Books,  Reviews

Book Review: The Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, on Her Way to Botany Bay

The Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, on Her Way to Botany Bay by L.A. Meyer
Reviewed by: Lori Twichell
Genre: YA, historical, adventure, Audiobook
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 17, 2012

Her own ship. Commissioned and completely outfitted to her specifications, the Lorelei Lee is everything that Jacky Faber had ever dreamed she’d want in her own ship. She’s even got a figurehead for the ship that’s been carved from…herself! Yup. Anyone who sees this ship knows that it belongs to Jacky Faber when they see an image of her hanging on the front in full, naked 3D glory. (Jacky’s never really been shy or modest and she loves being the center of attention, so this works for her.)

Unfortunately, Jacky’s ship owning days are cut severely short in a very quick manner. When she returns to England, Jacky ends up being arrested – again. And this time it looks as if she’s not going to get out quite so easily. With two men that she’s previously run into building a completely false case against her, this trouble is deeper than Jacky’s ever been in before. In fact, it’s even worse than she realizes. Jaimy’s been arrested too! All of the years of mostly impeccable service to the British government are about to go out the window for him too.

When Jacky gets incarcerated at Newgate prison, all of the horrifying memories from her childhood crop up again and she knows she’s going to hang. Thankfully, pretty much everyone she’s ever known steps up and testifies on her behalf to stand against the two men who have trumped up these charges. That’s the only thing that keeps her from swinging at Newgate. Except now she’s been sentenced to the penal colony in Australia! And guess how she gets there??? The LORELEI LEE! That’s right – Jacky’s very own ship is the one on which she’s to be imprisoned and carried to Australia to fulfill her sentence.  Little does she know that Jaimy has also been sentenced to the penal colony – but his situation is even more dire than hers.

This continuation of the Jacky Faber series is, once again, brilliant. Dear Jacky, growing up in trial and misadventure, still hasn’t learned any lessons about thinking before she acts. This time though, we cross cultures and continents with her misadventures! Our dearest Jacky ends up in India, China, Singapore and a variety of other places while on her journey to the penal colony.

The situations get a little bit more out of hand in this outing, but I personally think that’s part of the joy of the series. If even a quarter of her adventures were remotely believable the series wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining as it is. Once again, her adventures have grown in magnitude and maturity. I’d warn young readers and parents that there are highly mature situations. Jacky’s compatriots on the prison ship are prostitutes – all of them. And even later, when (POTENTIAL SPOILER) Jacky and Jaimy connect, there’s frank discussion regarding the maturity level of their relationship.

I love this series – I really do. It’s firmly planted on my favorites list for not only young adult books, but fiction in general. Though it’s rated for 8th grade and up and I do think that’s a little young, I can’t help but rave over the characters, misadventures and stories that L.A. Meyer has created in this world.

Once again, I must bring to light the audio version of this book. I have likened it before to movies for entertainment value, but as I was listening this time, I realized it’s really more like watching live theater unfold. With music woven throughout, brilliant acting that honestly deserves the highest award possible for this genre, and incredible production values, the audiobook versions of this series really stand on their own. I’ve said it before, but it definitely bears repeating: Even if you’ve read the print versions of these books, the audio versions from Listen and Live Audio are so incredibly produced, they raise this series to a whole new level of entertainment.

If you like adventure, young adult reading, history, pirates, girl power or…well….reading – you don’t want to miss this series!

Rated R: Once again the books have grown up with Jacky and her adventures have a decidedly more mature bent to them. If you’ve got younger readers, proceed with caution.

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