by L. A. Meyer
Book Three in the Bloody Jack Adventures; sequel to Bloody Jack and Curse of the Blue Tattoo.
This review contains spoilers for previous books in the series.
After her boarding school in Boston burned to the ground, Jacky joins up with a whaling ship and returns to England to find her true love, Jaimy. Unfortunately, when she finally tracks him down he’s holding the hand of another girl; broken-hearted Jacky flees before Jaimy can introduce her to his cousin. Before she has a chance to consider her next move, Jacky is pressganged onto another ship, the captain of which is both cruel and not quite sane. Once he realizes Jacky is a girl, he decides that she should join him in the captain’s quarters. Horrified, Jacky is in a truly desperate situation – until a brilliant stroke of luck gives her the chance to take command of the ship and start over as a pirate, taking booty from any ship that crosses her path!
I just love Jacky Faber. She’s impulsive and reckless, but clever and so very lucky. She’s constantly plunging into new adventures, and it’s so much fun. The series becomes a bit meta in this volume; when Jacky arrives in London at the beginning of the story, she learns that her old friend Amy Trevelyne, a classmate at the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls, has written a book called Bloody Jack, Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy - which was the full title of the first book in the series. It’s apparently quite popular, and Jacky’s escapades are known all over town – which does make it a wee bit harder for her to get up to her usual trouble. It’ll be interesting to see if Meyer carries this through the rest of the series, so that the other novels will slowly pop up in Jacky’s universe.
It’s been interesting to trace Jacky’s relationship with Jaimy, especially through the events of this novel. They obviously adore each other, but I wonder if they still will once they finally get a chance to spend some time together. Jaimy seems to grow increasingly prissy and stuffy with each volume; when he writes letters to Jacky in Under the Jolly Roger, he always seems to be writing to the girl that could have been if Jacky had grown up in a normal, middle-class household. He seems to think that the Jacky who wishes to own her ships and travel the world as a merchant of fine goods will somehow morph into a perfectly normal wife. Jacky isn’t much better. Although I think she’s more aware than Jaimy of how divergent their goals are, she’s also much sillier because she ends the relationship over one little incident – a misunderstanding, as she finds out much later – and doesn’t allow her true love the chance to explain himself. It’s even funnier, this double standard she holds him to, because Jacky isn’t exactly faithful in the strictest sense. She has no trouble with flirting and even a bit of snogging if it’ll help her get what she wants. They’re just such a bad couple, and I’m always wondering which of them will finally realize this and break it off for real.
Also, piracy! Taking plunder! What’s not to love?
I can’t wait for Jacky’s next adventure. I’ve been listening to the series as audio, narrated by Katherine Kellgren – and I must say, if you’ve never given audiobooks a try, this just might be the series to do it with. She does an amazing job, singing sea shanties and giving Jacky a flamboyant bounce to her narration.
5 out of 5 stars
To read more about Under the Jolly Roger, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.
Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Curse of the Blue Tattoo (Bloody Jack #2) by L. A. Meyer
2011: Moyasimon Vol. 1 by Masayuki Ishikawa
2010: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith
2009: Sorry for the late notice – ducking out again!