Jackaby by William Ritter


I woke up early this morning, as the sun was rising and couldn’t help myself to some balcony reading and green tea. The weather was beautiful and there is just something about waking up before everyone else does. I love the quiet. I had about 30 pages left of Jackaby and finished them off around 7:45 am.

This novel was amazing. I went into it thinking it would just be a good Halloweenish story for October and not having many expectations of it. I’m not a fan of mystery usually. I loved how this story blended all of the Sherlock-like characters and had some of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of ratiocination in it. It also reminded me of the TV shows Doctor Who and Lost Girl. The villians in the novel, and the deductive reasoning of Abigail Rook and R. F. Jackaby reminded me of those, and all of the faeries in Lost Girl.

I’m really hoping for a sequel. I must know what happens with Abigail and Charlie Cane! I would also love some more stories of Jackaby, and perhaps more about the ghost Jenny. Who was her lover? It was so vague! He must still be living. Some of my favorite aspects of the story were Douglas the duck and Hatun the witchy hobo. William Ritter’s sense of hodge-podge was spot on. It can be very hard for authors to pull off “hodge-podge” but he did so in a very quirky way.

I also found this novel somewhat educational. Ritter is an extremely talented writer. His language is absolutely beautiful and comedic, all at once! I very much enjoyed his elaborate description and figurative language. Not many authors write in this way anymore. I’m not sure if it’s because of the dystopian trend right now. Those books seem more focused on suspense and straight and to the point edginess. The novels Jackaby and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern are now in my top books for beautifully written language and description. (Next to all of Tolkiens books of course!) I found myself pulling up Dictionary.com on a few instances. His vocabulary could easily rival that of Tolkien. On top of the way it was written, I learned about fantasy creatures from this novel. I had never heard of a “Redcap” or of the dog-like creature Charlie Cane was descended from before reading this. I love learning about different mythological creatures. There were also mentions of La Llorona from Hispanic cultures and Baba Yaga from Russian cultures. It’s amazing how well he managed to blend everything together.

In the back of the book, it says that Ritter came up with the story one night after tucking his infant son into bed. There’s no telling what kind of bedtime stories this kid will get to hear growing up! I bet his father can come up with some good ones of his own. I’m wondering if the author was inspired by tales of Sherlock or if the idea just hit him of his own fruition.

I would go as far to say that this novel would do really well as a movie. It was interesting, fast paced, and had many diverse quirky characters. I think audiences would love it!


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