Author: William Ritter
Series Name: Jackaby
Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery
Publication Date: September 16th, 2014
Pages: 294 (Paperback)
Publishers: Algonquin Young Readers
“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 humour and a dose of the macabre.
“That the battles are usually in her head does not lessen the bravery of it. The hardest battles always are.”
I absolutely loved this writing! It was captivating and dragged you into the story very quickly. I got so committed to the plot and characters because of the writing just pulling me in so much! It was also extremely unpredictable which was amazing!
I also love that it delves a little bit further than most paranormal books. In most, you see werewolves, vampires and such but this one goes a bit further into the mythical creature/being side of paranormal. There is a werewolf but we also explore beings such as Redcaps & Banshees which was quite interesting. Outside of Harry Potter, I haven’t really read about them before and this took a different take on those mythical beings compared to how they are represented in Harry Potter, so that was quite interesting to learn about.
Also, I loved the world/setting of the book! This is set in 1892 but an 1892 with paranormal elements which were quite interesting. I don’t very often read books set in this time period as I generally gravitate towards Historical Fiction that is WWII based. While there wasn’t a tonne about the world, you still felt the atmosphere of the era which was nice.
Also, this quote alone made me love the book even more!
“Pockets! I was thrilled. I have never understood the aversion to pockets in ladies’ fashion – as though it has become some great shame to appear as if one might actually need to possess anything.”
As I said earlier, the plot was extremely unpredictable which I loved! It kept you guessing the entire time! The plot is very fast paced. Most of the book takes place within 2 days I think until the last 2 or 3 chapters which show the aftermath.
Our main character Abigal is really enjoyable. She defied what it was to be a typical woman in that time period by not following social norms and setting out on her own. She was a strong female character while still being feminine. She is also extremely lovable and I loved her sarcastic/witty nature. It was a delight to read from her POV.
“There were enough voices in my life telling me I couldn’t this, or shouldn’t that, or that I wasn’t up to the task – the last thing I intended to do was start agreeing with them.”
Jackaby was also extremely lovable! He is extremely intelligent but also quirky and fun. He is funny without meaning to and you can’t help but laugh at some of the stuff he comes out with, in full seriousness. It was so amusing just learning about him (note, don’t ever ask him to cook your breakfast if you like your walls hole-free).
“Does this smell like paprika or gunpowder to you?”
Also, I LOVE that there was no romance in this book. There was an attraction between one of the MCs and a side character but that was it. It’s so rare to find YA without romance so I was super happy!
I absolutely loved this book! It was so fun and mysterious. The characters were amazing and I had so much fun reading about them. The world/setting was amazingly done and the mystery wasn’t predictable which is a plus! Everything about the writing is just excellent. I don’t have a single complaint about this book. It’s just such a fun read!
I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2, Beastly Bones, I’ve already ordered it and will order the rest of the series soon too.
“But that’s Jackaby in a nutshell. Science and magic, beauty and bedlam, things that ought to be at odds – they just don’t follow the same rules when Jackaby’s involved.”
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HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS.