Sweet Trouble

Rants, raves, book reviews and one girl's thoughts on life, the universe and everything.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Book Review: L.A. Meyer's Bloody Jack, Libba Bray's Great and Terrible Beauty

L.A. Meyer creates a fiesty young heroine in Mary "Bloody Jack" Faber. The first novel of the series is entitled Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy, which is rather a mouthful but keeps with the time period of the book. In a Q & A that is included at the back of the book, the Mr. Meyer explains how he was listening to old Irish folksongs of young women who went to sea to be with their love. He took that germ of an idea, brought forth young Jacky and created a tale that has action, adventure, pirates, pathos and true love. It is not just a book for girls, but for young people of both genders (and adults, too, as I enjoyed it thouroughly.)

Young orphen Faber finds herself in a boys clothes. Upon discovering that boys have an easier time upon the streets of London in 1797 her accidental deception becomes deliberate and the newly christened "Jack" applies for service as ship's boy in Her Magasty's Royal Navy. This is only the beginning of a story that is at times part Judy Blume, part Patrick O'Brian and yet all new at the same time.

The sequel, Curse of the Blue Tatoo (full title being Curse of the Blue Tattoo : Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady) is, sadly, landlocked. The delightful Jacky is sent to a finishing school for girls in Boston. While there she encounters any number of colorful characters, many of which have stepped right out of the history books. Unfortunately this particular instalment will lose any male readers who may have been lured in by the adventure of the first book. Not to say that Jacky doesn't encounter her share of adventure, it's just of an entirely different flavor.

Meyer makes up for the boarding school tale by returning to the high seas in his third book of the series entitled Under the Jolly Roger : Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber. I haven't had the pleasure of reading this one yet, but as it seems to involve a more mature Jacky returning to the high seas, it is high on my library wish list.

It may be obvious that I enjoyed Meyer's plucky heroine, unfortunately I brought home Libba Bray's much acclaimed A Great and Terrible Beauty which turned out to set in a boarding school much like that I had just encountered in Blue Tattoo. There were so many similarities, from snotty boarders to intimidating school matrons that I had trouble enjoying Ms. Bray's novel. In fact I only got about two thirds of the way into the book before realizing that I didn't really care about finishing it. I may try again at some point, but for now I'm afraid this is one reader who won't be giving the novel a rave review.

22 Comments:

  • At 5:22 AM, Blogger Drunk Grl said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 9:47 AM, Blogger Talia said…

    I cannot believe the porn people have figured out how to spam blog posts. Ridiculous.

     
  • At 1:51 PM, Blogger the Papanator said…

    I found your blog quite by accident, after finishing the thrid book in the Bloody Jack Adventures. I was looking for info about the fourth on google and found this instead. Coincidently, I also read Libba's books right after reading about Jacky. I enjoyed them, but Pirates come before mystical powers in another world.

    Have you read the third book yet?

     
  • At 7:38 PM, Blogger Talia said…

    I'm delighted you found me; it's nice to "meet" others who have enjoyed these books. As for Bloody Jack...The third book I enjoyed more than the second, as it puts Jacky back at sea. The fourth is out this October and will return us to Boston and the school so while I look forward to it, I'm not sure it will be as grand as the shipboard adventures.

    Tanith Lee's Piratica is another fun sea adventure, and another new writer I adore is Sharon Shinn, who's Safe-Keeper's Secret and sequels are lovely, if not as adventurous. However, my the book I reccomend the most is Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel. There are no pirates, but Meliara's adventures in her war torn homeland are as good as it gets.

     
  • At 11:15 AM, Blogger Max said…

    I found your blog by accident two months after I read the third book in the Bloody Jack Advetures.

     
  • At 5:32 PM, Blogger the Papanator said…

    The fourth book is back in Boston? Dang. I had heard Jacky get's stuck on a slaver ship, but I think the story should get back to Boston, and Amy. It does kind of need to be resolved.

    I loved Piratica, absolutely loved it. I'm also going to look into the other books you suggested. Thank you!

     
  • At 10:22 PM, Blogger Talia said…

    Well, upon browsing Amazon a little, I think we are BOTH right. It looks like Jacky goes back to Boston whereupon she and the girls wind up on a slave ship. Now THAT sounds awesome, and I'm sorry I poo-pooed the idea of her going back there!

     
  • At 9:47 PM, Blogger the Papanator said…

    Oooh, I can't wait. It's too bad they pushed the publication date from August to October.

     
  • At 2:36 AM, Blogger rosie4panda said…

    i cant beleive that thee fourth isnt coming out until oct that is rediculas.!!! can someone please tell me what happend in the 1st book? i havint read it only the 2nd and 3rd.

     
  • At 9:08 AM, Blogger Jessica said…

    the third book was good. but i did greatly enjoy the fourth. only i now wish i had the fifth in my possession as meyers leaves us with yet another cliff-hanger... nasty habit he seems to be developing. i love to discuss the books. so i'd like to hear you're opinion of the fourth book once you've had a chance to read it. or even you're impression of how you think it might go simply from the title and summary.

     
  • At 10:05 AM, Blogger Talia said…

    Ah, I was under the impression that it wasn't out until the first of October. Funny how they are so strict with some, and others get put on the shelves early.

    I don't know when I'll get to read Bloodhound, but from reading synopsis and previews on the web I imagine it will be interesting.

    My guess is that Jacky will teach the other girls to have a little spunk or grow backbones, while they will teach HER that it's okay to be a girl...all while having a grand, if scary adventure. Whether or not I'm right I look forward to discovering.

     
  • At 6:24 PM, Blogger Green Lady said…

    omg... I did like the exact same thing...where I read them in the same order and was like "what the heck, I find myself not giving a crap about what happens to the heroine in Libba Bray's novels" ...ah well... there is only so many new ideas out there... poor Gemma... there is no one to compare to the notorious J.M. Faber (end of story

     
  • At 9:30 AM, Blogger misschris523 said…

    i read all three of the books and i loved them. i thought that the blue tattoo really was a bit dull. i was expecting more sea. Under the jolly roger was amazing and i can't wait till the fourth one. i love sharon shinn as well, i haven't read the second one after the safe-keepers secret, but i hear it's just as good.

     
  • At 10:19 AM, Blogger Ink Mage said…

    I've read all the Bloody Jack Adventures and cannot wait until the 5th one--Mississippi Jack: Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, and Lily of the West--comes out in September. Have you been to: http://s13.invisionfree.com/Bloody_Jack/index.php?act=idx

    As for the similarities between A Great and Terrible Beauty and Curse of the Blue Tattoo, they're actually both kind of like A Little Princess, if you think about it. There's Clarissa/Felicity/Lavinia who are snobby, and Amy/Ann/Ermengarde, unpopular and chubby girls whom the new Jacky/Gem/Sarah befriend. Plus the stern headmistress. They are similar, but they're all good anyway.

     
  • At 8:38 AM, Blogger coffee4ever756 said…

    I just finished in the belly of the bloodhound yesterday. wow! Exept I did find it a bit shocking at the very end...but I'm not going to ruin it for those of you who haven't finished. I just can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the fifth volume, mississippi jack a account of the further adventures of jacky faber, midshipman, fine lady, and lilly of the west. I can't help but wonder what Jacky has gotten herself into now.

     
  • At 8:43 AM, Blogger coffee4ever756 said…

    I'm simply overjoyed to see that so many others have read about jack! I share many of the feelings all of you have about this compeling good read. please keep posting!!!

     
  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger Lauren said…

    I am so excited that i'm not the only one who enjoys the Bloody Jack Series! I also was just looking up some info on the fourth book after reading the third and came accross your blog and was overjoyed! I just finished the third book and I loved it and can't wait to get my hands on the fourth book. What I would really like to know is if you have heard anything about a movie being mad for these books?

     
  • At 8:08 PM, Blogger Talia said…

    Sadly, I do not know if any of Mr Meyer's books have been optioned for film. I mostly "hear" that sort of news in Entertainment Weekly, and my current subscription has lapsed.

    There have been enough people who found the handful of entries here about Jackie that it makes me thing we need a community or message board for fans.

     
  • At 3:29 PM, Blogger Ink Mage said…

    There IS a message board for fans. Visit it at:
    http://s13.invisionfree.com/Bloody_Jack

     
  • At 8:33 PM, Blogger PirateFan308 said…

    I absolutely love the series!
    I stumbled across your blog by accident when searching Bloody Jack, but am sure glad I found you!

    can you recommend any other books with similar ideas as the Bloody Jack series (female heroine set sometime in the past)?

    thank you so much for all your posts!

     
  • At 9:58 PM, Blogger Talia said…

    A personal favorite is Sally Watson's historical novel Jade - which features an upperclass pre-American Revolution era teenager turning pirate. Watson wrote many books about spunky young women bucking the social trends of their era, be it American Revolution or Elizabethan. They can be hard to find but are worth the effort.

    Sticking with the pirate theme, there's also Piratica by Tanith Lee and it's sequel.

    Historical but more romancy are Eva Ibbotson's wonderful novels including A Countess Below the Stairs and A Company of Swans.

    The Luxe and Rumors by Anna Gobberson have been hugely popular historical YA fiction. They lack the charm or spunk of Meyer's books, though, and I found them sort of boring.

    If you want to delve into straight fantasy (but set in various cultures lifted from our own world) I strongly suggest Tamora Pierce's novels. The Circle of Magic series and the Tortal series are all truly wonderful. Pierce and Cabot together founded SheroesCentral.Com, a website devoted celebrating strong women, both in literature and the real world.

    Good luck reading, and let us know if you find any to share as well.

     
  • At 5:27 PM, Blogger PirateFan308 said…

    thank you very much!
    I wont have to worry any more about what books I should bother reading!

     

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