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Jackaby #2

Beastly Bones

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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, 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.

296 pages, Hardcover

First published September 22, 2015

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About the author

William Ritter

32 books1,713 followers
WILLIAM RITTER is an Oregon educator and author of the New York Times bestselling Jackaby series. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark.

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5 stars
2,954 (26%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,715 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,463 reviews9,618 followers
April 14, 2017
This book was just as funny as the first one. I really love Jackaby. Well, I also love Miss Rook, Jenny and Douglas.

Jackaby is like Sherlock but with fantasy and paranormal. Can you image for real?

Jenny, the ghost and Douglas the mallard are in the book again, although, they don't have big parts like they did the first time around. But I have a feeling they will in the next book.


I mean the book just starts right out of the bat. Jackaby and Miss Rook go over to a Mrs. Beaumont's to see what's going on with her -uh- kittens, yeah, kittens.

Mrs. Beaumont led us to a small alcove at the rear of the room. Within the recess were a pile of blankets, a little pink collar with a bell on the front, and a set of silver bowls perched on white doilies. In one bowl was a bit of what looked to be leftover tuna, and in the other were water, a great deal of cat hair, and a live fish. The fish circled uncomfortably, being nearly as wide as the bowl itself.

Jackaby squatted, resting his forearms on his knees and staring into the water. He watched the fish take a few cramped laps, studying its movements, and then he plucked a bit of damp cat hair from the rim, sniffed it, tasted it, and tucked it into a pocket somewhere in the depths of his coat.

I could sit here all day and add excerpts, there are just too many.

Jackaby and Rook have some different cases they are working. They have to figure out what to do with these shape-shifters.

There are some dinosaur bones found on someone's land but there is something strange going on, they start to find scales and dead bodies.

There is a mysterious man around. Jackaby thinks there is a vampire around but the local copper isn't happy with that answer.

There are some things going on with ghost Jenny and it sounds like the next book is going to be about the crew trying to solve her case. It may also have something to do with the mysterious man that has been hanging around . . . .

I love what the culprit is that is causing havoc out at the farm where the bones are located. I don't love that one of the nice peeps gets killed because of said culprit. There were a few people getting killed but this one I really liked.

There are a few funny characters added to this book as well.

I really enjoyed this book and I feel that the entire series is going to be awesome. It's just too freaking funny with paranormal thrown in the mix!

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,938 reviews787 followers
June 23, 2017
I was lucky enough to be granted an ARC of Beastly Bones from NetGalley and I read Jackaby just a couple of days before I read Beastly Bones and that was a wise decision since the story in this book picks up right where we left Abigail and Jackaby in the last book; A woman with an ailing cat. Well, ailing is probably the wrong word, the cat is slowly turning into a fish. But Abigail and Jackaby have a bigger fish to fry than then the catfish because dinosaur bones from a recent dig has gone missing and they together with exiled police detective Charlie Cane/Barker must find the missing bones. But odd things are happening at the site and something is attacking both animals and people.

This sequel to Jackaby was a real treat. I liked Jackaby very much, but the story was more interesting in this one. We have already got to know Abigail, Jackaby, Charlie, Jenny and Marlowe in the first book so instead of getting to know the characters as one does in the first book we get into action from page one. Of course, we get to know new characters along the way in this book like Hank Hudson a skilled trapper and Nellie Fuller a reporter, but I feel that the story in this one is better since it is more multilayered. We have the obvious bone theft, but there is a mysterious man that seems to be behind it and also the mystery of Jenny and her murder. Not everything gets answered in this book and the book ends with a cliffhanger. But that is alright, it only makes me more eager to read the next book. On a side note, there is some romance in this book, well some flirting between Abigail and Charlie, but that is just fine. It's not rushed in, it is not instalov, it's sweet, in a good way.

When it comes to YA is this the best I have read in a long while and I'm looking forward to reading more books in this series.

I received this copy from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review!
Profile Image for Vanessa J..
347 reviews598 followers
September 27, 2015

Well, this was even more underwhelming than the first book.

Technically, there’s nothing “wrong” with this book. There are no tropes, it’s not cliched, romance never is the central spot (there’s just a very slight hint of romance, actually), etc. BUT this wasn’t exactly a “good” book either.

We have the same old characters from book 1, but now they’re engaged in a new adventure that involves shape-shifters, theft and murder. There is more danger involved and Abigail (the narrator) plays a more important role that she did in book 1.

My first complaint is going to be acout the characters. I said in my review of Jackaby that my favourite character was Jackaby himself, even though he felt a bit distant. Well, in this book he felt even more far away, and he also lost his charm. His personality was the same as in book 1, and he also made funny remakrs at times, but his way of thinking felt a little inconsistent with book 1.

You see, this book deals with magical creatures – science cannot explain them. In Jackaby, these creatures were just fantastical and end of story. In Beastly Bones, however, there were some creatures that were tried to be given a biological origin. I could have ignored this if not for the fact that it was a strange combination of fantasy and science – you just cannot mix them without making a mess.

My biggest issue with this aspect was not that fantasy and science were combined in such a disorganised way, though. My problem was that this book was pretty inconsistent with the previous installment. Why change from supernatural to science just like that? You had said everything was extraordinary and lacking of logic, so why try to give it logic after you denied it?

I also had a problem following the plot, and not because it was complex, because let’s face it, there’s nothing serious or remarkable about it. No – my problem was that it was OMFG so… damn… boring. Once the mystery is settled and they have their case, they travel from New Fiddleham to another town and once there things draaaaag.

Okay, here’s what you will get during their stay there:

• Digging
• More digging
• Dinousaur bones
• More digging
• Talk about slaying dragons
• More digging
• Earth excavating
• Removal of dirt
• Digging

One-freaking-hundred pages of just digging and describing all the sensations that went through Abigail’s head while doing so. Really, wtf?! Everything felt like a filler and I kept wishing the book to be over.

Another aspect that really bothered me was this book’s similarities with my all-time favourite books, The Monstrumologist series.

Yeah, so… I said it in my review for the first book. Everything about this series reminds me to The Monstrumologist.

• Doctor of the unknown? Check.
• Orphaned assistant? Check (Sidenote: Abigail is not really an orphan, but her parents don’t even appear nor are important)
• Creatures that prey on humans? Check.
• Victorian writing style? Check.
• Set in 19th century New England? Check.

This one is a big fail, though. It tries too hard to be dark and scary and even bloody (please, there’s only one “violent” scene and it’s so rushed and PG that I wouldn’t even count it), but if this managed to actually disturb someone, it would be a 5-year-old, and he would quickly forget about it – that’s how memorable this book was.

Anyway, this was a huge disappointment. Book 1, even though very fluffy and predictable, was a slightly fun read; this one, on the other hand, put me to sleep most of the time. If you’re looking for a quality book that deals with more scary creatures (includes humans too), is more mature and dark and questions humans and morality, I suggest reading The Monstrumologist instead. If you’re looking for a mindless, immature, predictable and boring book, then I recommend this series. My job here is done.
Profile Image for Constantine.
834 reviews135 followers
January 17, 2023
Rating: ⭐⭐ ½
Genre: Young Adult + Historical + Fantasy + Mystery

Beastly Bones is the second novel in the Jackaby series written by William Ritter. In this installment, the two main protagonists continue their investigation into the disappearance of recently found fossils as well as the killings of townspeople. The presence of a dangerous beast is uncovered with the assistance of the law enforcement officer Charlie, and the misfit group is tasked with vanquishing it in order to save people.

When I initially started reading the book, I had conflicting feelings since the first story, "Jackaby," was not as entertaining to me as I had anticipated it to be. In spite of the fact that Jackaby is not my favorite, I still consider it to be superior to this one and more interesting. The plot of Beastly Bones was even more disappointing than that of Jackaby since it lacked the same sense of mystery and appeal. It was difficult for me to fully commit myself to the tale since the plot was lacking in strength and failed to hold my interest.

I continue to believe that the characters in Beastly Bones as well as in Jackaby were both interesting and fun to read about, which was a saving grace for this book in particular. Abigail Rook, who serves as the story's main protagonist, is a courageous and self-reliant young lady who is simple to root for. The supporting characters were also well-crafted and contributed a witty and appealing element to the narrative. However, the storyline was so uninteresting that even these intriguing personalities were not enough to make up for it. I am unable to put my finger on exactly what it is that is not working for me. Perhaps this series is not for me. I'll have to check to see if book three follows the same formula or takes a new approach.
Profile Image for mith.
750 reviews258 followers
February 24, 2017
Took too damn long to finish. Of course, I found this absolutely charming and hilarious and every speck of the word brilliant. I am eagerly awaiting the next book. This already has become one of my top favourite series.
And I hope it's longer than a trilogy.
It should never end.

Bless you netgalley.

its like everyone is already getting accepted on net galley and im just here.... waiting....
2015: The year of splendid covers.
I'm so glad this is going to exist. I can't wait for a cover!
Profile Image for TL .
1,820 reviews35 followers
September 28, 2015
"Some girls work in shops or sell flowers. Some girls find husbands and play house. I assist a mad detective in investigating unexplained phenomena--like fish that ought to be cats but seem to have forgotten how. My name is Abigail Rook and this is what I do."

"What we need is a thorough, discreet report from somebody accustomed to working outside the usual parameters of the law."

"What a coincidence," Jackaby said. "I've been thinking of putting that very thing on my business cards. So you're sending us out on assignment?"

*Edited on 9-26-15 with a graphic I made via textgram, dang thing finally worked haha... fairly simple*

“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.”

A series should not leave you feeling with "Thank God this book is over."

We have a weirder mystery than the first, taking Jackaby and Abigail to Gad's Valley to investigate. We once again meet up with our friend Charlie as well as well as a new face that follows them into the investigation, although for his own reasons.

His name is Hank Hudson... guess who that name put me in mind of? He's his own person, I liked him alot and could see why him and Jackaby got along so well. His occupation didn't surprise me at all and I loved his enthusiasm for it.

I sensed the Sherlock more in this one than in the first. The book still has it's own vibe but it, for me anyway, lacked the spark of the first one. It started off okay, but it went into 'meh' territory fairly quickly. Not enough that I wasn't curious to see how everything ended (and it is a compulsively readable book) but it soon felt like a chore.

The conclusion of what happened plus a certain few peoples' involvement wasn't too surprising really (well, one instance kind of was). I kind of figured out what the 'mysterious stranger' purpose was but it didn't lessen the creepy effect.

The writing was good and yet not.. if that makes sense.

The humor was still there and I did enjoy the banter very much:

Jackaby sighed. "Yes, Miss Rook. You've found me out. I am the devious imp of fairy tales."

"It wouldn't be the strangest thing you've told me since I started working for you."

"Jackaby nodded eagerly. "Won't be a moment, madam. Just looking for residual traces of paranormal malignance, something indicative of heinous moral grotesquery."

"You're weird. Watch out for duck poop."

"I always do!""

"Is your boss always so sentimental when he's working?"

"Oh, he cares very much," I said."He just doesn't show it with--you know--emotions."

"They're overrated, anyway." Nellie clicked open the legs of the tripod and nestled it onto the mossy soil."

One part I was a bit disappointed in was

As for Jenny, still love her :) I'm glad some progress was made regarding part of her story. Perhaps we'll know more in the next.. especially given the hint at the end of the story.

Abigail's personal notes at the end regarding something Jackaby told her was only slightly interesting nut neat how it sort of tied into a part of history.

As for

Second-book syndrome perhaps, I will read the next one but maybe wait till it's off paperbackswap instead of getting it in the store or off amazon and the like.

Happy reading!
2-2.5 stars

Vane's excellent review here of the book
Profile Image for ❀Aimee❀ Just one more page....
443 reviews93 followers
May 1, 2020
This installment was still fun, but not as great as the first one. The author continues to have great imagination for mystical creatures. I enjoyed the ones introduced this time.

We saw Abigail becoming more of her own person and learning to do what makes her happy. In the next book, I think we need to see Abigail become more outspoken and opinionated. Because everyone in this series is so reserved, it is lacking somewhat. In order to balance Jackaby's unflappability and Charlie's politeness, we need some more fire from Abigail.

I will be watching for the next story since it looks like we'll be following the story of companion ghost Jenny. She truly intrigues me.
Profile Image for Mir.
4,862 reviews5,005 followers
December 17, 2015
This was fun, although not as good as book one. It felt a little lazier -- more plots that didn't quite make sense*, more careless accidents (the opening one with the crystal bowl -- really? And not mentioning the suspicious gut srating at her window?) and careless remarks. I don't remember our protagonist being particularly clumsy, physically or verbally, in the first book, and I don't remember Jackaby being so clueless about people's feelings, either. Sometimes indifferent, yes, but not in this autistic "not realizing a guy would be upset about his dead wife" sort of way. And I saw the reveal on the monster coming as soon as they started describing the skeleton. But like I said -- fun. And I am interested in finding out about what happened to Jenny to make her a ghost, so I will definitely get the third book when it comes out.

*It makes no sense that the chameleomorphs would be rare. They can turn into anything or any size, and eat anything, and they seem to breed fine. They should be all over the place, eating everything. Including people.
Profile Image for Book Riot Community.
953 reviews126k followers
September 22, 2015
This is the book that I was most excited to get at BEA this year! It's the follow-up to Jackaby, one of my favorite reads of 2014. SO. MUCH. FUN. Think Sherlock Holmes meets H. P. Lovecraft. It's Victorian-era supernatural mysteries! In this one Jackaby and Abigail investigate a murder, missing dinosaur bones, and shape-shifting kittens in a small New England town. Lemme say one part again: Shape-shifting kittens. RIGHT???? You don't have to read the first book to enjoy this but I HIGHLY suggest it!

Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books: http://bookriot.com/category/all-the-...
Profile Image for Paige  Bookdragon.
938 reviews610 followers
September 28, 2015
Actual rating: 3.5

The second book of Jackaby is tad disappointing. It's not Jackaby's character, I'm sure because I enjoyed his weirdness as ever, but mainly because the story is somewhat boring compared to the first book.

What I really liked about the first book is that Jackaby and Abigail did a lot sleuthing in that story. They certainly followed clues like what Sherlock would have done (if ever Sherlock was a paranormal detective).In the Beastly Bones however, I feel like all they ever did was dig a little, quarrel, did a bit flirtation (between Charlie and Abi) dig again and really, THERE'S NOT ENOUGH JACKABY MOMENTS IN THIS BOOK!

Ugh. I know, fellow Jackaby fans. We wanted Jackaby yet the author gave us bones.. What are we gonna do with bones?! Gnaw on it? I'd rather gnaw Jackaby, thank you very much.

Anyway, I'm still inviting you to give this book a try because guess what suckers!


If that isn't enough to make you read this book, then I don't know...

Profile Image for Aneta Bak.
420 reviews103 followers
July 11, 2017
“I might be better prepared to slay dragons, I decided, than to flirt with boys.”

A fantastic sequel. Just as good as the first book.

Even though Abigail has entered the detective business, she still gets excited anytime someone mentions bones. When a new dinosaur is found in the next town over, and one of the owners of the farm dies a mysterious death, Abigail and Jackaby set out to investigate another mystery.

I was amazed with how well this book turned out. It had just as much action and adventure as the first book, and we get to see some more amazing character building.

Abigail really impressed me this book. In the first book we see her becoming a stronger and more independent women, but still afraid at times. In this book we see her become more outgoing and more outspoken, as well as taking control of her actions and becoming and even stronger women. It was absolutely wonderful to read about. Jackaoby on the other hand, did not change one bit, and I loved that as well, he is a perfect character already.

The world building in this book was alright, we do see some new places but they're nothing amazing. The description is very good and well detailed but its not something I truly loved about the book.

I have to say that I liked the plot line a lot more than the first book. The mystery isn't as good as the first book, but it's much more relatable and easier to understand in this book. Theres tons of action and adventure as always and a few new characters, so you won't be bored one bit.

Overall, I would highly recommend reading the second book if you love the first one. If you haven't read the first one, definitely read that one before starting this one. It's perfect for all fans of mystery and paranormal books.

Happy Reading,
Profile Image for gio.
1,019 reviews386 followers
October 28, 2016

Dear Mr. Jackaby,
Please marry me.
xoxo Gio.

Beastly bones is a good sequel.

In terms of plot Beastly bones is, in my opinion, better than Jackaby, because the mystery itself is more complex and less predictable.
I missed Jackaby's wondrous house, because the new setting wasn't as charming (of course, how could it be) but other than that I'm quite satisfied with this sequel. Jackaby himself is as glorious as always and Abigail's character development and progress is impressive. She's the best kind of female character: a sharp, witty woman who doesn't need nor want someome to keep her safe. I really like her.

However, the star of this show is and will always be for me, Jackaby himself. He's still insensitive and rude, but so sharp and clueless at the same time that it is impossible not to love him. So, while I liked Abigail and the fact that she was much more relevant plot wise, I missed him a bit. If I had to complain about something that would be it: more Jackaby is required in the next one.

Bonus points for the lack of romance. I'm not completely satisfied with the ship, even though it is kind of cute, and because of this I'm glad that it does not have much space in this story.
Profile Image for Drew.
449 reviews504 followers
November 9, 2015
“There’s somethin’ big come to Gad’s Valley.”

The Jackaby series is the perfect mix of humor and horror. I love how the characters make me laugh on one page and send shivers up my spine on the next.

Jackaby and Abigail are back, this time investigating missing dinosaur bones in the farming country outside New Fiddleham. Jackaby and Abigail are a strange team of supernatural detectives. Jackaby may appear to be slightly addled in the head, but that's just his ability to see into the paranormal world. Abigail is his smart, clever, and functional apprentice.

I really love Jackaby and Abigail's characters and how they work together. Their friendship is amazing and their personalities balance each other out perfectly. In Beastly Bones Abigail looks out for Jackaby and in return, he gives her relationship advice (which made for a truly hilarious scene). I love Abigail's descriptions of Jackaby:

“Around his neck he had wound a ludicrously long scarf, the ends of which brushed the cobblestones as he walked.”

They are just such a lovable pair. Jackaby won me over in the first book with his crazy fashion statements, observant, curious mind, and odd ideas. I loved Abigail's independency, how she helped Jackaby solve cases, and her adorable crush on Charlie the policeman.

To my surprise, there was an awesome female friendship in this book. The instant Nellie Fuller was introduced I was sure Abigail would become jealous of her. I guess I've read too many YA books where girls fight over guys all the time. I'm very sorry I ever doubted Abigail because the two young women had such a delightful friendship and shared a rather hilarious conversation about romance. I loved how they strengthened each other together and wish I read this kind of thing more often.

You're probably wondering why I gave Beastly Bones such an average rating. While I did love the characters, the mystery plot was a lot weaker than the one in Jackaby. The threat Abigail and Jackaby were hunting down didn't feel as dangerous and there wasn't as much detective work or mystery solving. Ritter does have an ability to evoke wonderful creepy feelings, though.

“There was something else in the atmosphere that I couldn’t quite identify. As I stepped along the walkway, a cold chill swept through my dress and I shivered. Something was wrong.”

I was sad that Jackaby wasn't in the spotlight as much as he was in the first book. I loved his appearances in this one, for every time he spoke he made me smile or laugh out loud, but I wish there had been more of him.

I think this book didn't focus as much on Jackaby because there were some new side characters who were crucial to the plot, but honestly, I found them slightly annoying next to Jackaby.

The characters and setting of Beastly Bones were totally adorable, but sadly the mystery part didn't live up to what I had hoped for. I still recommend you read the wonderful Jackaby, but don't expect quite as many thrills out of the sequel.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews702 followers
September 30, 2015
After finishing Jackaby, I was so eager to continue reading about these characters. And this installment definitely didn't disappoint.

Miss Rook is a bit steadier in her role as Jackaby's assistant, but she still looks to him for guidance and their banter was some of the best parts of the book. As always, Jackaby is a delightful eccentric. He is just so much fun to read.

This plot line was intriguing and I was captivated from the beginning. The ending has me hoping there's going to be a book 3. I know I'll be dying to get anything from this world in my greedy hands.

**Huge thanks to Algonquin Young Readers and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,559 reviews2,312 followers
March 4, 2020
Another awesome supernatural story!

Beastly Bones by William Ritter continues the Jackaby story. In this book there are creatures that change shape by what they eat. They were kittens that are fish then started turning into fish! That's when Jackaby and Abigail get a call to come to check them out. Jackaby is a detective of the weird. The Commissioner asks Jackaby and Abigail to go to the neighboring town to check out a disturbance at an archeological dig. Things go crazy there! Soon no one is safe!
Lots of twists!
Profile Image for Sherna.
455 reviews50 followers
Want to read
December 28, 2014
Profile Image for Books are TARDIS.
165 reviews50 followers
November 7, 2015

“Do you think she’ll be all right?” I asked.
“Of course not,” said Jackaby. “I think she will be dead. Generally speaking that falls outside the realm of all right”

It sure feels beastly (see what I did there) to give a Jackaby book anything less than 4 spangled stars. In "Beastly Bones", the characters remain as charming, vibrant and enterprising as ever. Jackaby, Abigail and Charlie still have my undying love and devotion.

The book started off strong, but then the action petered off and the book became extremely slow-paced in unraveling the mystery. Not much happened in the book till the very end of the story.

Abigail got the chance to shine bright in this book, which was absolutely magnificent to behold. Jackaby was ever the love-able Sherlock-isque oddball. The dialogue in the book was crisp, just like in the first book.
“That’s nonsense,” said Jackaby. “Fortune favors the prepared. Unless you’re talking about the Fates, in which case fortune generally favors Zeus. Were you talking about the Fates?”

And Charlie was Charlie (I love him).

The slow budding romance between Abigail and Charlie is delightful and sweet.

And I love that Jenny's back-story is finally going to be explored.

My favorite quote from this book:
“And mostly I just want to be sure you don’t come to me to discuss your romantic entanglements. I much prefer that you remain on comfortable terms with Miss Cavanaugh. Although, should she ever be unavailable,” Jackaby said earnestly, “I want you to know”—he put a hand gently on my shoulder—“that Douglas is an excellent listener.”

We might have hit a bump in the road book, but our love is strong and we can overcome all obstacles. What I'm saying is: I'm better with you, book.

Profile Image for Britt.
318 reviews81 followers
October 23, 2015
This time around the threat come from a litter of kittens...with scales? That is how these two role and it is absolutely as intriguing as it sounds. Charles Darwin himself happened to dub the little creatures chameleomorphs, a predator that assumes the form of it's prey nonetheless. You can imagine the trouble that could brew. Not only is this investigation wildly entertaining but the dynamic between Abby and Jackaby just adds that special something on top. I am rarely more impressed with a sequel but I have to say I enjoyed this predecessor much more than the first....and I adored the first. Every single aspect of the book is brilliant from the setting to the plot and characters. The thing that always stands out to me in this series is the way William Ritter can make the nonsensical seem so natural.
William Ritter also seems to also be a master of dialogue. He has nailed the banter between the characters lending to the charm of this eccentric tale. There is something for everyone in Beastly Bones...whether you like mystery, a bit of the supernatural, and even a bit of romance! This series will be a must for me always and forever!This review was originally posted on Please Feed the Bookworm Click here to keep reading bout my feels!
Profile Image for Anna lost in stories *A*.
1,021 reviews167 followers
August 30, 2020
The sequel in the Jackaby series was just as good as the first book :) not gonna lie, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this series in general, but I immediately fell in love with it and each installment I read, it just confirms how well it works for me :) so in this one we pick up right where we left off in the first book, following along the supernatural detective Jackaby and his new assistant Abigail Rook on another adventure in 1892 :) this time we visit a new place as well… but seeing some familiar faces :) I don’t want to get into too many details cause I don’t want to ruin certain surprises but I will say this… the first book was a phenomenal introduction into the world and the main set of characters and it works as a pretty good standalone… the sequel however starts to show us more of the world… sharing more details about our main characters, Jackaby specifically… and also hints at some bigger things happening that might be connected to everything that’s been going on :) it’s hard for me to discuss, cause I already read the third book as well, and am not sure when we get to know certain informations :) they are all very quick reads that are highly entertaining so I definitely recommend them to every one who want to read about a Sherlock Holmes type of a detective with a paranormal twist :)


Profile Image for Donna.
3,903 reviews20 followers
October 28, 2017
This is the second book in the Jackaby series, and so far, I'm enjoying these. They are fun, light and entertaining. What I like the most are the characters, both the real, the ghostly, and the changed. It is all so creative. I listened to the audio and I especially enjoyed the voice of Abigail and the news reporter. The humor too was well scripted. So 4 stars.
Profile Image for Sara (Freadom Library).
458 reviews241 followers
August 25, 2017
Actual rating 4.5 stars

This review was originally posted at https://freadomlibrary.wordpress.com/

Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Everything was just better in this second book. It had a faster pace, it was more action packed and it even had a creepy and spooky element that had me on the edge of my seat. There’s suspense and mystery, even more intriguing than the mystery from the first book. It was just as funny as the first, thanks to Jackaby, and full of entertainment and themes of friendship. I’m hopeful that the last book will be the best by far.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
The writing style is getting better but it takes me awhile to get into it in the beginning. It’s light and fast paced. The dialogue is a cross between totally hilarious and informative in regards to the paranormal creatures that are featured. It’s really descriptive and detailed and follows the time period its set in really well. It’s silly and quirky which I appreciate because it fits the story well.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I am really starting to fall in love with this quirky group. Abby is burrowing into my heart little by little. I love her personality and how she’s developing. She’s really smart and clever and that shines in this book a lot. She’s headstrong and determined and I love how she pushes for what she believes in and defends herself against people who think less of her. But at the same time, she’s feminine and wants to be a woman but a woman who can have adventures. She’s trying to figure out how to be herself and what that means and I loved her development! And then there’s Jackaby, who is amazing! He’s exactly the same as he was in the first book. He’s clever and quirky and extremely peculiar. Obviously, he’s incredibly smart about paranormal creatures but he shows a lot of compassion and understanding for Abby in this book. She’s struggling with some of her other relationships and he does the bare minimum for a normal person when it comes to advice but for him, it’s out of this world. I love his character and I want to know more about him and his past. There’s also some new side characters introduced in this book and they were all really interesting and complex. There was a really hilarious rivalry as well as some rough and tough men. AND THERE’S A FEMALE FRIENDSHIP! WOO!

Profile Image for Patty .
818 reviews370 followers
July 20, 2017
** 4.5 stars **

I absolutely loved Beastly Bones!!!! I really enjoyed Jackaby and I was worried if this would live up to the first book and oh did it ever!
Profile Image for Mara.
661 reviews102 followers
October 6, 2015
This is a review for an Advanced Readers Copy.

Dear Beastly Bones,

Perhaps I was biased when I picked you up. I mean, I loved your first book - Jackaby - so much; I knew there was no way I was going to dislike you. I’ve been hungry for more Jackaby and Abigail ever since I finished Book #1, and so it was with eager hands and bated breath that I picked you up. And, Beastly Bones, I was the furthest thing from disappointed.

Abigail Rook continues on as the investigative assistant of idiosyncratic supernatural detective R. F. Jackaby. Together, they scour New Fiddleham, New England for the unexplainable and right supernatural and magical wrongs. Their latest case is the mysterious disappearance of someone’s cat and her remaining kittens which are looking suspiciously fishy. But then Abigail and Jackaby receive a letter from Charlie Cane, the recently exiled policeman and werewolf, about some dinosaur bones that have gone mysteriously missing. Jackaby and Abigail are soon caught up in a wild investigation involving shape-shifting carnivorous creatures, a possibly resurrected dinosaur, two rival archaeologists, and brutal murders. In other words, just another day on the field with R. F. Jackaby.

I can’t say much else about Abigail, Jackaby, and Charlie that I haven’t said already. Abigail is sensible and tough and cheeky and everything that I like in a female protagonist - especially a Victorian era female protagonist. She craves adventure and to prove to herself that she can do what people don't expect - but she has no feminist attitude or chip on her shoulder. She’s still true to her time period. Jackaby is all levels of awesome, with Sherlock’s brilliance and the Doctor’s energy and good cheer. He’s a figure of great mystery still, but we wouldn’t have him any other way. I want to keep Charlie; he’s so sweet and kind and wonderful. The romance between him and Abigail is gradual and sweet - I loved it. And of course, Jackaby’s other live-ins - Jenny the ghost and Douglas the former investigative assistant who got turned into a mallard duck. We get a further glimpse into Jenny’s past, and there’s a promise of even more revelation in the next book. I can’t wait! There are a few new characters: the charming archaeologist Owen Horner and his rival Lewis Lamb; Nellie Fuller, the sassy, smart, devil-take-you journalist who’s always looking for an interesting story; and Hudson, a trapper and collector of odd animals - and one of Jackaby’s old friends. I loved them all. They were bursting with personality and backstory and added so much to the story.

Just like Jackaby, your plot doesn’t slacken at all. Again, maybe I’m bias and just love anything and everything in this world, but I loved all of the world building and the lore and legends, and I was swept up immediately by the mystery. Who was stealing dinosaur bones and why? What was murdering people and slaughtering farm animals? Was it connected and how? While the mystery in Jackaby was a little easier to solve on my own, this one was a bit more complicated. And it’s not totally solved in the end. There promises to be a continuation; smaller pieces to a bigger puzzle were laid out in you, Beastly Bones, and maybe we’ll be getting our very own supernatural Moriarty/Master!

The climax was as crazy and impossible and awesome as one might expect it to be. And I’m thrilled about the foreshadowing for Book #3. I knew you wouldn’t disappoint, Beastly Bones. With Jackaby and Abigail as our protagonists, there’s just no way you could. Your writing is spot on and very Victorianesque, and you are just as quotable as your predecessor. I cannot wait until Book #3!

Feeling ecstatic,
~ Mara A. ~
Profile Image for Alex (The Scribe Owl).
349 reviews109 followers
October 4, 2020
Come see this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl!

Jackaby: ★★★☆☆
Beastly Bones: ★★★☆☆
Ghostly Echoes: ★★★★☆
The Dire King: ★★★★☆

I'm so glad I continued on with this series! I read the first book back in July. I saw the series at my library and I decided to check them out! These books aren't really ones I'd use my own money to buy, but when the library has them that's always a good reason to read them.

Beastly Bones opens immediately with another mystery on deck for Jackaby and Miss Abigail Rook, this one about creatures that shapeshift into whatever food they eat. The next day, they get a message from the nearby town of Gad's Valley, the very same place that a certain Charlie Cane was relocated to, about missing dinosaur bones. The second installment in the Jackaby series brings a just as interesting new mystery to William Ritter's repertoire.

The characters are such an essential part of bringing a book together, and as I've said, I love the characters in this series. From eccentric Mr. Jackaby to politely snarky Miss Rook to sweet Charlie Cane, all the characters have such distinct and interesting personalities that I need to read on. I also still really enjoy that Jackaby and Miss Rook have such a platonic working relationship, which is something that is rarely seen in YA. Jackaby and Miss Rook also have some amazing banter such as:

“Miss Rook, on a scale of one to pomegranate, how dangerous would you say this situation has become?"

"Dangerous?" I faltered.

"Yes, Miss Rook," prompted Jackaby, in your expert opinion."

"On a scale of one to pomegranate?" I followed his lead, checking over the notes I had scribbled in my notepad and speaking in my most audible, serious whisper. "I should think ... acorn? Possibly badger. Time alone will tell.”

The very best part of this book is the writing. It paints a quirky and humorous setting with well-chosen figurative language. I just love William Ritter's writing, and I'm here for it all the way. I also loved the little random droplets of Jackaby wisdom here and there such as the following:

“The only paths you can't travel are the ones you block yourself--so don't let the fear of failure stop you from trying in the first place.”

"Failure is not the opposite of success—it’s a part of it."

I can add more quotes all day if you'd like. The writing and banter were such important parts; I just couldn't leave them out. I really enjoyed yet another Jackaby book, and I'd encourage you to give this series a try!

Content and trigger warnings: Blood and death.
Profile Image for Christine PNW.
694 reviews194 followers
October 11, 2018
Book 2 does a nice job of continuing the story from Book 1 - starting mere days/weeks after the climactic events at the end of Jackaby. The adorable Charlie Cane has been relocated to Gads Valley, a small community nearby and Jackaby and Abigail continue with their investigating. Soon, local law enforcement asks them to get involved in some shenanigans that are happening in Gad's Valley.

What we need is a thorough, discreet report from somebody accustomed to working outside the usual parameters of the law.”

“What a coincidence,” Jackaby said. “I’ve been thinking of putting that very thing on my business cards. So you’re sending us on assignment?”

Things get kind of crazy, there might be dinosaurs involved, and Abigail gets to put her archeological skills to good use, finally having something significant to offer to the investigation. A Nellie-Bly'esque reporter shows up, two mediocre white men with superiority complexes yell at each other (a lot) and all hell breaks loose. It's a lot of fun. In my opinion, as much fun as Jackaby.

Jackaby shook his head. “Miss Rook,” he said, “the greatest figures in history are never the ones who avoid failure, but those who march chin-up through countless failures, one after the next, until they come upon the occasional victory.” He put a hand on my shoulder. “Failure is not the opposite of success—it’s a part of it. And as failures go,” he added with a lopsided grin, “this one was really spectacular, wasn’t it?” The firelight bobbed merrily in my employer’s eyes, and behind him the roof of the farmhouse collapsed into a smoldering heap. I sighed, and in spite of myself I managed a weak smile. “It really was, sir.”

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