Review: The Dire King by William Ritter

The Dire King (Jackaby, #4)The Dire King by William Ritter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fate of the world is in the hands of detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby and his intrepid assistant, Abigail Rook. An evil king is turning ancient tensions into modern strife, using a blend of magic and technology to push Earth and the Otherworld into a mortal competition. Jackaby and Abigail are caught in the middle as they continue to solve the daily mysteries of New Fiddleham, New England — like who’s created the rend between the worlds, how to close it, and why zombies are appearing around. At the same time, the romance between Abigail and the shape-shifting police detective Charlie Cane deepens, and Jackaby’s resistance to his feelings for 926 Augur Lane’s ghostly lady, Jenny, begins to give way. Before the four can think about their own futures, they will have to defeat an evil that wants to destroy the future altogether.

Warnings: violence, war

The Dire King delivered in more ways than one, as the finale of this amazing series and tying up the expectations and developments into this conclusion. The book starts off with Jackaby and Abigail preparing for The Dire Council, who have been revealed to be supernatural in origin, to invade and take over the human realm. However, before they can even have a proper plan in place, they are caught up in the town’s mayor’s rising hysteria over the existence of supernatural creatures. From the earlier book, we already knew Jackaby doesn’t tolerate discrimination against people, so he opens up his house for the influx of supernatural refugees. Their investigation into the Dire Council’s plans takes them back and forth between Anwynn and the human realm, as well as delve into the history of how the realms came to be separate.

Without going into too many spoiler-y details, all I am going to say is that things that were hinted in earlier books were definitely played out in this one. There was always a mentor-student relationship between Jackaby and Abigail, and we see it so well in this one: they are a superb team, whose bond is tight, and their paths are now inextricably linked. There are appearances, once again, of many secondary characters as well as resolutions for both romances (you know which is the other one if you have been paying attention) and there’s plenty of action and development blended in. We also see Charlie’s backstory, get more background on the fae, and the roles some supernatural characters have been playing for a while.

What stopped me from giving that final star was the fact that, at some point well into the first half, it does feel directionless. There are too many characters, too much plot happening and it is all very confusing for a while. Again, towards the ending, there were twists upon twists, and normally that is a good thing, but here you had to second guess every motive and it was getting exhausting to keep up with that pace. The endings, however, deliver some gut punches (which were foreshadowed) and still also resolved very well, turning some things around.

In short, an explosive finale.

Previous books in series

View all my reviews

Buy links

Amazon | The Book Depository | Wordery

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