The Map by William Ritter

Abigail hopes that her birthday will slip by unnoticed and uncelebrated, but her employer, detective of the supernatural R.F. Jackaby, has other plans. Using magical party crackers that teleport the pair to unknown destinations in time and space and a cryptic map that may lead to a forgotten treasure, Jackaby intends to give Abigail what he considers to be the best gift of all – adventure.1

Jackaby was a rather unexpected surprise and I was looking forward to continuing the adventure with the same characters.  Abigail has always dreamed of great adventures and after meeting Jackaby is finally seeming to be having a real adventure of her own.  For years she lived in her fathers shadow as he forbid her to follow in his footsteps.

The Map is a novella or short story starring our two favourite characters from the first book, Jackaby and Abigail.  As Abigail hopes her birthday will pass by like any other day without a fuss, Jackaby surprises her with magic party crackers.  Although the description makes them seem more random and mysterious, there is in fact a sort of wishing method that takes you to your destination.  Just as flu powder takes Harry Potter to Diagon Alley, the first destination for Jackaby and Abigail is a magical other worldly market.  Although not a lot of time is spent here, it sounds like an exciting place which I’m sure most of us would love to explore.  At one of their stops along the way, Abigail is intrigued by an old treasure map.  Taking the opportunity to surprise her, Jackaby purchases the map and the two set off on their very own adventure.

As much as I enjoyed Jackaby, I was rather disappointed with The Map.  It seems very much like all those great ideas writers have that are too small to create a story so they are all thrown together in a mish mash of magical experiences.  It is not entirely fair to be blaming the story though, as my main issue with The Map sits with Abigail.  I rather liked Abigail in the first novel, but she upset me very much with her manner, attitude and the things she said in The Map.  Abigail’s character longs for adventure.  We all know this, it is something that has defined her, and yet through the entire story of The Map, she is a rain cloud on a magical day constantly complaining that she wants to go home or rush through and pass things over.  The magical market place, one of the most wonderful things you could ever imagine, and she doesn’t even care and just wants to go home.  They are off on a magical treasure hunt, and she wants to use the magical crackers to skip over things and get to the end.

There is nothing really gained from this story and I am really leaning towards suggesting not to even bother with it.  I would feel more secure in this suggestion after reading Beastly Bones and determining if anything in The Map fits in with the new story or illuminates anything worth discovering.  Until that time, I stand disappointed with The Map but am still looking forward to the sequel to Jackaby, Beastly Bones set to be released on September 22, 2015.

  1. Book summary courtesy of William Ritter’s webpage
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