Friday, August 11, 2017

Book Review: The Dire King (Jackaby #4)

Release Date: August 22, 2017
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Length: 352 pages
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times best-selling series the Chicago Tribune called “Sherlock Holmes crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer” sends the eccentric detective and his indispensible assistant into the heart of a war between magical worlds.

The fate of the world is in the hands of detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby and his intrepid assistant, Abigail Rook. An evil king is turning ancient tensions into modern strife, using a blend of magic and technology to push Earth and the Otherworld into a mortal competition. Jackaby and Abigail are caught in the middle as they continue to solve the daily mysteries of New Fiddleham, New England — like who’s created the rend between the worlds, how to close it, and why zombies are appearing around. At the same time, the romance between Abigail and the shape-shifting police detective Charlie Cane deepens, and Jackaby’s resistance to his feelings for 926 Augur Lane’s ghostly lady, Jenny, begins to give way. Before the four can think about their own futures, they will have to defeat an evil that wants to destroy the future altogether.

The epic conclusion to the New York Times best-selling Jackaby series features sly humor and a quirky cast of unforgettable characters as they face off against their most dangerous, bone-chilling foe ever.



Protagonist: The final battle is about to begin as Abigail and Jackaby prepare for war over the worlds. With the Dire King planning on ripping the veil from between Earth and the magical realm that exists just beyond, there's a lot on the line and lives are put in serious danger. I love these characters, I mean, I know I titled this section "Protagonist" but I'm going to just gush about these characters for a while. Abigail is one of the fiercest and most strong willed women I've read about, and she's not even much of a fighter, she's proof that being a "strong female character" doesn't always mean being physically strong. I love how brave in the face of all she fears is and how she handles herself in this story. Jackaby is the quirkiest and most charming character I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. He, like Abigail, is also strong in his own way. He's very much a man of the mind and keen Sight, and how he uses those skills to his advantage in this story are astounding. Jenny has sort of had her story told, but she still has a little development left in her dearly departed self. Jenny is another bit of proof that strength isn't always muscle and sinew, given all that she's been through in the previous book, you'd think she'd hole herself up in her room for a while, but no, she's ready to take on even the toughest challenges. Then, rounding out our crew is Mr. Charlie Barker, a member of the Om Caini race, and his involvement in this story, is a bit heavy, while at the same time much lighter than I anticipated. I'll get into more specifics later, but I love Charlie, he's such a paragon of goodness, it's astounding, yet not grating as you'd expect it to be. Charlie knows what he wants out of life and if people around him would give him a second to voice his desires maybe he would get a chance to grasp them.

Romance: So, there is romance in this book, and as says the description Abigail and Charlie's romance does deepen as Jackaby gives way to his feelings for Jenny, but... there's a war about to start and there's not much of a time for romance. I'm serious though, while I did enjoy the romance in this story, that's not the main focal point and that's made abundantly clear, and I'm okay with that. I felt like there wasn't much need for a lot of romance as you know, the world is in danger of imploding or whatever it is that would happen, so I was actually very okay with the light touch of romance this book had, and let's be honest this isn't a series that's known for its romances.

World Building: So, the thing that made Ghostly Echoes my favorite installment in this series, tying storyline in that book to the rest of the series, was something that left me in awe, and the author manages to do it again, this time tying some things back even before the start of the series to Jackaby and his companions and their misadventures in New Fiddleham. In this story, we also learn more about Charlie and his family. We learn the life Charlie left behind and the responsibilities he shirked off to be a police man in America. Getting this look, not only into Charlie, but the supernatural race he belongs to is marvelous. It adds a new layer to the story and while there were elements that we didn't quite see played out and more skipped over, they were elements I still enjoyed nonetheless. This world is incredible and I loved every second of reading about it. We get to delve deeper into the magical realm beyond the veil (I forget what it's called and I'm too lazy to get up and get my book to check.) and learn more about its storied past and why it's separated from the human world.

Predictability: So, I was about to say that this book is full of twists and turns, but honestly other than one twist, maybe two but I called that twist I just gave up on it before it happened, I pretty much called every major twist in this book. Don't get me wrong I second guessed myself A LOT, but I still guessed the twists. The one I couldn't guess, or maybe I could have but didn't, shook me because that twist made me second guess a bunch of other twists that I did correctly guess but wasn't revealed yet. This twist shook the foundation of my prediction skills, and I'm not even sure we got a good enough explanation for it.

Ending: I want to just rant and rave about all the things that happen in this ending, the good and the bad, but no matter how I swing it, I can't say anything without, pretty much, implying spoilers, which I try and avoid doing at all costs. I will say this, the majority of the ending I loved, in fact, while there was one thing I wasn't too keen on, I kind of moved on rather quickly. However, I'll just say that the "Supplemental Materials" which is pretty much code here for epilogue, is what I want to rant and rave the most about. So, if/when you read this book and you want to rant and rave about the end too, I'm here for you if you want.


So, I loved this book, yes I wasn't too keen on the ending, but I don't hold that against the author or the story, and honestly, I'm waiting to see what his (the author's) next move is before declaring any hatred toward this beautiful and wonderfully crafted world!


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