Book Review: The Mark of the Golden Dragon: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Jewel of the East, Vexation of the West, and Pearl of the South China Sea by L.A. Meyer


The Mark of the Golden Dragon: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Jewel of the East, Vexation of the West, and Pearl of the South China Sea by L.A. Meyer
Reviewed by: Lori Twichell
Genre: YA, Historical, Adventure
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers and Listen and Live Audio
Publication Date:  October 2011

What happens when Jacky Faber gets control of her own ship, paid by the East India Trading Company and Jaimy is also the captain of his own vessel? If you’ve read any of the previous Bloody Jack adventures, you know chaos is always hovering around the horizon for Jacky Faber.

This time, the danger is a little more than what Jacky can handle. When moored in a safe port, a massive storm blows up around them and she gets blown overboard. Despite days of searching for her body and trips up and down the channel, no one can find her. Jacky, it seems, has truly passed. Jacky’s funeral is a somber occasion led by Higgins and Jaimy.

Little do they know that Jacky and her little Indian counterpart, Ravi, are fine. They were washed up on a small island and very soon, they find themselves in the middle of civilization. Jacky, who always makes the most of a difficult situation, soon becomes the pet of the most powerful man in the region, Chopstick Charlie. After spending a good amount of time there, Jacky eventually makes her way back around the globe – visiting Britain and the U.S.

Even though in previous adventures we’ve seen Jaimy in trouble, this time it’s worse than ever before. With Jacky’s apparent death, the grief has driven Jaimy mad. Revenge is the only thing that’s on his mind as he determines that he will find the men who set Jacky up for the death penalty. In his mind, they are the reason she is dead.

Though this book does continue the adventures and her storylines are always unbelievable, this one stretches the imagination further than previous stories. If you love Jacky Faber, you will certainly want to read this one to see where she ends up, but you may have to give her a little extra latitude. Some of her choices are….wobbly at best. And the plot points are a little shaky.

Still, for a short time you can disappear completely into a historical (albeit fantasy feel) world where you don’t have to worry about anything except having fun while Jacky gets into trouble. I do feel obligated to warn that once again, Jacky’s adventures cross the line of what I would consider YA fiction. This book, though listed for 14 years and up, really is more of an older high school or even college level. Most of the plot twists aren’t too bad, but there are just enough of a sexual or heavily violent nature for the book to be better for mature readers.

Once again though, the audiobook shines with complete and total brilliance. The voices, the background, the production….all of it is of the highest excellence. If you don’t have the time to sit and read, these are the best options for audiobooks that I’ve ever experienced. Even if you’ve already read the books, these bring such a new level of excitement to this entire experience. It’s as if Jacky comes to life in these books and I cannot highly recommend them enough.

Rated R: Though these are listed as YA books, there are a lot of adult scenes with violence and mentions of sexual themes.

Review copy provided by Publisher and Listen and Live Audio. Thank you!