Narrator: Nicola Barber
Series: Jackaby #1
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on September 16th 2014
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Young Adult
“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.”
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 William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.
Ok, so I really enjoyed this book, and it was a pleasant break from the mind-blowing, book-hangover-inducing awesomeness that I’ve been reading a lot of lately, so there’s that. That said, there’s nothing super stand-out-ish about it.
As a result, I don’t have a lot to say, so I’m just doing a mini-review!
What I liked:
- Jackaby is hilariously quirky in all the ways I love Sherlock Holmes
- Abigail Rook is awesome. I love her attitude and not over-the-top feminism. She stands up for her beliefs, but isn’t totally in your face about it. And she’s smart.
- The world is interesting, and I loved all the little references throughout to random folklore.
- One of the characters is a ghost.
- One of the characters is a duck. Who used to not be a duck.
- Jackaby goes on a written diatribe about his tuning forks at the end, which was VERY interesting. And I LOVE how Abigail “paraphrased” 😉
What I disliked:
There’s nothing much that I didn’t particularly care for. Overall, it was a good book. But …
- The pacing was a little slow / light-hearted for me
- The way all the pieces fit together felt a little too convenient/easy
- There’s a fair amount of what I think was foreshadowing for the next book(s) but nothing that really left me going “Wow, I NEED that second book”
- I wouldn’t exactly put this on the same scale as Doctor Who, as the blurb implies.
Overall, a fun read, and I do intend to read the second book eventually!
What did you think? Have you read Jackaby? Did you like it or dislike it?