Author: William Ritter
Rating: 4 stars
Fun reads have been in short supply for me this year. I’ve read books that affected me deeply, beautiful books, books I wanted to wrap myself up in, but very few of them have been fun. And sometimes you just need that. So I was really happy to find Jackaby, a fast-reading, slightly silly detective story.
In 1892, Abigail Rook steps off a ship in New England looking for adventure and a job. Within a day she has found herself the assistant to Jackaby, an eccentric investigator of supernatural crimes, and in the middle of a search for an active serial killer.
Jackaby is billed as Doctor Who meets Sherlock, which…yeah, that’s about right. The detective’s mad escapades put me in mind particularly of the Eleventh doctor, and Abigail the plucky companion. Luckily, Eleven’s my favorite, and Abigail, as narrator, had way more depth and character building than most of the unfortunate companions are usually allowed.
Humor is subjective, but I for one found Jackaby to be hysterical. I haven’t laughed out loud at a book in a while, but this one got me a few times. There’s a fun cast of characters, including a duck, a ghost, and a weredog who is most definitely not a werewolf. There are all sorts of supernatural creatures from all over the world clashing in one little New England town; something I love about books like this set in America is when every immigrant has brought over their own stories and they’re made real. And the ending was kind of sweet and heart-warming.
Plus: That. Cover. Ya’ll.
Jackaby is marketed towards a YA crowd, but I think it’s the type of book that would appeal across a wide range of readers. It definitely didn’t have the usual YA teen love triangle shenanigans. It would be fine for middle grade readers if they are able to handle prose that’s a bit more challenging, and it was fine for this adult reader, too. I care less about reading levels and labels when I am able to get pulled into a story, and Jackaby certainly pulled me in. I look forward to the next adventure.