Jackaby by William Ritter


Though this book had a lot of potential, I found myself counting down the pages until it was over. And that's never a good sign.

Newly arrived in America in 1892, Abigail Rook has a need for adventure. And there, her first day in a new country, she meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator and a seer--which means he has the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail, too, has a gift; she notices ordinary but important details in her surroundings, and it makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant.

And her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a new case: a supernatural creature who steals the blood of his victims. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s not. He must battle the opinions of the police force, aside from a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane, and solve the case on his own before the creature kills again.

First of all, the description of "Doctor Who meets Sherlock" is a little misleading. It's more Supernatural meets Sherlock. Anyway, I found myself very underwhelmed by this book. I've never been a huge fan of mystery novels or historical fiction, but I wanted to give this a shot because of it's pretty good reviews, and because my book club is reading it. But this book combined the things I don't like the most about both of those genres, and put them in this book; the repetitive nature of mysteries and the dryness of historical fiction. So while I liked the idea of this book, I wasn't impressed by the lack of follow-through.

I felt very unattached to both Abigail and Jackaby. Again, I liked the idea of them more than the characters themselves. Jackaby was scatterbrained and amusing, lonely and clever. But Abigail was...really underdeveloped. I don't feel like I got to know her at all, except she wants an adventure and thinks the junior detective, Charlie, is cute. She did have a snark when it came to men and their opinion that a woman shouldn't be investigating murder though, and I loved it. But generally, I wanted more personality from both of them.

The relationships weren't really developed either, romantic or friendship, because it was such a short book and all of it was spent investigating the murders. But I don't think there will ever be a romance between Jackaby and Abigail. There wasn't even a hint of it in this book. I don't think that's a bad thing, I just predict that nothing will ever happen between the two of them.

The writing was fine. It wasn't particularly exciting, but it wasn't bad. Which is kind of how I felt about the novel itself.

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