The blurb for this book promises "Doctor Who meets Sherlock". This is a very tall order to fill, so I was a little nervous to start this one, but I am excited to say that it delivered on both fronts. Jackaby has the antisocial, blunt approach to interpersonal relationships we've all grown to love watching Sherlock Holmes television shows, but retains the quirkiness and over-the-top crazy explanations that Doctor Who is known for. The result is an instantly lovable character that I absolutely could not get enough of.
Abigail Rook, Jackaby's companion, is another lovely surprise. Her pluck and acumen for assisting Jackaby in his cases reminds me of both Doctor Who companions (think Clara Oswald) and Watson (think Lucy Liu's Joan Watson on the American show "Elementary"). My favorite scenes with Abigail in this book were those where she shocks the locals with her impropriety and forwardness, and those where Jackaby is trying to explain something to her. They both beautifully showcase Abigail as a character.
The mystery Jackaby and Abigail tackle in this first installment is fast-paced and interesting. The most impressive aspect of this story for me was the effortless way Ritter is able to weave together the best parts of both Sherlock and Doctor Who to create a story that is whimsical, dangerous, interesting, and fun all at once. The secondary characters they encounter along their way are all rather well-developed and memorable. The fact that almost everyone had some supernatural aspect to them reminded me more of Doctor Who than Sherlock.
I know many people have commented on the predictability of the culprit, stating the foreshadowing was so heavy that the element of surprise was lost, but I can honestly say that I had no idea who was behind it all or what was really going on until the big reveal at the end.
I was so excited to start this book, and having finished it I am dying to get my hands on the next book in the series. I will cross my fingers and hope that this is not a trilogy, because I know I will want more than three books worth of Jackaby adventures. If you like Doctor Who or Sherlock, or if you just enjoy mysteries with magical elements and quirky characters, you should go pick up Jackaby right now.