Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Length: 57 pages
Perfect for fans of Jackaby who are desperately awaiting the release of its sequel, Beastly Bones, this novella-length story follows the rollicking events of Abigail Rook’s birthday celebration.
Abigail hopes that her birthday will slip by unnoticed and uncelebrated, but her employer, detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby, has other plans. Using magical party crackers that teleport the pair to unknown destinations in time and space and a cryptic map that may lead to a forgotten treasure, Jackaby intends to give Abigail what he considers to be the best gift of all--adventure.
Abigail and Jackaby must tame an enormous (and carnivorous) rabbit, defend a castle, and master a dirigible if they want to find the treasure and get back to New Fiddleham alive.
Protagonist: Abigail Rook doesn't want a lot of pomp and circumstance for her birthday, but living with the eccentric R. F. Jackaby she should have guessed things would get crazy. I love the character of Abigail as I've mentioned in my review of Jackaby and she's just as great in this book. Because this is a novella there isn't all that much character development the her character, however there is just a touch toward the end which I really enjoyed. I also love her relationship with Jackaby, there's nothing romantic going on and I doubt she believes he thinks of her as much more than an employee, but you can tell that he cares for her and she cares for him.
World-Building: I honestly didn't expect there to be that much world-building in this novella, and there wasn't a ton, but there was certainly more than I had anticipated. I'll be interested to see what details make it into future installments and whether certain characters we meet in this novella will make a reappearance as the series continues. There's no end to the delight that this novella brought, it's much less dark than Jackaby, but still has a real adventurous feel to it that the first book had. There is a mystery of sorts, involving the map this pair acquires, and I was surprised by the outcome.
Predictability: I can honestly say that I was surprised by a great many things in this novella. There was a lot, especially toward the beginning that was very easy to predict, but as this adventure gets going there are great puzzles, riddles, and twists that revealed themselves along the way. While there was nothing too shocking or surprising about these twists they are still extremely enjoyable ones.
Ending: So since this is a standalone story of sorts it wraps up rather nicely. There's a bit of a twist ending but nothing monumental. The very end doesn't foreshadow any new adventure or leave the reader at a cliffhanger. The end is where the sort of subtle message of this novella comes to light which I liked very much.
I think if you loved the first book, you'll love this novella, it's free and includes a fantastic and at times hysterical adventure.
GIVEAWAY ALERT! Want to win a SIGNED copy of Jackaby the first novel in this series? I'm giving TWO copies. Enter here: (Giveaway is below the review!)