Witness the Beginning of One of the Most Underrated YA Series of the Last Decade | Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

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At this point, I'm not sure if we're ever going to see the fourth installment in the Shades of London series--but, I FELT LIKE A REREAD. So here we are. And, spoiler alert? I loved The Name of the Star SO MUCH MORE the second time than I did the first and am pretty sure I've upgraded this to one of my all-time favourite series.

The Name of the Star
by Maureen Johnson

Jack the Ripper is back, and he's coming for Rory next....

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him - the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target...unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson 

“It was almost funny. Life seemed downright accidental in its brevity, and death a punch line to a lousy joke.” 

While embarking on my next binge read for the stay at home order, I thought that revisiting an older read I enjoyed may be a good path to take. With the nostalgia already brewing for Maureen Johnson's Truly Devious conclusion, and my overall lack of memory of the entire Shades of London series, I had the urge to give The Name of the Star a reread.

And, holy cheese wiz, I'm glad I did. I definitely slept on this one. So underrated. It's very likely that this has officially made it to my list of all time favourites. The Name of the Star was beyond hypnotic and chilled with mysteries and ghost stories. We're just all going to have to pretend that this was my very first experience with the series.

Consider this review my complete reset on all memories about the series. How I forgot so much, and didn't instantly love the entire series, is beyond me. The Name of the Star is an absolutely engrossing story of intrigue, mystery, snark and murderous ghosts--aka, the perfect and dazzling introduction to the Shades of London. To put it bluntly? I AM IN LOVE. I'm already itching for another read of The Name of the Star.

Maureen Johnson, I bow down to you. The Name of the Star bends its genres in a way that makes the twists and turns all the more delicious. One minute it's a standard coming of age story, then a murder mystery, with sprinkles of historical realities, and the next it's a supernatural jump of murderous ghosts. Johnson weaves together the story in a way that is so satisfying and impossible to put down.

With all its mysterious air and fantasy elements, you can't go wrong. But, there's so many other great things to note: we've got genuinely lovable characters, such as our main gal Rory, budding friendship and romance, witty dialogue, chilling villains, foggy London, and so much more. Maureen Johnson truly outdid herself with The Name of the Star and so much about it feels ahead of its time.

Most of the time reading The Name of the Star, I felt breathless and enthralled in the best ways. My focus rarely left this story. Not even for coffee. It reminded me why I love reading so much. The ending left me both satisfied and entirely eager, and on edge, for the second installment. Needless to say, The Name of the Star was fantastic and an absolutely delightful addition to my binge-reading this spring.

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