Book Review: Jackaby

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Jackaby by William Ritter

4/5 stars

This charming novel is the first in a series that follows Abigail Rook, a young girl recently arrived in New England in 1892, who finds herself employed by a quirky detective named Jackaby. The most unique thing about Jackaby is that unlike most detectives, in addition to a keen eye and attention to detail, he can also see creatures that most can't--things like Brownies, Fairies, Trolls, mythological creatures, etc. This book is centered on a mysterious string of murders, where the suspected killer is far from human.

This book was surprisingly funny and charming! It wasn't overly deep or poetic, or anything like that, but it was certainly a delightful book to read, with plenty of suspense and intrigue throughout. The dialogue was sharp and clever, and didn't feel forced.

There were a few predictable moments, but that's never bothered me much, as long as there are plenty of other moments that I didn't see coming. And that was definitely the case here. Sometimes I'd have an inkling of what might happen; other times I had no idea what to expect.

This book was dark and macabre in the aspect of the various grisly murders the pair is investigating. However, it was also very humorous, which I hadn't expected going in! Jackaby as a character very distinctly reminds the reader of Sherlock Holmes (though I suspect this is intentional), but with the awesome added feature of being able to see and identify all manner of fascinating inhuman creatures. Additionally, the cast of secondary characters, including a detective named Charlie Cane, a ghost and a human-turned duck, each brought a new great aspect to the story.

Overall, a highly enjoyable book that I read in the span of just a few days, full of mystery, humor and quirky characters.

Cast of Characters: 8/10
Character Development: 3.5/5
Setting: 4.5/5

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