Onto our regularly scheduled book programming!
The best way I can think of describing this book is: if you dropped Sherlock Holmes into Supernatural (like early Supernatural when it was monster of the week, before all the angels and demons and stuff), add a smart female assistant and put it in New England in 1892. That's basically it.
Abigail Rook finds herself in New England (via Eastern Europe) after leaving her suffocating life as basically her mom's dress up doll in England. She is smart, and wants adventure. She sees a help wanted ad for an assistant position for a detective agency and that is where she really meets Mr Jackaby. He's a bit of an eccentric, I think is safe to say. He has a reputation around town of being a touch crazy considering he talks about all kinds of paranormal things like trolls, ghosts and exotic Ukrainian helper elf things. Abigail is like "this might be a really bad idea working for him buuuuut I basically have no other options and I don't want to be homeless and broke in a foreign country so let's do it".
Then it's all interesting characters and foul murders and a handsome policeman and sleuthing and detectiving. (Word? Not a word? Word.)
My favorite line from the book was from Abigail : "I shook my head. It wasn't that I did not believe in ghosts; it was that I believed in them the same way noncommittal way that I believed in giant squids or lucky coins or Belgium.They were things that probably existed I never had any occasion to really care one way or the other". Screw you Belgium! (Not really, Belgium is very nice)
I liked Douglas and Mrs Morrigan the best.
The ending is very obviously set up for more stories, which I understand, but when it's in a super obvious way it annoys me.
This book isn't really reinventing the wheel in any real way, but that doesn't mean that it isn't fun or entertaining; because it is! A fast, entertaining, light read with some funny characters and interesting folkloric elements. High 3 out of 5 stars.