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Review: Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy by L.A. Meyer

Genre: Adventure, Audiobooks, Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Publisher: Graphia (A Division of Houghton Mifflin) and Listen and Live Audio

Publication Date: 8/10/2010

Reviewed by Lori Twichell

Mary Faber was a beautiful little girl with hope for a wonderful life when her parents died, leaving her an orphan on the streets of London. With no orphanages at the time (early 1800’s), Mary was forced to learn how to beg, borrow and steal to survive. It isn’t long before Mary gets picked up by a street gang – a good one – full of other unfortunate children who are begging for their daily bread. Run by Rooster Charlie, he teaches Mary everything she needs to know to survive on the harsh streets. Sleeping under a bridge in the summers and near a blacksmith’s warm fires in the winters, Mary just begins to hit her stride on the streets when Charlie passes, leaving her once again orphaned and unprotected. Except this time, Mary’s got a plan.

She cuts her hair, steals the clothes off of Charlie’s dead body, and becomes Jacky Faber. Amazed at how much easier life is for a boy, she decides to head to the docks and soon, her reading and writing abilities earn her a spot on the H.M.S. Dolphin as a ship’s boy.

The next few years of Jacky’s life are spent learning everything there is to know about sailing, the navy and what it means to be a boy. Barely able to keep her great deception together as she begins to grow, Jacky also develops feelings for one of the other boys, Jaimy Fletcher.

It’s hard to give even a small synopsis of the book because so much happens that the book feels like a series in and of itself. Action packed adventure and intrigue leap off of each page at breakneck speed it’s almost hard to keep up. Jacky’s wit and wiles are fabulously crafted and as you’re reading, you can’t help but laugh. This book was utterly fantastic and it didn’t take long for me to be a die-hard Jacky Faber fan.

I’m stepping outside of my norm here and adding to this review, a longer discussion about the audiobooks. I had the privilege of finding the first Jacky Faber books at our local library and I was immediately drawn into the stories. These are audiobooks unlike any other that I’ve ever heard. The actress who does the reading creates a full on adventure that draws you in much like a film. These audiobooks are absolutely amazing! I’ll be doing reviews of the other audiobooks in the series, but let me tell you, if you’re looking for something that runs far beyond the normal reading you find in an audiobook, you will want to own this audio adventure. It seems almost wrong to call it an audiobook – these are fully acted and engaged audio dramas. They are set high and apart from previous audiobooks that I have listened to in the past.

This is the first book in the series with ten others coming behind it and more planned to release in the upcoming months. I am excited to dive into Jacky’s further adventures!

Publisher and Listen and Live Audio provided these copies for my review. You can check out the audio books here.

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