I recently finished this first book in the Shades of London series, and let me just say…creepy. This was the perfect series to start with the Halloween season upon us. I was looking for something that would prep me for a weekend down in Southern California at the end of this month doing the haunted theme park rounds. I got what I was looking for.
Summary from Goodreads:
Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him – the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.
The setting of this book was so beautifully described, I felt like I had just moved into a boarding school in central London. It didn’t feel Harry Potter though, which is the line that a lot of authors straddle when describing these kinds of schools especially in the UK. I could relate with the main character Rory pretty immediately. She comes from the south (as did I) and her descriptions of her strange yet charming family and neighbors back home is so on point. I love the stories she tells her new classmates, and even more I love that this is what makes them accept her. The relationship her and her roommate Jazza form is so real and cozy (reminds of my college roommate…we would sit at home on weekend nights watching Charmed and “writing papers”), the whole first half of the book felt like I was reading a contemporary novel about this blooming friendship…and then Rory sees something she is not supposed to.
I have to say, Rory was not my favorite character at the beginning of this book. She is the main character and there was nothing wrong with her, she was just so boring. There was nothing about her that screamed “oh this girl is going to be a bad ass…” and I really wanted that after reading the synopsis. She was two different characters in this book, and while that may sound like a negative, I definitely didn’t see it that way, she did grow and that’s what character’s are supposed to do, I just wish it would’ve come a bit sooner. She becomes a “heroine” because her life depends on it, though I think we will have to wait to read the rest of the series before officially giving her that title.
When you find out what Rory’s “gift” is, it’s not really much of a shock. It is also not much of a shock when you realize who and what her new “quirky” roommate, Boo, is. I did love Stephen, the leader of this group of people she has to join forces with to stop the Ripper, however I could do with a little bit more maturity from Boo and Callum (maybe I will get that in the second book?). I also loved the gore…I know, I’m a weirdo. This is what set the creepy tone for me. The description of the murders (yep, one is caught on camera) and the eeriness surrounding why no one can catch this murderer is so detailed, I felt like I was actually watching and hearing these headlines on the news and feeling the fear the whole city was while waiting for each subsequent murder to occur.
Overall, this was a very fun, creepy and exciting book to read. It set the dark tone of the season and I’m exciting to read the next one!
I gave this a 4/5 stars on Goodreads.