Hello! Welcome to the BookLikes page of the book review blog Celestial Carousel! Here I'll share snippets from Celestial Carousel and take part in whatever other miscellaneous shenanigans I like.
I actually first heard about this book when I met Maureen Johnson at an author signing at LeakyCon in 2011, where she was handing out promotional buttons for The Name of the Star to those in line. I filed it away as something that would probably be interesting, but with a far-off release date and the hubbub of the conference going on around me, I forgot about it until much later. I read more about it not long after its release, and as a major self-professed anglophile and someone whose entire lineage is from Louisiana, I knew this was a book I'd have to read.
First things first--Louisiana. As I mentioned before, my family has close ties to Louisiana, and I've spent quite a lot of time in New Orleans and neighboring cities throughout my life. I was pleased to see that the southern stereotypes weren't laid on too thick, like many books about Southern protagonists are wont to do. The references felt appropriate and authentic and not at all like a caricature of the South.
Another thing that felt really authentic? Just about everything pertaining to the book's "Rippermania" and the way the public's desensitization toward the murders was written. The parties, the Ripper t-shirts... it felt accurate. Sad, but accurate. While sensitive readers may be a little put-off by her fairly descriptive accounts of the gore of the Ripper's attacks, I appreciated their accuracy.
I liked the cast of characters well enough, overall. There were a few standouts to me (Rory and Callum), and while I liked Jerome well enough, I appreciated that the romance side-plot was just that--a side-plot. It came second to the overall plot, and I liked it that way.
Though the tone of the book was predominantly thriller-ish, followers of Maureen Johnson's twitter account won't be disappointed to find that snippets of the author's quirky sense of humor are sprinkled throughout. As a whole, I had several "I know what's going on here!" lightbulb moments, but they were nicely complemented by a handful of surprises--especially the ending.
Read more reviews at Celestial Carousel.