Mini-Review: Jackaby was a Fun Read, but Nothing Special

March 23, 2017     Michelle     Book Reviews

Mini-Review: Jackaby was a Fun Read, but Nothing SpecialJackaby by William Ritter
Narrator: Nicola Barber
Series: Jackaby #1
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on September 16th 2014
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 299
Format: Audiobook
Series Rating:

“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? 

Rating Report
Writing Style
  • I actually struggled with this one a lot haha, but I listened to an audio and the narrator was SO irritating ugh, so I think that definitely influenced me not to like it? But I found Jackaby not to be a great a detective if he just asked the fairies what was going on? So that was disappointing.😂😂 But the covers are pretty!!

    • Michelle

      Yeah, I wasn’t a huge fan of the narrator myself, to be honest. Not the WORST I’ve listened to, but probably not the choice I would have made either. I totally agree with you about him not detectiving so much as using resources other people didn’t have. He KNEW a lot and had the crazy down, but I didn’t feel like he was all that clever on the whole. At least, not compared to what I was expecting. :/

  • This book sounds so quirky and so much fun! A shame to hear that it was kind of too easily solved though. Lovely review!

    • Michelle

      It was a fun little world to explore, for sure. I was just expecting more sleuthing and less of pieces just falling together. I might read the second one next time I’m in the mood for something light-hearted 🙂

  • I actually have the book for this one! I still haven’t read it yet, though but I DO want to! I may be reading this on my 14 hour flight on Friday! 🙂

    • Michelle

      I’ve had it on my shelves for SOOOoooo long! It ought to be a good read for a flight 🙂