Oh, I know, I know. Too long since I last posted. I’m terrible.
Yeah, that just happened. Anyway.
There are too many things to talk about, you guys. Number one, obviously, is the freaking HOBBIT, out in six hours (if you’re lucky enough to have tickets, like this guy! Oh, I’m such a nerd…). Omigod omigod omigod! I’m actually surprised I’m able to form coherent sentences right now – it’s a freaking Festivus miracle. Numero dos, is Christmas. Gods above, I love Christmas. It’s so wrong, considering I’m both a pagan and a heathen (wait, is that even possible?) but Santa Claus cares not for the petty divisions of race or religion, my friends. Number three: Yule goats. That is all. If you don’t know what that is, then we can’t be friends anymore. Fourth: I forget now.
On with the review!
This week, poppets, it’s Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star.
(I loathe that cover, though, ferreelz).
Louisiana teen Aurora “Rory” Deveraux arrives in London on the very day that a series of brutal and gruesome murders begin to plague the city. What makes these murders particularly chilling is that they appear to be reenacting the infamous Jack the Ripper killings of Victorian Whitechapel. As the city is gripped by both fear and fascination, Rory attempts to adjust to life at her new boarding school, located in the very heart of the Whitechapel district of the city. But suddenly Rory finds herself in the middle of the Rippermania storm when she becomes the only person to glimpse the suspected murderer. A suspect who doesn’t even appear on the CCTV footage showing the murders… Rory must race discover why she alone can see the copycat Ripper, before she becomes a victim herself.
Okay, so this book was a rarity for me, in that I didn’t love it, and I didn’t hate it, either. I’m usually not one for half-measures – especially when it comes to books – but this one for me was just kind of meh. The plot was unoriginal and the climax predictable, but it was well-paced and well-written, and a few aspects of the book were so charming that I was willing to overlook the more atrocious bits.
One of the atrocious bits has to be the clumsy characterisation of the protagonist, Rory. I just couldn’t believe or like her. At least the supporting characters were better developed. The writing was satisfactory – nothing special, yes, but definitely better than, say, Twilight. And, um, that’s about it. I guess I don’t have much to say about The Name of the Star. See, ambivalence is boring. Give me a masterpiece or a disaster. Mediocrity is soul-crushing. I think me and Bill Murray would both agree that medium-talent is the worst insult you can throw at someone. Oh, Bill Murray, you so cool, I love love love you.
Of course, I think I liked this book a little more than it might have merited because of its setting, London, which is where my heart lives forever and ever and hopefully one day my body will, too, and also because of the whole Jack the Ripper thing. What can I say that hasn’t already been said about that, right? There’s really nothing like it in history, and it’s always cool to revisit in fiction. It also makes for some interesting wikipedia wormholes, in case you’ve got time to kill.
Verdict: Meh. If you’re interested in Jack the Ripper and you love anything about London and you don’t mind another YA novel about spooky paranormal things happening to young girls in possession of mysterious supernatural talents, sure, go for it. If none of these things interest you, or make you want to, as Al would say, throw your skirts over your head and run for the hills, I’d pick another book.
Best line(s): “In fact – and I am ashamed of this – one of my big fears about coming to England was having to find new hair products. That’s shameful, I know, but it took my years to come up with the system I’ve got. If I use my system, my hair looks like hair. Without my system, it goes horizontal, rising by inch as the humidity increases. It’s not even curly – it’s like it’s possessed.” (I picked this because this one of the truest things I have ever read, right up there with Tolstoy’s “Every happy family” line. Don’t front, you know it’s true.)
Rating: Two out of five CCTV cameras. They are all over London, you know. You can’t escape them. They are like – wait for it – a great eye that is ever watchful. A great eye, lidless, wreathed in flame. SIX HOURS, PEOPLE!!!