Being An Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy
By L.A. Meyer
First published: 2002
Series: Bloody Jack #1
Read: 28 May - 4 June 2011
Challenges: 1st in a Series Challenge #7
From the cover
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 ...
I have read many a great review of the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer, and as I was in the middle of a pirate phase (I watched all 4 Pirates of the Caribbean movies in a short period of time) I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I soon understood why everyone seems to love Bloody Jack. This middle-grade adventure of the high seas is just as entertaining for adults as it is for kids.
Meyer has expertly weaved a fantastic story of adventure, friendship, love and everyday life onboard a ship of the Royal Navy, but at the same time he doesn't shy away from more serious themes such as survival, violence, sodomy, and death. The characters are believable and well-developed, and everyone is important to the story. I can't vouch for the historical accuracy, but the setting pulled me right in and I could practically smell the ocean and feel the spray of the sea.
The story is told with Jacky as a first-person narrator. She has a distinctive voice that changes and evolves throughout the book, and as the story progresses you really feel like you get to know her. She's straight-forward and honest and tells everything like it is. She is also down to earth and practical, finding a solution to her problems when they arise but doesn't worry about them until it's necessary. There is an interview with the author at the back of the book, saying Jacky is only as brave as she has to be, but I'd say that is still pretty darn brave.
My biggest complaint is about the cover of my copy (pictured above). Although I love the dark colours and the ship in the top left corner, I think the girl looks much too modern for this historical tale. What do you think?
- Bloody Jack (2002)
- Curse of the Blue Tattoo (2004)
- Under the Jolly Roger (2005)
- In the Belly of the Bloodhound (2006)
- Mississippi Jack (2007)
- My Bonny Light Horseman (2008)
- Rapture of the Deep (2009)
- The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (2010)
- The Mark of the Golden Dragon (2011)