Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bloody Jack: By L.A. Meyer Review

Title: Bloody Jack
Author: L.A. Meyer
Series: Bloody Jack #1
Pages: 320
Publisher: Harcourt
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Bought

GoodReads Description:
Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas. There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life--if only she doesn't get caught. . . .

My Review:
I first borrowed Bloody Jack from the library about…eight or nine years ago…wow I feel old…At the time, I was going through library books like a monster, checking out 15-20 every few weeks and drinking them down like water in the desert. I remember getting this book and thinking it was weird because of a cross-dressing girl, but figured you know...what the hell, I’ve read everything else in the teen section…cross dressing is all that is left...I even put it off until I had read all 18 other books that I had checked out before even looking at it again. Yet there was something that made me really want to try it. Maybe it was pirates, maybe it was the completely obscene (and AWESOME) opening scene full of corpses, whatever it was, I started reading and then after the first few pages I was completely and entirely hooked to the series.

Jacky’s voice is entrancing...She is so smart-mouthed and hilarious that I found myself laughing at something she said every other page. Her character is utterly original and her personality is one of the most developed I've seen in forever! Everything she cares about and wants is displayed via actions and beliefs as well as words. One of my least favorite things that authors can do is spell out the way their character thinks instead of showing it in how the character acts, and I am so glad to say that Jacky is her own person. She has such character depth, as do all of the other characters in the book, both major and minor. Everyone has their own motives, and directives. It's like each of the main characters need their own stories because they are so real they deserve it.

L.A. Meyer is a true bard. That sounds super corny, but I'm totally serious. He wins my award for best author...and I read A LOT of different books. Not only is his lyrical prose amazing, but he also has the ability to take secondary characters and have them come to life and create their own interweaving side stories. One of my favorite things in the book is the differing voices of the characters. Jacky is from cheapside and her Cockney colors her voice. She has had a hard upbringing and it shows in the different choices she makes and the vulgar things she says that keeps the other ship's boys on their toes. L.A. Meyer takes the time to craft an incredibly detailed and amazing story that uses a fantastic character. Other sailors from other parts of the world have different ways of speaking, and the higher ranking the officer, the more regal and educated their voices sound. Overall this makes a fantastic mental picture with depth that I have scarcely found in other works. The way that the story flows from his mind is eerie, it is literally like watching a movie in your head. All details are there and nothing is left out. The imagery is absolutely fantastic. I sound like I’m ranting, but for real, this book is amazing.

Historically, Bloody Jack is like taking a page out of the history of London. I’m not sure about historical accuracy, but it sure was believable to me. I literally felt like I was sailing around the world on a King’s Royal Navy ship with one foxy girl and a barrage of sailors both evil and benign. Meyer has obviously done his research for the book. Everything from history in the papers and lessons, to the sea lore, to simple things like directions on how to splice a line or trim the sails adds to the accuracy and feeling of the book. Some of my favorite things were the sailing songs that Jacky learns while she's on the ship. They really give an authentic flair to the story, as well as help give the characters depth because they share songs that are native to their homes.
I give this book 5 Keys. I would definitely give it 6 Keys if I could. I have said for a long time that it is one of my favorite Young Adult series, and it truly is wonderful. If you don't believe me, believe this. The Bloody Jack series is a strong competitor with HARRY POTTER for my favorite series of all time. And if you know me at all, you know how amazing that is. This series has depth, amazing characters, fantastic plot lines, and and incredibly strong main character. If you like Young Adult books of any kind, then I recommend this series.


  1. God, I love these books and I'm so glad you enjoyed your first adventure with Jacky. THey only get more colorful as they go on, trust me! :-D I definitely agree about Meyer being a bard, he definitely weaves a tale that is magical.

    And the cover art, definitely agree. I don't like the new covers as that's not how I see Jacky at all. I love the artistic work on the older covers and am glad that the new covers are only for the paperbacks and the latest Jacky adventure coming out in October will have the lovely artwork it deserves.

    Can't wait to see what you think of the rest of them. I've yet to decide which is my favorite novel out of the series.

  2. i can't wait to start reading these! love the sound of these :-D moving towards the top of my TBR list.

  3. I agree with you on the artwork, I prefer the other cover too! The plot of this book sounds really intriguing...different

  4. The plot of this book sounds just like my kind of thing, and your review (and the fact that I LOVE London and everything to do with it or about it) only makes me want to read it more. Not a fan of this cover, as everyone else pointed out, but I won't let it deter me from checking out this book. Thank you for the review!

  5. Awe. A blast from the past! I like those every once in a while too.

    And I don't really mind if the history is accurate either, as long as it feels real, I'm all in!

    Fun review. Thanks!

  6. Great review! :D I have this series on my wishlist and, after reading your review, I'm literally dying to read it. Thank you for posting!!! :D

  7. Any series that's a strong competitor for the Harry Potter series goes straight to my to-buy list. Thank you for this inspiring review and I'm amazed at how many books you read while still so young. I'm a slow reader and could only ever hope to read that many books! Thank you for sharing this great series with us:)


  8. It's been quite a while since I read this first in the series. I loved it. I must continue on with it.

  9. I have seen this at the library numerous times, but never picked it up. Maybe because of the 18-20 books that are already in my hands. I am a huge library gal. It is a second home. I have never really been interested in book pirates until I read the Vampirates series by Justin Somper (Awesome!). They changed my mind, so I think I will check this one out!