Audiobook Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Rating: 5/5

Words cannot express how much I adore this book.

Book CWs

  • Character Death
  • Murder
  • Paranormal Creatures
  • Gore

Premise

Aurora (Rory) Deveaux is an American who, after her parents move to Bristol, begins attending Wexford Academy in London. What she thinks will be a casual study abroad experience turns in to much more when someone begins killing women in a re-enactment of the Jack the Ripper murders.

Rory finds herself thrust into the action when a woman is murdered just outside her dorm and she discovers she may be the only witness the police have.

Review (No Spoilers)

The Name of the Star is by far my favorite book of all time. The first time I read it was my sophomore year of college at the recommendation of a friend who lived across the hall. I haven’t talked to her in years but every time I think about this book I feel the need to thank her all over again.

This is, I believe, the third time that I’ve listened to the audiobook narrated by Nicola Barber and I feel like every time I listen to it, I love it even more. For one, she puts on these amazing accents. Rory has a southern American accent and there are several variations of British accents in the characters she meets at school. I am American myself and I basically have no idea if these accents are good but god I love listening to them so much.

For my next point, I need to give you some background about my relationship with audiobooks. The first audiobook I ever listened to was Dracula and it was on a road trip with my brother from Indiana to California. I’m from Hawaii but I went to undergrad in Indiana and my brother, who lives in Cali, was borrowing my car over the summer. We chose Dracula because both of us figured that we would fall asleep at random times during the book but we had both read it before so skipping sections wouldn’t be the end of the line.

Ever since then, I’ve decided to only listen to audiobooks of books that I’ve already read. That way when I inevitably get distracted, I can still follow along with the story. I think this incidentally helps my review because now I can compare my experience reading the physical book vs. listening to the audiobook.

I have to say that I much prefer listening to the audiobook.

Now, I wouldn’t say that about all audiobooks. I just think that it’s because I really like Nicola Barber as the narrator. Aside from the awesome accents, I think she does a great job with pauses and tone changes. Her narration made me feel much more in the story. If that makes any sense.

There are some nit-picky things that I didn’t like but none of them took away from my love of the story. For example, Nicola pronounces New Orleans in the weirdest way. She also sometimes slips up in her accents. Her narration voice is a “standard” American accent but sometimes it will turn southern for a few words out of no where (which I think is particularly strange because I don’t think Nicola is Southern). I kind of don’t blame her though because I have no idea how she keeps track of all the voice changes she has to make.

I recommend this book with all my heart. I want anyone and everyone to read this book at least once.

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