Title: Beastly Bones
Author: William Ritter
Release Date: September 22
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Algonquin Books on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
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. (Source: Goodreads)
Beastly Bones picks up exactly where Jackaby left off as Abigail and Jackaby begin to investigate a cat that has turned into a fish. This investigation leads them in a strange direction as they also begin looking into the disappearance of some dinosaur bones and the murder of 2 women involved in each of the cases. Are these cases connected by the murders or is it just coincidence?
To be perfectly honest I didn’t really enjoy Beastly Bones all that much. I don’t think it had the same charm or perfect pacing that Jackaby had. The story was still interesting but for a lot of it I felt a lack of the supernatural and that really slowed the whole experience down for me. I also felt like there was far too much focus on Abigail’s romantic life and not enough on the great chemistry between Abigail and Jackaby. It was all just a little disappointing after reading Jackaby.
The story in this sequel feels much less supernatural and much more scientific. I don’t think there’s a huge problem with this as both characters are in a way scientists. However, it felt like there wasn’t much of interest about the case of the dinosaur until much too late in the book and then it all rushed up at once to suddenly be a mysterious case. I think this pairing of less than intriguing case and poor pacing really made me lose interest in the overall story. It took me ages to read this, or at least it felt that way, because I didn’t really feel inclined to read it at all.
On top of this Abigail is continually being reduced to just a female in love. I think Ritter has put far too much focus on her romance with Charlie, and it feels very out of place. Abigail is meant to be a strong female lead with these huge ambitions but she’s constantly sidetracked thinking about Charlie and then only having conversations with people about how in love she is with Charlie. It just felt so out of place and really made her character development take a step back.
The charm that the first book had really came from Jackaby and Abigail’s interactions and there was a significant lack of this in Beastly Bones. We don’t often see the characters together and when we do there’s about 10 other people getting in the way of their relationship, which was frustrating and also made the whole book feel a lot duller for me.
The big positive of this book is that it sets things into motion that could produce at least one more sequel which should be very interesting. There is a character introduced in this book who is thought to be orchestrating a lot of these big supernatural problems that the pair encounter. This mystery seems so much more interesting that the two cases they were dealing with in Beastly Bones and I am excited to read about it.
I think this was an adequate sequel but it didn’t hold up against original novel.