I had the awesome opportunity to participate in The Fantastic Flying Book Club’s blog tour of the final Jackaby book The Dire King, which hit shelves earlier this week. If you haven’t been following the tour, here’s the tour link to where you can read people’s creative posts, interviews and book reviews. Plus, stay tuned until the end for a giveaway at the bottom 🙂
The Dire King (Jackaby #4)
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2017
Synopsis: 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.
WILLIAM RITTER is an Oregon educator and author of the New York Times best-selling 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.
I received an ARC of this book through The Fantastic Flying Book Club, courtesy of Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are mine 🙂
The end of an era is finally here. I first discovered this series last year while picking up the first book at a used bookstore. I read it without hearing anything about it and fell in love. I read the first three books that year in 2016 following the release of Ghostly Echoes. Now with the conclusion, I will say that I am in the minority in this one. Here’s a mini review breakdown of the final book.
- Cumulative Character Growth: It was very satisfying to see how much Abigail has changed since book one. She’s seen magical creatures, nearly killed, working for Jackaby and having a duck, a noxious frog and a ghost for roommates in her new home. But over the course of this series, she really grows into a strong young woman who looks in the face of danger to save those she cares about, as well as accepting her circumstances. These characters never use violence to get what they want. They use deductive logic, teamwork and other methods to solve crimes and save lives. Along with Jenny and Jackaby (in some areas), I grew to love these characters for their quirky humor and strong spirits. Jackaby had some vulnerable moments in this final book that helped him expose more of who he is as a person as well.
- More Side Character Time: Along with Charlie, there’s a couple side characters that became more valuable players in this final installment and it was so great seeing them get their spotlight. Some new people show up that made it more fun as well. Ritter did a good job balancing everyone out with helping to fight the evil coming for them.
- Revelations: There’s a couple bombs that go off and I was very impressed. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until those bombs dropped. It kept that ending very addicting to find out what happened. These revelations also brought a bit more darkness which was needed for the final battle.
- Positive Messages: One thing that William Ritter has kept using in his series is the positive messages of: accepting people as they are despite their flaws, conquering fear, saying how you really feel, fighting for those you love and never stooping down to the darker level of someone else. We need messages like these and it gives the series a glowing quality that still makes it a favorite series of mine.
- Pacing: I feel like there was too much set up in this last book. Nothing majorly significant happens until about 45% into the book. The final battle doesn’t start taking place until the 70% mark. There was a lot of talking and wandering around and I feel like there wasn’t a lot done before the final battle. So with those, the final battle was too quickly dealt with in the end. If it had been about 50 pages later to drag out that final, bloody battle, I think it would’ve affected me more.
- Overdone humor: In the previous installment Ghostly Echoes, they’re trying to figure out what happened to Jenny and the overarching shadow that’s watching them. They were serious about finding answers and dealing with the danger in a serious manner. I feel like that didn’t really happen in this final book. The humor while talking to the bad guys felt too overdone and I never saw a ton of terror from the characters. Maybe I dug too much into it, but I never some genuine dread and terror in places where I should have.
- *Insert Spoilers Here*: I won’t give anything away, but there’s two things that happen at the end that were shocking and affected me a lot at first. But then, the author turns and does a “just kidding” type thing. I personally don’t like it where something serious happens, then it gets all fixed right at the end so everything can be happy and satisfy fans. I feel like that happened here. If the two things had stayed the way they are, the ending would have that gut punch that needed to be there. I can respect the way the author chose to end the book the way he did, but I feel torn over it and not completely satisfied.
- Unanswered Questions: A couple people that have participated in this blog tour have mentioned that you don’t get a couple questions answered and that’s totally true. I caught three unanswered questions that I feel disappointed they weren’t addressed. Why tease a few things in the series but never give the answers? I hope we’ll find them out somehow…
For the last book itself, I was disappointed. It didn’t live up to Ghostly Echoes as far as tension, darkness and other things I previously mentioned. I’m still not completely sure of how I feel, but hopefully with time, I can go back and read the whole series again. I still highly recommend this series to everyone who loves a good urban fantasy/lots of folklore creatures/minimal romance books. But this finale didn’t make it for me.
There’s a really fun giveaway where you can win the first Jackaby book! There’s 3 copies at stake. This giveaway is NOT for this final book, but if you haven’t started this series yet or really want a copy, enter to win a copy! Best of luck! 🙂