thank heavens Maureen Johnson confined herself to the copycat killer and didn't go back to the mystery of the original Ripper - but in some ways this combination felt overly ambitious, as if everything but the kitchen sink had been thrown into the mix.

Johnson telegraphed at least three of the intended "big reveals" far in advance, so the mystery angle of the book fell flat. The less said about the teen romantic scenes, the better. In addition, I normally really enjoy Nicola Barber's narrations, but her varied attempts at a Louisiana drawl were so outrageously bad that they kept shocking me out of the story. Just dreadful.

I don't think I'll be following up on more of this series, but I'm not sorry I listened to the novel. Perhaps those who enjoy paranormal YA works will enjoy it more than I did. I listened to it for the Ripper connection primarily, and there were enough innovations there to make this worth my while.
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- Amy "Say something about yourself!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-29-2011
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio