Hey guys! I’m so excited to talk about Jackaby by William Ritter today. I received a surprise copy of Ghostly Echoes in the mail a few months ago, but I hadn’t read the rest of the series. I let the publisher know and they sent me the rest of the books! Wow. This is such a fun series!
Scroll on down to find out more about the book and keep your eyes peeled for my reviews of the other books in the series. I’ll be posting those this week too.
Jackaby by William Ritter
Age range: 12-18 | Series: Jackaby (Book 1) | Hardcover: 304 pages | Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers (September 16, 2014)
“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion–and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2014
Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job,Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police – with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane – deny.
Doctor Who meets Sherlock in a debut novel, the first in a series, brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.
“The rich world of this debut demands sequels.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Find the Book
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Get a FREE Jackaby Story: The Map
Abigail hopes that her birthday will slip by unnoticed and uncelebrated, but her employer, detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby, has other plans. Using magical party crackers that teleport the pair to unknown destinations in time and space and a cryptic map that may lead to a forgotten treasure, Jackaby intends to give Abigail what he considers to be the best gift of all–adventure.
Abigail and Jackaby must tame an enormous (and carnivorous) rabbit, defend a castle, and master a dirigible if they want to find the treasure and get back to New Fiddleham alive.
My Thoughts on Jackaby
Jackaby was everything and nothing like I expected it to be. The Chicago Tribune dubbed it “Sherlock Holmes crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer“. I have to agree with that statement, but it’s so much more than that too. It’s funny, suspenseful, and mysterious. This book is total and complete escapism.
Goodreads offers a wide variety of opinions on Jackaby, most of them less favorable than mine. I think the reason most people (adults) don’t like this series more is because they dove into it hoping for a young adult novel with a lot of cross-over appeal. After all, the cover is gorgeous, the premise is intriguing, and it promises a dark thrill ride. While the book delivers on all accounts, it’s intended for a teen audience. If you keep that in mind when you read it, I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. And you should read it. To me, it felt like a cross between Joseph Delany’s The Last Apprentice series and the early books in the Harry Potter series. It alternates between funny, whimsical, and grotesque. It’s perfect for teens.
I loved the characters. I adored Jackaby and all his oddities. Abigail is admirable in her bravery, inquisitiveness, and tenacity. She ran away from home to look for adventure and finds it when Jackaby hires her as his assistant. Romance in the story is minimal, but there is potential for more in the rest of the series. I can’t wait to dive into Beastly Bones!
Content: Fantasy violence
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. All thoughts expressed are my own.
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