Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review: The Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L.A. Meyer

GoodReads Description:
After being exposed as a girl, Jacky Faber is forced to leave the Dolphinand attend the elite Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston. But growing up on the streets of London and fighting pirates never prepared Jacky for her toughest battle yet: learning how to be a lady.
Everything she does is wrong. Her embroidery is deplorable, her French is atrocious, and her table manners--disgusting! And whenever Jacky roams the city in search of adventure, trouble is never far behind. Then there's the small matter of her blue anchor tattoo. . . .
So will Jacky ever become a typical lady? Not bloody well likely! But whether she's triumphing over her snobbish classmates, avenging a serving girl's murder, or winning over a stubborn horse that's as fast as the wind, one thing's for sure: Jacky's new life in Boston is just as exciting as her old one on the high seas.

My Review:
The next adventure in store for Jacky starts off really sad. She is forced to abandon ship, when the British Navy leaves her in Boston to learn to be a “fine lady ”. You really feel for her as she meets her new catty classmates, domineering Mistress of the school, a constable that has it out for her, and a murderous preacher who is intent on beating Jacky’s past sins out of her.  It is the same feisty Jacky we love, on a whole new type of ship. As in the first book,  I found that I really connected with Jacky and all the other characters in Jacky’s world. There are only two other YA series that I found I have connected with like this, those are Harry Potter, and Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic quartet.

Sometimes you just want to grab Jacky and shake her for being such a fool, but the whole time you are rooting for her. She just has this eternal optimism and mischievous nature that I find completely endearing. Jacky has a lot to learn at her new school for fine ladies, and one of the biggest lessons she learns is how to fight like a girl, after several rather embarrassing ordeals with Miss Clarissa Worthington Howe, resident Mean Girl of The Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls.  I felt that some of the time at school passed rather slowly, but all of the lessons, and visits to neighboring farms and  everything was all very interesting.

The new cast of characters like Mistress Pimm, Amy Trevelyne (and her dashing brother Randall), Peg and the downstairs girls; they are all are fabulous characters, and the mysteries they unravel are creepy and sad, yet fascinating.  In addition to the new characters, we get a new voice. Well sort of new. It’s Jacky’s true love Jaimy, and in this book we first get a peak into his head through the letters he writes to Jacky. The poor starcrossed lovers are now kept apart, not by the deception of Jacky acting as a boy, but by Jaimy’s mother and Mistress Pimm who both disagree with the young couple’s engagement. To be honest, though I love the two together, Jaimy kind of seems like a namby pamby wuss. He is extremely naïve about his mother’s actions toward him. He also seems to think that once he and Jacky are married, Jacky will be content to live off in some cottage while he goes sailing around…psshhh if he truly believes that is so, he doesn’t know his lady love very well.

Jacky has this way of being sneaky, yet nice, conniving, yet warm, and all with this open honesty that makes you wish you could live in her world, just so that some of her charisma rubs off on you.  This book definitely teaches her a lesson in humility, as I am embarrassed for her for the good middle part of the book. It is interesting to see that as Jacky attends school, and the more educated she becomes, the more her language becomes more formal, and seems to contain less slang and cockney.

Side note: I really love the way that Meyer includes minor characters both from actual history and from other resonant literature. For example, the main villain in this book is the grandson of an actual villain of American history: Cotton Mather. He was almost solely responsible for the convictions in the Salem witch trials; trials, that most of you know were based on shoddy evidence and mostly hysteria. Another character that was included at the very end was Ishmael…and Captain Ahab…unfortunately there isn’t too much inclusion of the classic Moby Dick, but that is understandable. It was just kind of cool to see Jacky interacting with the characters from other books without making the plot ABOUT the other book.  The little side references are fun and make you feel all smart and well-read when you catch them, then you can pat yourself on the back and say “umhummmm yes, that IS part of the classical cannon of literature, how wonderfully intelligent I am for finding it here” (must be thought with a smarmy British accent for full pompous effect)

Again with the covers, I love the artwork much more than the new paperback covers. For one, on the live girl, they put Jacky’s tattoo in the wrong place, for two the illustration shows Jacky’s “foxy grin” A grin to which I am very partial lol.

--Overall Report---

Originality: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 9/10
Theme: 10/10
Imagery: 10/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 9/10
Total: 97/100

A fantastic adventure, with mystery, and awesomeness :)




  1. I hate the new covers as well. Some are okay and appealing, others make me groan. I just can't see the new model as Jacky and the other covers are so intricate and wonderful. :)

  2. oo this sounds great! great review. i'm definitely going to add this to my TBR list. i love adventure type novels!

  3. Starcrossed lovers can always be fun to read the cover!

  4. This book sounds exciting and adventurous and romantic, and the characters seem incredibly realistic. I am definitely adding it to my ever growing to-read list. Thanks for the review!