The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London, it’s the start of a new life at a 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 Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. – Goodreads
I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book! I had it out from the library months ago, but I let the loan date expire because I am the worst when it comes to those things. Then Lindsey posted her review and, since we agree on pretty much every book, I knew I had to read it and I knew I would enjoy it. And I did!
This is the first Maureen Johnson book that I’ve read and I have so say that I’m impressed! She did an amazing job setting up the atmosphere of London and Wexford, as well as detailing the history of Jack the Ripper. I’ve never been to London, and I’ve never lived at a boarding school, but it was very easy to experience Rory’s gradual comfort into both. The Jack the Ripper details never felt like information overload and, instead, had me wanting to find out more about this serial killer.
While I did like how Johnson realistically portrayed the media circus and “entertainment” surrounding the new murders, I have to say that I was a tiny bit disappointed by the creep factor. Maybe I expected too much, or maybe I’ve grown immune to the things that go bump in the night (ha, yeah right!), but nothing in the story really got my heart racing or gave me the heebie jeebies. The book was still great, but I was actually looking forward to some scary, thrilling scenes and they were just lukewarm for me.
The romantic storyline was something I felt lukewarm about, too. I liked Jerome enough, and I did enjoy their scenes together, but the spark that usually has me flailing over fictional couples wasn’t there. Lucky for me, I think there were hints for something more in the upcoming sequel(s). Fingers crossed!
The best part of this book? The characters! Rory was an awesome protagonist and she had such a great rapport with the side characters, namely Jazza and Boo. Boo was probably the biggest surprise of the book for me. When she was introduced I was rolling my eyes, expecting the worst, but she really turned my opinions around. Stephen and Callum were welcome additions to the cast, too, and I loved to see their layers peeled back as the story progressed.
While I was enjoying the book, I remembered that it was the first in a series and I found myself thinking, “Eeek, how can this be expanded and still be good?” Thankfully, Maureen Johnson has more imagination than I do and I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens after the turn of events in the last chapter. This is definitely a new favorite series!
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