Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review: Beastly Bones by William Ritter

Beastly Bones by William Ritter 
Series: Jackaby #2
Published: September 22nd, 2016
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
296 pages (ebook)
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Mystery
Acquired this book: Won
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

 In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First, members of a particularly vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens. A day later, their owner is found murdered, with a single mysterious puncture wound to her neck. Then, in nearby Gad's Valley, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing, and an unidentifiable beast attacks animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Policeman Charlie Cane, exiled from New Fiddleham to the valley, calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.

Two years ago when Jackaby came out, it was being promoted as 'Sherlock meets Doctor Who'. Now, for someone who loves both those things, that was setting the bar pretty high. From my experience, comparing a book to another book/TV show/movie is rarely a good idea because it often sets impossibly high expectations for diehard fans. I was relieved and thrilled when I read Jackaby and discovered it was very much Sherlock meets Doctor Who, with its own unique and fun premise and characters. I was excited to carry on with the series and went into Beastly Bones with high hopes. While the book was mostly entertaining and had quite a bit going for it, I was disappointed.

Where Jackaby was fun, quirky, and fast paced, I found Beastly Bones dragged quite a bit. It started out well; the story picked up right where the last one left off, and we’re thrown into a world - Jackaby’s world - where paranormal happenings are commonplace. Abigail was getting used to her boss’s peculiarities and to the fact the world holds much more than most people are aware of. I still enjoyed Abigail’s voice and her observations, and thought she was a great match for Jackaby. There were some new character additions too, and they added a lot to the story.

There was nothing ‘wrong’ with Beastly Bones. The characters, plot, and premise were all great. There was just something about it that was underwhelming. The entire middle of the book dragged. Things happened at a very...slow...rate. There was too much technical talk. I kept thinking of it as ‘dino talk’ or ‘science talk’ - either way, it had my eyes glazing over more than once. There was also something lacking when it came to Jackaby himself. As I said before, as a huge fan of both Sherlock and Doctor Who, Jackaby appealed to me because he was a mixture of the two, with his own special, unique quirks thrown in. His social awkwardness and chaotic energy made for some hilarious dialogue, and I liked that he was a bit of a mystery. Those things were still the same, and while he did have some amusing remarks and observations, I didn’t find myself laughing as much or feeling as engaged or curious.

Overall, Beastly Bones was good but not great. With a bit more action, the book could have been great, but the sluggish pace affected my overall enjoyment. This could be solely a ‘me’ thing though, so I’d recommend reading it if you enjoyed Jackaby, and I’ll definitely be reading the third book, Ghostly Echoes. There was fantastic set-up for the third book throughout Beastly Bones, so I’m hopeful that it’ll have the magic and that special something that made me love Jackaby.  

{My review of Jackaby by William Ritter}

Have you read Jackaby or Beastly Bones? What did you think? If you haven't read them, do you plan to? How do you feel about books being compared to other books/movies/TV shows? Can you think of any examples where the comparisons were warranted?

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