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