by Maureen Johnson
Book 1 of Shades of London
I haven't read a lot of YA in a long time, at least a couple years, maybe, or four. Honestly, I don't remember, because I just kind of drifted away from it. I might have read one YA book here and there, but I think I eventually gave up picking up anything YA unless by an author I know I love.
But all of that isn't really the point of this review.
I'm glad that I randomly chose The Name of the Star as my read for his year's Halloween Bingo, for the Baker Street Irregulars square (see end of post). And I'm glad that it turned out much more interesting and fun than I had initially anticipated. Mind you, I didn't expect it to be bad or anything, I just wasn't really expecting anything at all.
But I found myself quickly loving Rory's tone and her dry snark, and her random tendencies to get excited about the strangest things--like no hockey today!--and loved that she was extremely honest. And I loved that she wasn't the typical mopey, outcast, and misunderstood YA heroine who is hated on by all the girls, but whom every male has a secret lusting attraction towards.
Rory was just an ordinary girl who traveled to England for high school, who became just another student at Wexford, who made friends and went to class and stressed about homework, like any other normal high school girl. She had friends, both boys and girls, and there were no mean girls or overly broody alpha boys.
And then she picked up a fancy new gift after a near death experience, and ended up being the sole witness of a Ripper murder.
The truth is, I normally would have hated how dragged out a lot of this book ended up being in the beginning, and even some parts in the middle. There was a very mundane, everyday feel to each chapter, like a boring "A Day in the Life of Aurora Deveaux." But Rory's voice and her telling was actually kind of fun, and while a lot of detail was probably excessive, I found I enjoyed the short tangents into her family and her life back in Louisana. Call me contradictory, because I probably would have condemned another book for being so banal.
But Rory made it interesting.
It took a while for the actual story to start up, truth be told, and meanwhile, there was a nagging voice in the back of my head wondering if we were ever going to get Rory involved in these Ripper copycat murders. And the moment she starts seeing the ghosts, it wasn't hard to figure out how things would go from there--aside from the continuation of mundane, everyday activities, because I hadn't expected the book to keep that up.
I suppose for many others, this book might come off boring, as there is very little action, and a lot more focus on Rory's school life and her interactions with her fellow Wexford classmates. I would have liked to have seen more scenes with her and the squad of youths known as the Shades, really, but I'm guessing that will take place more in later books.
Meanwhile, I will admit, I truly enjoyed The Name of the Star a lot, much more than I had thought I would, and that makes me extremely happy. I will also admit that there was a point that I stopped reading this book at night because I was afraid of seeing the ghostly Ripper at my bedroom door...
|Halloween Bingo 2018
(mystery that involves children/teens in crime solving)
Other Possible Squares:
The Lost Codex
Allies, once inseparable, splinter until they break apart.
An insidiousness carves its way through Wonderland, challenging the land’s very existence.
Battle lines will be drawn as pages, long languishing in darkness, are finally illuminated.
Swords will clash, blood will be spilled, and lives will be lost.
For what is written can still be erased.
~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~
I wanted to love this…I have loved the first three books in The Collector's Society. This has always been a uniquely told book series, but this one was just too out there in left field and left me feeling confused and sadly disappointed. It felt like it dragged a lot of the time and was the longest 411 pages ever. I've adored these characters and I have been fascinated with the premise, so I tried to let that reflect in my rating. I guess, overall I just wanted this play out differently…and that ending…well, I guess ultimately that ending left an opening for this story to play out differently...
I actually finished the last half or so of this book with the Audio version, because I was being plagued by migraines and couldn't continue reading. I did not care for the narration of this at all, though. Heather Lyons, in my opinion, this series could have benefitted from a different narrator, in fact adding a male voice would have been worked much better for Finn's parts and for the print version, you really need to have someone proofread it.
☆3.5☆STARS - GRADE=B-
~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~
Main Characters~ 5/5
Secondary Characters~ 3.8/5
The Feels~ 3.7/5
Theme or Tone~ 4/5
Flow (Writing Style)~ 3.7/5
Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.3/5
Ending~ 4/5 Cliffhanger~ This is supposed to be the last one…but it could be continued…with the way it ended.
Book Cover~ It's fairly cool…
Series~ The Collector's Society #4
Setting~ The Institute, Antarctica, Wonderland
Source~ I own Kindle eBook
I used this for Relics and Curiosities Square in Halloween Bingo 2018
IT GOT IN US
After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.
MOST ARE DEAD
But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.
DON’T SET FOOT HERE AGAIN
As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.
~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~
I wasn't sure what to expect with this…the only other books by Erin Bowman that I've read have been YA Westerns. This is way different than those books. I'll admit, early on, I thought she was jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak, with this deep space horror/thriller based on a crazy virus. It felt an awful lot like Illuminae. Within no time though, that thought was out of my head, because I was hooked on this compelling story. With zombie-like symptoms, this mysterious virus is seriously frightening. It does end on a total cliffhanger, but I'm not even upset about that because I cannot wait to listen to the second book which is set to come out in July of 2019.
☆5☆STARS - GRADE=A+
~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~
Main Characters~ 5/5
Secondary Characters~ 5/5
The Feels~ 4.8/5
Theme or Tone~ 5/5
Flow (Writing Style)~ 5/5
Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.5/5
Ending~ 5/5 Cliffhanger~ Yeah…you could say that.
Book Cover~ Love it…especially the colors in it.
Narration~ Amy McFadden
Series~ Contagion #1
Setting~ The Planet Achlys
Source~ Audiobook (Library)
I used this for Dead Lands Square in Halloween Bingo 2018