Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jackaby (Review by AmberBug)

William Ritter
4 / 5

Published September 16, 2014

First Sentence
"It was late January, and New England wore a fresh coat of snow as I stepped along the gangplank to the shore."

Publisher's Description:

“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.

Dear Reader,

Two words for this book... Delightful & Charming! I would definitely agree that this was a cross between "Dr. Who" and "Sherlock Holmes", which will probably make it a joy to read for any fans of either. One of the main characters, Jackaby, reminds me of the last Dr. Who actor (Matt Smith), he has this tendency to say inappropriate or insensitive things to others without knowing it. Jackaby is awkward and very literal, making many of his interactions quite comical. The humor is perfectly adorable and will likely make anyone giggle or laugh a few times (if not throughout the entire book). As amazing as Jackaby is, it's his side-kick Abigail Rook that I related to the most. She is the non-traditional tomboy growing up in those times where any girl not prim and proper was scoffed at. She leaves home to follow her dreams of adventure, which wind up throwing her into Jackaby's lap, where adventure is abound.

I have to admit, I'm not that smitten with detective mystery novels, especially ones in a series... but Jackaby has me gushing to everyone, "You have to check this out!". When a book does that, job well done. It's such a fun read, I know so many people whose taste will fit this book perfectly. Just so you don't get the wrong idea, this book isn't going to blow you away with profound life altering outlooks. This book is just plain but excellent entertainment and who doesn't love that every now and then? It's almost like when you go to that fancy restaurant for the creme brulee but end up craving cotton candy instead. THAT is this book.

Can we talk about the cover now? Pretty great, right?! The font is amazing, I fell in love with it at Book Expo America when we came across it, and to my surprise the font is used throughout the book for the chapter titles. This was a great pick from the Expo and I'm so happy Arianna read it as well, I know this is something that she would like... so now I don't have to gush and gush until she picks it up... she already did! I loved the Author's bio too, he talks about how he came up with the concept for the story while his newborn was at home waking and crying during the night. He obviously had his hands full but still found the time to think up a dream world where fascinating things happen. Maybe his half awake mind helped create this creative idea, the most magical come from dreams, right? This book is a great diversion from all the seriousness I've been reading lately and I can't wait for the next title in the series. If it wasn't for the characters likable traits, I might skip the next one... but I think I'm hooked. 

Happy Reading,


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  1. I have this ebook ready to go. I was intrigued by your description of it's a cross between Doctor Who and Sherlock, although I didn't realize it was going to be a series. But I guess that makes sense for this kind of character.

  2. Yeah I'm not much for series, they usually have to be amazing (Atwood's Oryx and Crake for example), but this was fun and very different from many of the usual topics being published lately. I think you'll really enjoy it.


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