So, I was wandering around a library recently, looking for books…when I thought about Ghostly Echoes. I rushed to the “R” section, and found a purple book spine looking at me.
Summary: Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected. Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.
Story: 4/5: I have to say that I think this was the best book in the Jackaby series. It perfectly balanced the mystery and the paranormal, while being able to make the characters even more compelling than ever before. This was a story I’ve looked forward to for a while, probably since the first book; I mean, Jenny has always been fairly mysterious, she is a ghost after all. This story includes plenty of mystery, a look into the pale man’s identity, and of course, Jenny’s long anticipated backstory…plus some peeks into Jackaby’s background as well.
Writing: 4/5: The writing was good, as usual. It was still ridiculously quotable (something I love about this series). No, seriously, if I was more of a memorizer, I would quote this series all day and night. But Ritter’s writing style is still not my favorite, but that’s all right; it works for this series. And besides, even if the style isn’t my thing, the quotes certainly are!
Characters: 4/5: While the vaillains were only somewhat more fleshed out than usual here, everyone else proved to be even more dynamic and colorful.
We were finally shown some insight into Jackaby’s background, including who the previous Seer was and how he became the current Seer. I can’t say much about his story because of spoilers, but we were given deliciously juicy hints into his story, which makes him all the more intriguing.
Abigail has had remarkable development since the first book. She and Jenny both decide to try out Jenny possessing Abigail’s body in an attempt to unlock her memories, but that has consequences that go out of her control. She is shown to be so brave here, and even more independent.
Jenny had the most development here. In the first two volumes, she didn’t have much of a role. But that has expanded exponentially, and she proves to be a surprisingly strong force. If you hurt either of the two people she holds most dear, I’m glad I’m not you!
We are introduced to some side characters, some more memorable than others.
Details: 3.5/5: The details were still good. As we were introduced to a whole new world here (like really), there needed to be more details than usual. While the world building details are still really good, I still wish we were given more description on the character’s looks. While some side characters are described fairly well (like the pale man and a new supporting character called Lydia Lee), I want to envision Jackaby and Abigail more. Jenny is easier to image, but not by much.
World Building: 4.5/5: We are introduced to another world in this one, a world I never would’ve guessed we’d see. I sadly can’t explain due to spoilers, but yes, the world building was at its best in this book.
- Expansion of the World: This world of New Fiddleham and 1800s America expanded a lot here. It was a gutsy move that could’ve worked well or failed, and thankfully it was the former and not the latter.
- Darker Than Previous Stories: This was a little darker than the previous books, as it explored both Jackaby and Jenny’s backstories, which aren’t happy, to say the least. Jackaby’s in particular is shocking, but Jenny’s is also sad (no duh, she was murdered after all).
- Yet still Manages To Be Light: But despite the new darkness, there is still plenty of humor and light touches to be found, especially with Jackaby and Abigail’s interactions, which is still my favorite relationship in the series. They just have such a Doctor and Companion, Holmes and Watson thing going on.
- Needed a Bit More Development for the Side Characters: Some characters, like Owen and Cornelia, needed a bit more development for me. I could tell how they played a part in the story, but their impact on me was small.
- Foreshadowing Romance: I’m not sure how to feel about the implications that Jackaby has feelings for Jenny. In the first two books, I only got “close friend” vibes from them. If Ritter always meant to go this route, he needed more foreshadowing. It has potential to be cute and feelsy, but was too sudden.
- Foreshadowing World Building: Expanion of this world was a gutsy move. But it also needed some foreshadowing, as it went downright mythological in us. Like, this has always included folklore, but never mythology before, so maybe some foreshadowing could’ve helped.
Grade: 4/5. This was the best installment of Jackaby yet, and that open ended ending is making me desperate to get my hands on the next one as soon as it comes out!
Also, did I mention that Jackaby helped me figure out a creature that’s coming in a Webtoon I read? It’s called Sword Interval, and the author hosted a Q&A. One of my questions was if he would be using any less known creatures soon, like Dullahans and Red Caps. It appears like one of them will be coming into the series soon…The lesson? Reading pays off.