A Review of Jackaby by William Ritter
This book was exactly what I needed after working my way through Wuthering Heights. This book is refreshing. This book is just good YA.
The writing is great, and chapters are just long enough, with cliffhangers at the end. There is a good dose of humor, which reminds me very much of the witty banter that can be found in Sherlock or Doctor Who–two television shows this book is often compared to. Just look at how one chapter ends:
Across town, Mr. (so-and-so) spent the evening dying. To be more accurate, he spent a very brief portion of the evening dying, and the rest of it being dead.
It’s just good storytelling.
Although Mina found it a little slow in the beginning, I was happy with the pacing. Like all good mysteries, it hinted and teased just enough to keep you moving on to the next chapter. And I loved Jackaby and Abigail. They were quirky and fun, which was especially enjoyable due to the lack of any awkward or cliché romance blooming. I feel like that would have largely distracted from the ultimate purpose of the book–finding our killer!
Only a few things kept Jackaby from being an all-out favorite. My main “dislike” was that it felt overly-saturated with the supernatural. This may stem from Ritter trying to give readers a fuller picture of the world he’s created, but I thought the story would have been more effective had it only focused on two, maybe three supernatural beings (off the top of my head, I remember six). The ending also had some level of predictability–no I didn’t figure everything out, but I was spot-on in a few key points. In a fairly short YA book, it’s hard not to guess at least part of the end; you’re only working with so many characters/details.
Overall, I thought Jackaby was a fun easy read that felt like a pleasant stroll after taking on a heavier classic. I would definitely consider picking up the sequel Beastly Bones when it hits bookshelves.