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Beastly Bones: A Jackaby Novel Paperback – August 2, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—R.F. Jackaby and his trusty assistant, Abigail Rook, investigate fascinatng and mysterous forms of paranormal phenomena in the latest series offering. In this sequel to Jackaby (Algonquin, 2014), Ritter seamlessly presents enough backstory for newcomers to thoroughly enjoy this hybrid of historical fiction and fantasy. Jackaby and Rook are called to probe into a series of strange murders—could it be vampires or jiangshi (zombies in Chinese folklore)? After following a lead to the picturesque Gad's Valley, they literally unearth one of the most exciting and dangerous animals of all time. The protagonist's flighty perspicacity pairs well with Rook's down-to-earth demeanor, and together the pair work to overcome a threat to the entire world. On a scale of "one to pomegranate," this volume is undoubtedly a pomegranate; it offers humor, adventure, mystery, gore, and romance all rolled into one well-written package. The best news? There is more to come, as Ritter sets up Jackaby and Rook's next case regarding the ephemeral Jenny, murdered many years ago. VERDICT Recommended for fans of Jonathan Stroud's "Lockwood & Company" series (Disney-Hyperion).—Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“In this sequel to Jackaby (Algonquin, 2014), Ritter seamlessly presents enough backstory for newcomers to thoroughly enjoy this hybrid of historical fiction and fantasy . . . On a scale of ‘one to pomegranate,’ this volume is undoubtedly a pomegranate; it offers humor, adventure, mystery, gore, and romance all rolled into one well-written package. The best news? There is more to come, as Ritter sets up Jackaby and Rook’s next case regarding the ephemeral Jenny, murdered many years ago.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Recommend this to readers who enjoy Doctor Who, Supernatural, Grimm, Dresden Files, Harry Potter, and, of course, Sherlock Holmes stories, and who are ready to stay up into the wee hours reading.” —VOYA, starred review
“[A] fast-paced sequel to Jackaby . . . As bones go missing--and then small livestock--methodical investigation and scientific experimentation yield to madcap chases, slapstick humor, and romance. Ritter's blends--fantasy and mystery, action and tension, oddball detective and able sidekick--employ but exceed their stock elements. With one case closed but two unsolved, the well-matched, well-written duo will undoubtedly return to fight a more fearsome foe. A witty and weird adventure equal parts Sherlock and Three Stooges.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“The fun continues in this Holmsien follow-up to Jackaby. . . Fans of the first novel will be pleased with this entertaining sequel, rich in intrigue and imagination.” —Booklist
“Jackaby’s sense of humor, ever droll and capricious, shines once again in this sequel. The storytelling is just as solid and absorbing, too, even with quite the crowd—shape-shifters, rival paleontologists, an avid hunter, a livestock-pillaging predator, an intrepid journalist—and there’s a bit of romance as well.” –The Horn Book
“Critics laud William Ritter’s Jackaby series as perfect for fans of Sherlock, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Supernatural – and while that’s a tall order for any book, I’m happy to report that Jackaby and its sequel, Beastly Bones, more than fit the bill! Utterly charming.”—Mugglenet
“Jackaby — aptly described as a mix between Sherlock and the Doctor — is in fine form with this sequel, which picks up nicely following the events of the first book. Fans will eagerly dive into his latest adventure with his assistant Abigail, as they find themselves on another mysterious and possibly magical case. The tone and atmosphere of Ritter’s novels are immersive and delightful.” —Novel Novice
“Jackaby was one of my stand out reads last year and when I found out there would be a series I was so excited…If you’re looking for a fun read, filled with quirky characters and lots of the paranormal, you definitely need to be reading these books. Ritter tells an amazingly unique story full of action and mystery.” —Fiction Fare
“I really enjoyed the plot of Beastly Bones. It was definitely fast-paced and so fun! The mysteries themselves weren’t that easy to solve, and I liked that even when I thought I had everything figured out, there was another twist. I really loved the characters as well. Jackaby is still the right mix of the Tenth Doctor and Sherlock and Abigail is spunky and interesting in her own right. She doesn’t stand at the sidelines nor does she attempt to follow the stereotypical expectations that others expect of her." —Read.Sleep.Repeat.
“Beastly Bones will make you smile. I found myself grinning ridiculously in public at the bits of humor in Beastly Bones. It’s subtle, but very effective in breaking the serious moments. You find the humor in Jackaby’s mannerisms, his interactions, and what he says (he made a rolling-your-eyes type of pun that had me snickering despite myself). It makes everything so much delightful, and I cannot stress how wonderfully timed they were." —The Novel Hermit
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Top Customer Reviews
-Book Description: 5
-Simile Use: 4(little to none)
-Description: 4 (well-balanced)
The second novel in the Jackaby series continues to follow the eccentric Jackaby and his intrepid assistant Abigail on a new adventure. This novel ties nicely in with the first, thickening the plot of the series along the way. It also gives us a deeper look into Abigail and how she is going to develop as a person. The character development of this novel focuses mainly on Abigail learning how to balance who she wants to be without allowing too many people to influence her. As always, Jackaby is there to guide her but never pushes her in any one direction. We have intense excitement and twists in the plot that you'll never see coming. Overall, Ritter delivers another fantastic read that is Sherlock Holmes meets the supernatural. Bravo!
Here, William Ritter takes an entirely different and, to my mind, wonderfully successful approach. He takes the Holmes style and the essence of the Holmes character and fashions that into an entirely new protagonist who stands alone and complete as an interesting character in his own right. And in the Jackaby books, this works. Of course R. F. Jackaby is very much like a young Sherlock Holmes; that is the fun and engaging conceit that runs in the background of all of these books. But Jackaby is very much his own man. He's not a copy or a spoof. He is Jackaby - brilliant, aloof, eccentric, single minded, impatient, and maddening. But he also has a sly, ironic and deadpan sense of humor that holds up well and helps keep him interesting and entertaining.
In a similar vein, Ritter provides a Watson to narrate the tale. But this Watson, Abigail Rook, is a stronger and much more interesting character than is Watson. She is sometimes awed by Jackaby, sometimes bemused, but she has her own mind and is invested with enough girrrrl power to not be brow beaten or overshadowed by Jackaby. She also has a much better sense of humor than does Watson, and is not blind to her boss's more amusing eccentricities. This introduces a bit of lightness and distance to the narrative. And, while Rook admires her boss the way Watson admired Holmes, Rook is much freer and more lively in expressing her feelings about Jackaby's actions and methods. One of the great delights of these books is the snappy exchanges in which Jackaby and Rook engage.
Further, Rook's slightly deadpan delivery nicely balances the supernatural nature of Jackaby's cases. Instead of trying to create some cumbersome hybrid of Encyclopedia Brown/Hardy Boys/Sherlock Holmes, Ritter has opted for mysteries that turn on the supernatural. This allows for a lot more freedom in plotting and action, further distances the characters and the books from the constraints of traditional Holmes stories, and adds a whole new level of appeal for the intended young readers. We still have detection, deduction, clues and reasoning; we just have the occassional shape shifter or eldritch creature tossed into the mix to spice things up.
The upshot, for me, is that the Jackaby books are grand and engaging larks. This is the second book, and it picks up right where the first left off. It doesn't end in a cliffhanger, but it does end with some larger questions unanswered and with a shadowy sinister villain at large and unknown. (If you try the free Kindle sample it won't get you the whole book, of course, but it will certainly give you a fair flavor of the Jackaby world, and is well worth a look.)
(Please note that I picked up a free copy of the ARC of this book at the 2015 ALA Convention. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)