SYNOPSIS: When the bones of a perfectly intact dinosaur fossil are stolen and one of the owner’s of the land the fossil was found on winds up dead, Jackaby and Abigail make their way to the country where they reunite with Charlie Barker to investigate. However the fossil is more than meets the eye and there is something even more sinister lurking around the corner.
There are some sequels that just don’t live up to the magic of the first book, but luckily that situation did not happen for me while reading Beastly Bones! Right from the beginning it had the same pacing and energy that I loved from Jackaby and the new characters that were introduced were just as vibrant and entertaining as the ones that we already came to love. One of the things that I really appreciate about this series is the fact that there is absolutely no romance whatsoever between Abigail and Jackaby. There friendship is really sweet and in the moments where Jackaby is actually paying attention to social cues it is clear just how much he cares about Abigail. There are also some fun little Watson/Holmes references sprinkled throughout that make me smile. I also think Abigail and Charlie are the cutest and I love that their relationship isn’t conventional for the time period, but at the same time there is that restraint and “playing by the rules” style of courting for the era. The stand outs of the newer characters for me were Hank Hudson, Owen Horner, and Nellie Fuller. I hope we see more of Hank Hudson because characters that are in the know about the strange things in the world, but aren’t supernatural in any way themselves are interesting and I think he’d be a useful addition to the team. He was a boisterous character that really filled the pages and I liked his interactions with all the characters. He reminded me a lot of Hagrid from Harry Potter (in a good way). Owen Horner is another character that I enjoyed because I love characters that are incorrigible flirts but you know they have a good heart. I wish he was more involved with the investigation because it would’ve been interesting to see how a scientist reacted to being told that all manners of mythical creatures are real and I just wanted to read more of him! Nellie was a fun foil to Abigail because she was fiercely independent and very much a do-it-yourself-go-getter. While Abigail is those things Nellie was just more (if that makes sense). I loved that Abigail had another female character to interact with besides Jenny because while I do love this series and that it is narrated by a wonderful female lead, it is extremely guy heavy and sometimes girls need to talk to other girls. I loved how nothing seemed to phase Nellie and I especially loved that she was a female reporter. There were times when her dialogue felt a little exaggerated especially when she got into her newsspeak, but I wish there was more of her. Her moments were highly memorable and she holds her own in the wit department. There just wasn’t enough of her the way there was with everyone else! I don’t remember this being played up as much in the first book, but I liked that we got to see a little of the sexism in the period. It is easy to forget the way women were treated back then when the main characters are all so progressive and “modern” in their values, so I liked that there was an older character to demonstrate the feeling of the time and allowed the female characters to work in those constraints, but also prove themselves capable. Yes the sexism was just a smidge over-exaggerated, but this is a world where goblins, shape-shifters, and all manners of mythical creatures exist so I think realism went out the window a long time ago. The mystery itself was very predictable, but this book is meant for young readers so I would’ve been surprised if it wasn’t. Of course there were plenty of twists to keep me on my toes. The ending especially has me intrigued with the mysterious man that follows Abigail and Jackaby throughout the investigation, Jenny falling into a pattern of the moment she died, and Jenny being ready to have her murder solved. There is so much going on beneath the surface that I am excited to see pan out! Overall I am loving this series and can’t wait to find out what happens next in Ghostly Echoes!