Jackaby is the kind of story that will grip you until the wee hours of the night. Told from the point of view of Abigail Rook, she is a newcomer to New Fiddleham, New England in 1892 after certain events that lead her there. She is in need of a job and finds one with the eccentric investigator everyone mocks by the name of R.F. Jackaby. She becomes his temporary assistant while he investigates a murder case that might be linked with a political figure. Exhilarated and bewildered by the whole situation, Abigail sticks to Jackaby until she discovers that the mere interaction of him and the supernatural world puts her in harms way like never before, giving her a real adventure she might never come back from.
I highly dislike when books are compared to something in the summary provided by the publisher, but this one hit a bull’s eye. If you’re a fan of Sherlock and Doctor Who, this is the book for you. Supernatural themes are met in the late 1800s with this investigator that might as well be the pawn born from Sherlock and a female Doctor (it could happen).
What’s the most attractive to me in this story, other than the awesome characters and supernatural aspects, is the language used and descriptions. If you’re young and inexperienced in the classics such as me, you might find it hard to sometimes engage in certain books of that era, as interesting as they may be. William Ritter uses a language that is easy to grasp and recreate in your head effortlessly by describing the town and clothes of that time, among other things. It was like you were inside the story walking along with Jackaby and Abigail in search of the criminal.
While predictable, it wasn’t so much about knowing who was the murderer but knowing how and why this person did what they did. How Jackaby would find the answers and Abigail would respond to them were what this story was mostly built around, making the mystery even more rich and interesting to read about.
Jackaby, like Sherlock and the Doctor, was amazing. He was eccentric, oblivious to the most simple things but quickly expected everyone to know exactly what he thought was obvious in the supernatural and investigative aspects.
He was a bit awkward to certain social things but he has a really sweet and thoughtful heart as we get to see in the end. Like the two said comparisons of Jackaby, he also was not interested in any romantic business of any sort, specially not with his assistant, which made this even better! Because lately it seems that a lot, if not all, books NEED to have romance to make it appealing. This book proves that theory wrong.
Abigail was an interesting character. She was ordinary in all ways possible, or so she seemed at first. She liked adventure and wanted to attend an expedition of her own like her father did rather than sit around sipping tea in fancy dresses like her mother wanted. She was smart and cunning and rivaled Jackaby in some things, seeming a bit dorky firsthand but learning along the way. She was up to the challenge of earning her job in a permanent way and prove her worth. She stood up for herself when others thought of her as being ridiculous and crazy by being with Jackaby, and even wearing clothes that were comfortable for her rather than what society expected. And I loved her for all that and more. And, as mentioned before, she wasn’t a blinded-eyed lover running around confessing her love. She was action-driven to do her job and solve the mystery, not get distracted by other things that wouldn’t pay her for a meal. She does like someone in the story, but that wasn’t as important when her life was at the risk.
The main focus of this book wasn’t the romance, though we do see a few cute moments involving Abigail fancying a certain Detective Cane and likewise. The book mainly focuses in getting to know the two main characters, Abigail and Jackaby, and this whole new world Abigail has discovered of danger and mysteries that soon gets to call her new home. It was highly interesting and fresh to see all these monsters and faeries and banshees and many more in the story and how Jackaby explained them to Abigail in the course of the book. Nothing about the usual monsters we might hear about, pfft nah.
In overall, this was a great story for readers of all ages. A good mystery with a case to solve, a murderer to catch with a pinch or two of monsters and fantastical creatures not known to the normal, ordinary eye. Exciting, humorous, terrifying, and mystifying, a must-read for everyone. And the good thing is that now we know that this is not a stand alone. I repeat, this is NOT a drill. There is a sequel involving the cute little lovers and more Jackaby! So, go get your copy of Jackaby and join the fun of uncovering the bad guys and seeing the extraordinary through this investigator who sees beyond the illusion and the assistant that sees the ordinary extraordinarily.
Rating: 5 stars