Why I chose this book: Amanda was the one that received this as an ARC, but the second I saw it on her shelf I snatched it up. Growing up I always devoured any Sherlock Holmes novel I could get my hands on. When I saw that Jackaby had the feel of “Sherlock Holmes meets Doctor Who” I scoffed. Normally I haaaate when publishers compare books to pop culture figures, TV shows, etc. Normally, they are so far off the mark that it is laughable. This time though I was proven wrong, this book was “Wholock” to the core. I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Jackaby by William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publish Date: September 16, 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery, Young Adult
Synopsis: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. (Goodreads)
What I liked: This book was never boring. With the story being told as a journal of adventures penned by Jackaby’s assistant Abigail Rook, the wildly enigmatic Jackaby is introduced to the readers from the very start. He’s clad in a variety of atrocious clothes, and has “sight” that allows him to see creatures and situations that are often overlooked by everyday humans.
The writing throughout the story is fantastic. While I found the mystery to be easily solved, Ritter throws in a few twists that left me surprised. The historical research and detail put into the characterization was also something I found to be impressive. Not everyone is who they seem, and not all creatures are visible to the human eye.
What I loved: I loved the character of Abigail Rook. Leaving a life of dresses, balls, and tea parties, she escapes the boring high class life that seemed to seal her destiny. Abigail is brave, strong, and passionately curious. Unlike Jackaby, she notices the small details in everyday life. She sees the things that Jackaby often overlooks. Together, they make a fabulous team. Abigail has no time for gender roles, and refuses to sit out of situations “not suited for a woman”. I also appreciated seeing Abigail and Jackaby work together without any romantic entanglements getting in the way. It was refreshing and very much needed.
Final Thoughts: This was a fantastic book. If you love a good mystery or even a dash of the paranormal; this book is for you. I gave this book four stars on Goodreads for the humor, quirk, and adventure seen in Jackaby.