Jackaby by William Ritter

I read the Jackaby tetralogy, by William Ritter. I went back and forth on whether to review just one book, or the entire series. I’ve decided to just talk about the first book, to avoid accidentally giving anything away.

Think of a cross between Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes, with a supernatural twist thrown in, and you’ve got R.F. Jackaby. Jackaby is a supernatural detective. He’s kooky, absent-minded, witty, and clever, sometimes simultaneously. How do you catch a murderer if you’re not sure if he or she is human? Told from the perspective of Abigail- this series’ Watson- this book is simply fun! 
Jackaby comes complete with a great cast of characters. They all add to the narrative. Jenny is the strongest, most well-written female character I’ve read in a long time. If William Ritter ever writes a side novel specifically about her, I’ll be standing in line to read it.

The mysteries aren’t mind-bending, but they are entertaining and well thought out. I love that there are clues scattered throughout the book. I can’t stand it when a mystery’s solution comes out of the blue, so I appreciate that you can go back through the book and follow the logic to get to the “whodunnit” correctly.

If you like entertaining, easy reads, give this series a go! You won’t be sorry. The pages fly by and there’s never a dull moment.

If you prefer your mysteries sans supernatural, read The Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. It has a similar rip-roaringly adventurous appeal without the fairy tale critters. Amelia Peabody is incorrigible in the best possible way.

What should I read next? Comments? Suggestions?

My Book Suggestions: The Crocodile On the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters; The Screaming Staircase by Johnathan Stroud.


Combating the Post-Potter Slump

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Do you ever get into that post-book slump? The kind that only happens after you’ve gotten so invested in a book that you can’t possibly just move on to another book? That seems to happen a lot with the Harry Potter books. They’re fantastic, which leaves only a few options:

1. Immediately grab the first book and start reading the series again.
2. Mourn the end of an excellent series and vow to never read again,

OR

3. Find another book or series that sucks you in, thus continuing the painful and wonderful cycle that bookworms everywhere happily go through.

While there are many lists with great suggestions to end post-Potter book burnout, here are a few of mine:

*The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1) by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. This is a fun series. While it’s obviously been at least influenced by JK Rowling, it’s a creative world and storyline in its own right. The main character, Callum Hunt, is admitted to the Magisterium, a school for magic. There’s the similarity, but that’s about where it ends, though. This is a fast-paced romp created by the minds that have written the Shadowhunter books, and The Cruel Prince, respectively. While a little darker (think HP #7, instead of #1), my ten year old had no problem reading them.

*The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians book #1) by Rick Riordan. A good chunk of this book takes place at Camp Half-Blood, where the children of the Greek gods learn to use their powers. While this is absolutely a great series to read after Harry Potter, my son much prefers the Red Pyramid, also by Rick Riordan. That involves Egyptian mythology which both of us find more interesting, and features that sort of friendship that JK Rowling wrote so well.

*Ragesong: Awakening by J.R. Simmons (Ragesong series #1).  Jake has been chosen to save a world he’s had no knowledge of. Joined by two changelings, and a girl named Sam, Jake must use his unique musical ability to harness the power of Ragesong and hopefully save the day. This book is a great adventure (plus-changelings!), and, while intended for around twelve years old or so, it’s well suited for as young as third or fourth grade, based on reading ability.

*The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I love this book! It’s set in a magical world, and a grand adventure. While it obviously has many Christian parallels, which has led to wonderful conversations in our house, it’s well written and you can take as much or as little from it as you like.

Now, here are a couple suggestions that are a little more off-beat:

*School for Pyschics by K.C. Archer. This is an adult novel, not one intended for the younger of the Harry Potter fan base. I’d almost call it the Harry Potter starring millennials, but it hasn’t ripped off Harry Potter in any way. It’s completely unique. Teddy thinks she’s an excellent con-woman, able to read people and use it to bilk them, and that’s it. Until she makes a few bad choices, learns that she is in fact, psychic, and agrees to go to the School for Psychics as a way to avoid a more unpleasant fate. There, she gets caught up in a sinister plot. It’s great to see more twenty-somethings represented in literature, and it’s a new take of the “school for magic” idea.

*Last, but certainly not least: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I know this books seems to have zero business being in this post, but bear with me for a minute and I’ll give my reasoning. I’m not going to describe the plot because it’s pretty much a given that you know something about this book. The reason I’ve added this as a good follow-up to Harry Potter is the friendships between D’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. That, combined with the shenanigans they constantly manage to get themselves into, and the more nefarious schemes, makes this a book worth reading. That it’s amazingly well written, and has stood the test of time, makes Dumas’ book one that everyone should read. Give this a chance. You won’t be sorry.

What would you suggest to combat the post-Potter blues? Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Incidentally, I’m a Ravenclaw.