by L. A. Meyer
Second book in the Bloody Jack Adventures; sequel to Bloody Jack
This review contains minor spoilers for Bloody Jack.
After the crew of the HMS Dolphin discovered Jacky’s true identity, she knew it was only a matter of time before they got rid of her. After all, the British Navy can’t have a single girl living on a ship full of men; it’s a scandal waiting to happen. Thus, Jacky is dropped off in Boston at the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls to become a proper young lady. Although distraught at being separated from her one and only true love, Jaimy, Jacky takes comfort in the fact that her “training” at the school will prepare her for her future role as the wife of a navy officer. But sailing the seven seas disguised as a boy was nothing compared to the difficulties of living with spoiled, catty girls. It seems as if Jacky can do nothing right, and as the months pass without a word from Jaimy she begins to lose her motivation to suppress her wild, impulsive nature.
The book is extremely fast-paced. Jacky is the sort of person who can never sit still for more than a few seconds, so she is constantly in and out of trouble. She sweeps through the city of Boston like a hurricane, bringing havoc to every corner of society. One night she might be down on the docks, dancing with sailors and fraternizing with the local prostitutes. A few days later, she’ll be sitting for afternoon tea in the home of one of the wealthiest families in the area. Every time the narrative begins to settle into a lull, Jacky inadvertently stirs up trouble again. It’s quite exciting, and thankfully the author keeps it all from getting confusing.
One of the things I like about Jacky is that she is such a realistic teenager. Not situationally – her life story is impossible, but that’s part of the fun – but emotionally. She falls in love with Jaimy, and she has that teenage optimism that their love will last forever, overcoming all odds. But after a few months of silence, her eye starts to wander. Jacky she isn’t above flirting with other men to get what she wants, and if one of them should return the affection then what’s the harm in that? Jacky isn’t a slave to her hormones, but the author doesn’t ignore them or pretend they don’t exist, and this makes her believable and sympathetic.
If you get a chance, listen to the audiobook. The narrator is Katherine Kellgren, and she does an amazing job. She brings all of the energy and giddiness of Jacky to her performance…and it really is a performance. She nails variety of English and American accents for the multicultural characters, who hail from both sides of the Atlantic. When there’s a song, she doesn’t merely read it as some narrators would, but croons or belts the lyrics as required. (In fact, I’d love to know how that works – does the narrator have to research these songs to find music for them, or do the publishers provide that?)
5 out of 5 stars
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