I’ve loved the entire Jackaby series by William Ritter and am so sad that this is the last book in the series because I’m really going to miss hanging out with these characters. Since my dad and I read the second book aloud to each other on a long car trip, and then we did the same thing with my mom and Book 3 a couple years ago, we decided to continue the tradition with the final book in the series, so I pulled it out for our long drive up to Wisconsin for vacation over the summer.
This book is as much fun as all the others. The action starts with Father Grafton, a local pastor, stumbling into Jackaby’s house, but he’s aged a few decades in just a few years and he continues to age and die in front of their eyes. He had a message for Jackaby, but he dies (of old age) before he can finish giving him the message. All Jackaby and Abigail know is that they have to find something called the shield, which has something to do with the Bible, so they start by looking in the pastor’s church.
Unfortunately, they have a previous engagement with Lord Arawn (fairy royalty), which they cannot break, since fairy folk really look down on things like that. So they go to pay him a visit to talk about the fact that the veil between worlds is crumbling and what to do about it, but Lord Arawn insists that his veil is as strong as ever and refuses to even consider the idea that both the fairy and human realms may be in real trouble.
Lord Arawn also asserts that he killed Hafgan, the Dire King, in battle many years ago and so there’s nothing to worry about. But Hafgan had three magical objects: the crown, the spear, and the shield. Lord Arawn claims to have the crown, but when he takes Jackaby and Abigail to show them, they find it’s already gone missing (but he still insists he doesn’t need any help from them).
Meanwhile, the local jail is filling up with magical creatures and the humans are freaking out about it (like they do) and trying to pass all sorts of awful laws that lock up magical creatures, basically just for existing.
Then Pavel shows up and offers to help them. Since Pavel is a vampire who tried to kill them the last time they saw him, they’re somewhat less than willing to trust him, but he manages to convince them that right now he wants to take down the Dire King more than he wants to kill them so they grudgingly agree to accept his help to get into the magical realm. Of course, once there, he turns on and tries to kill them, but Jackaby came prepared for that, so they all get out of it OK (except for Pavel, whom Jackaby has to kill).
They manage to restore the veil and stop the hoards of magical creatures from storming the human realm, but not before a huge battle in which Charlie dies. It was sad, but they were foreshadowing it throughout the entire book, so it’s not like I wasn’t prepared for it.
But then they managed to bring him back through magical means at the very end and that just pissed me off. I’m really sick of all these YA books deciding that, just because they’re fantasy, they don’t have to make their characters suffer any real consequences. How can we expect our children to learn anything about sacrifice if we only ever give them happy endings in which no one has to give up anything substantial?
The thing I did like about the ending is that Jackaby managed to transfer his powers to Abigail, who is still trying to adjust to seeing the world in this new way at the time the book ends. That just makes me even more sad that the series is over because I would love to see what Abigail does with this newfound power.
What did you read this week? Anything else that was fun, but not quite as satisfying as you had been hoping?