by L. A. Meyer
Book Four in the Bloody Jack Adventures.
Review contains spoilers for earlier books in the series.
After narrowly escaping capture by the British for her crimes on the high seas, Jacky Faber flees back to Boston, where she adopts her old life as a student at the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls. She is reunited with her best friend, Amy, who wrote the account of Jacky's life that has made her famous throughout the English-speaking world. But Jacky's enemy Clarissa has also returned to the school, and the two girls are constantly at each others' throats. When kidnappers determined to sell every girl at the school as slaves succeed in snatching the girls on a field trip, Jacky and Clarissa must put aside their differences and work together if they are to have any chance of returning home again.
The latest installment in the Bloody Jack Adventures is as outrageous as its predecessors. An entire school kidnapped to be sold as slaves? Preposterous! And yet Jacky's previous exploits have been so over-the-top and strange that it is easy to take such crazy events in stride. It suits her world. Jacky remains as impulsive, gregarious and trouble-prone as ever, but the better qualities of her character – courage, generosity, and a kind and forgiving heart – keep her grounded and likeable in an increasingly topsy-turvy adventure.
I enjoyed learning more about some of the other girls at the Lawson Peabody School. Jacky's personality is such that she easily overshadows other characters, but in Clarissa there is finally someone as outsized and opinionated as Jacky. Since the story is told almost entirely from Jacky's point of view, Clarissa tends to be demonized, but by the end of the book it's clear that she's just as much of a leader as her frenemy Faber.
I can't imagine trying to jump into the story at this point. Although much of Jacky's personal history is repeated here in the form of telling stories to entertain and distract her fellow prisoners, I would strongly urge you to put this book down and start at the beginning. Even better, if you have a chance to listen to the audio version of this story, please do so! Katherine Kellgren is an amazing performer who captures Jacky's flamboyant enthusiasm perfectly.
5 out of 5 stars
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Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Reading Challenge: Historical Fiction 2012 – Update #1
2011: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2010: News: Wikipedia's 'Iraq War' entry to be published in print, complete with 12K edits
2009: News: Neil Gaiman's Library on Shelfari
2008: Discussion Topic: It's Not Just Books We Read...