Review of Ghostly Echoes by Will Ritter

GhostlyEchoesGhostly Echoes
By: Will Ritter
Release Date: August 23rd 2016
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Convention

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected.

Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.

My Thoughts:
I’ve been so excited about Ghostly Echoes because I’ve adored both the prior books in the series, Jackaby and Beastly Bones. Each book focuses on a character and the backstory and mystery surrounding them. In Ghostly Echoes the focus was on Jenny, the ghost that cohabitates with Jackaby at 926 Augur Lane.

As with both books before I felt the pacing was even and as always I loved the characters. I didn’t feel as connected to this story because Jenny hasn’t ever been the main focus for me. I’m eager to hear Jackaby’s story (we did get tid-bits and with the way this ended I think we’ll learn much more in the next and final novel). I think we all have been curious though to find out what exactly had happened to poor Jenny to leave her in her ghost-like way. Many questions are answered and we get to see much more of Jenny and her past.

In this book I felt that Abigail was able to really stand on her own and she took matter’s into her own hands. There were many instances where she had to go forward on her own and without the aid of anyone. She continued to grow and as always her brave and loyal attitude made her very likeable.

In this book we see so little of Charlie- he does enter the fray about midway or so but his presence was very minimum and there was very little in the way of romance or interactions between him and Abigail.

I really liked how Ritter incorporated ancient myth into this story and tied together plot points throughout this novel and the series as a whole. I found the mystery to be intriguing and not obvious. Of course, the supernatural bits are so much fun and really add to the historical feel of the books. Jackaby remained my favorite character and perhaps that was why this was so far my least favorite of the series. His role didn’t feel nearly as strong and his character felt a tad glossed over. We did get a little glimpse into his childhood but I wanted much more (as I said above).

Final Thoughts:
I found Ghostly Echoes to be a quick and entertaining read though out of the series I connected less with this one than the others. I did enjoy finding out more back-story about Jenny and like where things are leading for the next book.

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Review of Beastly Bones by Will Ritter

Ritter_BeastlyBones_jkt_COMP.inddBeastly Bones
By: Will Ritter
Release Date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
“I’ve found very little about private detective R. F. Jackaby to be standard in the time I’ve known him. Working as his assistant tends to call for a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.”

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, a vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens, and a day later, their owner is found murdered with a single mysterious puncture wound. Then in nearby Gad’s Valley, now home to the exiled New Fiddleham police detective Charlie Cane, dinosaur bones from a recent dig mysteriously go missing, and an unidentifiable beast starts attacking animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.

My Thoughts:
I am such a fan of the character of Jackaby and Will Ritter’s writing in general. Beastly Bones was a strong sequel to Jackaby and I really could read as many adventures between Jackaby and Abigail as Ritter is able to create. I adore this duo and felt that they were just as strong in this book as in the first. We even get introduced to a few new characters that I found easy to love.

Ritter has an ability to create a quirky, fun story and still keep it from veering into corny. Some of the topics approached (an assistant turned into a duck, shape-shifting kittens, etc) could easily become silly but for me, they don’t. I adore the complexity he has created in Jackaby especially. I want to find out more about him and I love that in each book we get a touch of his back-story.

Abigail was just as easy to root for and once again she’s a great narrator. I loved seeing her more in her element in this story since she gets to go back to her roots and investigate a mystery surrounding dinosaur bones. I was thrilled to see Charlie back too! Again I loved the interactions between him and Abigail (though I think they were a tad less in this book).

Though the main story line was a tad simplistic in some ways (I could connect the dots a tiny bit faster than the characters in some instances)the way everything pulled together and especially more info into Jenny’s past really made this novel intriguing. I found it to be fast paced and a very quick read.

The new characters- a reporter, master trapper and archeologists were well developed and each unique in their personalities and dialog. I loved that the archeologists had a rivalry going on which added some rather humorous parts. One of the new character, Hank Hudson the master trapper, had a touch of a Harry Potter feel. I could totally see Hagrid in Hank because of the love of incredible beasts and their larger than life personalities. Though I saw a resemblance it still felt fun and original and not at all a copy. For me, these books give a lovely tip of the hat to some many things I adore (Sherlock, Doctor Who now a bit of Harry Potter). I’m so sold!

Final Thoughts:
I could go on and on about how entertaining, quirky, and addicting these books are to me. I really adore this series and will continue to read each and every book Will Ritter writes.

Extras:

Review of The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

The Witch's BoyThe Witch’s Boy
By: Kelly Barnhill
Release Date: September 16th 2014
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Format: Print ARC

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. Sure enough, Ned grows up weak and slow, and stays as much as possible within the safe boundaries of his family’s cottage and yard. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it’s Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

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