The Name of the Star

Narrated by: Nicola Barber
Series: Shades of London, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
4 out of 5 stars (318 ratings)

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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.

©2011 Maureen Johnson (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Name of the Star

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Extremely annoying narration!

The main character, Rory is from the south and has an accent. However, the narrator, Nicola Barber kept changing the accent she used for the main character. I’m glad I had this physical book to read because this was just awful.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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The Reader is a robot

How could the performance have been better?

The reader sounded like Eliza Dolittle. "The rain in Spain..." I found it hard to get into the story because it was like listening to a voice coach. All the T's and S's are so perfectly pronounced and enunciated, you can't for a second believe that it's a real person talking. Especially not a teenager.

Maybe is this woman narrated textbooks? But it just didn't fit with the story. I tried to get through it 3 different times before giving up.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Maureen Johnson is cool...I'll just have to read this book in paperback...I can't get through the audio.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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London

What did you love best about The Name of the Star?

I just the setting of this book. I felt like I was there in London.

What did you like best about this story?

I am a huge fan of paranormal books. This one had a new take on it. The paranormal police and the sight.

Which scene was your favorite?

Any of them with Rory trying to make her way around London.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

With out giving the ending away. It is hard but, when Rory is saved towards the end.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Well Done Narration

Maureen does well getting into the head of a teenage girl. Nicola does a great job of vocally distinguishing the characters.

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awesome!

I cannot wait to get back to school and recommend this series to my students. this author is a gem!

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Read the physical book

I had read this book a few years ago and was delighted to find it again. I was excited to hear one of my favorite stories acted out. However, I was disappointed with how weak and fragile the main character sounded. She's a strong southern girl with personality, it threw me off to hear her voice as light and dainty.

Taking that into consideration, the story is so good that I was still able to enjoy all of its twists and turns all the way to it's magical ending!

Great book.

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fun book to read.

I really enjoyed listening to it. I had a hard time putting it down. it's fun.

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Good quality, mild book

This book was entertaining and I enjoyed the characters. The book before this one was so stupid I couldn't listen to the rest of it but this made you want to keep listening.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-21-20

amazing story, loveable characters

I loved this book so much. amazing story great plot and characters. the performance was good. great expression however the accents were not the best but I can forgive this as the way it was told and the story its self made up for it I would recommend and will be listening again

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-13-13

Nice idea shame about the accents

I was really intrigued by the premise of this book and enjoyed many aspects of the story which at times I was genuinely frightened by! As a story however I feel the flow of the book is separated into a before & after where characters who had been the main focus at the begining fade into the background in the second half. Overall it was a good story however my main issue with the audiobook was the British accents performed by the reader, which were inconsistent & very poor a shame for the book as there are readers who are capable of performing a range of British and American accents well and would distract less from the content of the text.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-04-20

loved

a great and interesting way to bring back a jack the reaper story thank you