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.
So I really, really, really liked this one. I didn’t think I would but I did. A lot. I always find it interesting to read about main characters who are uprooted and set in different countries because it presents a wonderful chance for the author to develop character without spelling things out. Like in the way the main character reacts to situations etc is very telling about the character. Good stuff like that. Rory’s a fun character and an interesting protagonist. Her reactions to London and the culture there seem authentic and are probably what Johnson herself experienced and went through in the course of settling there (I’m assuming, here). I liked how the descriptions of the places seemed more realistic than dreamy. I compared this novel to Anna and the French Kiss because to an extent, both novels are quite similar in certain things and I reckon, I found Rory to be a more engaging character simply because she’s a bit kooky and I kinda love kooky characters.
The weakest bit about the novel would be the mythology. The explanation is a bit weak and I would have liked to know more about this ability that lets teenagers see ghosts. How exactly does it develop and what spurs it. What are the aspects of a teenager’s life that makes them more likely to develop this ability etc etc. That said, I found the plot to be insanely chilly and atmospheric. Yeah, Johnson is superb at creating atmospheres and heightening the tension in scenes that require tension. Her characters are also individual and I loved that they displayed the English humour (slightly batty) that I find in Louise Rennison’s characters.
This reincarnation of the Ripper is just as terrifying as the original one may have been and I liked how the story plays out. Also, the ending is fantastic and I can’t wait to read what happens when Rory figures out what she can do. The one thing that bugged the hell out of me is the fact that no one seemed to be concerned, no, that there was no consequence of Rory’s plagiarism. Okay, she gets her paper written by a ghost and while I understand that he’s a ghost, plagiarism is plagiarism as is cheating. That really turned me off for a good long while before the story sucked me back in. I think that could have been done better and I don’t like that plagiarism and essentially cheating is shown in the positive light it was in the novel. So that took off points from the novel for me.
That said, I still enjoyed the novel and I recommend it to people who like good novels.