Jacky Faber makes waves, even when docked in her adopted city of Boston to attend to the business of Faber Shipping Worldwide. With big dreams and perhaps too much exuberance for the Puritan populace, she quickly finds herself at odds with the Women's Temperance Union and a town roiling over the arrival of hundreds of Irish laborers, brought in on Jacky's Lorelei Lee. Thwarted at every turn by her enemies, Jacky is forced to acknowledge her shortcomings and possibly lose her beloved Jaimy Fletcher.
L. A. Meyer received a master of arts from Boston University, and is currently the curator and exhibitor at the Clair de Loon Gallery in Bar Harbor, Maine. He lives in Corea, Maine.
Katherine Kellgren has recorded over 100 audiobooks including the Bloody Jack series, which has been the winner of multiple Audie Awards, Publishers Weekly awards, Odyssey Honor awards, and ForeWord Magazine's Audiobook of the Year awards. She is a graduate of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
©2013 L. A. Meyer (P)2014 Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
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"How Much Farther Jacky?"
It seems that with every passing installment I go through the same cycle of trepidation leading up to the release of the latest entry in the Bloody Jack series. It continues through the beginning of each book, tempered by my reacquaintance with Katherine Kellgren's impeccable portrayal of Jacky and her world, but simmers as Mr. Meyer follows the same formula of high times, overconfidence, duplicitous scheming, Jacky's moral undoing and at least a few instances of irrational behavior re the ongoing "romance" between our plucky protagonist and Mr. James Fletcher. The latter returns to prominence, and advances the argument I think that this series is beginning to outstay its welcome: as his angst over Jacky's wildness and resulting behavior are truly beginning to feel contrived to the point of being utterly silly. Generally, I suppose, both characters are aging but not growing up.
What redeems this book for me is the sheer fun that is had along the way. There is a lot of suffering on Jacky's part but many ridiculous misadventures and hijinks. How much this can carry the book may vary from person to person depending on how tired they are of Jacky's shortcomings. I for one thought I was at my limit with #11, but found myself finishing this morning, willing to go on at least one more adventure with Jacky Faber. All the same, I hear the dates of letters in this book and think that the War of 1812 is drawing ever closer and surely this series cannot go on very much longer.
Highlights this time around are encounters with for profit fire-fighting companies of the early 19th Century, the early women's suffrage movements, anti-immigrant bias and more illicit substances.
The wonderful characterizations and emphatic reading of action sequences that has won Katherine Kellgren so much acclaim for this series remains very much in evidence, and is well worth disregarding any misgivings about going forward for series regulars. Go ahead on one more adventure with Jacky and her friends, hear songs sung and visit Jacky's Boston once more for old time's sake.
"The Brotherhood Forever"
As the title clearly states, Jacky & Co. are back in Boston for this installment, and while I tend to enjoy her sea-faring adventures better than the landlocked tales, this was pretty entertaining. Honestly, with a narrator like Katherine Kellgren, it is kind of impossible NOT to be entertained. She is the absolute best, seamlessly flowing between different accents and genders with a level of skill that I can't even comprehend.
It was nice to see some old friends that we (and Jacky) haven't seen for a while. There were moments in the story that were, surprisingly, incredibly moving (the scene with Tink, and the graduation scene come to mind). This is a long series, so most of us listeners/readers have been with these characters for several years now, so you really feel these moments between the characters.
There is some especially fun stuff with Clarissa, who plays a big role in this book.
Major complaints: Bring back Higgins!! He only appears briefly, and I MISS HIM. Also, the whipping scene at the end? It was really disturbing. I think it was supposed to be funny, but between characters who are supposed to be in a relationship, it was a bit too "domestic violence" for my taste.
My final complaint is that it ends rather abruptly, just as it was getting REALLY good.
We are getting ever closer to Waterloo now, which I expect to close up the series, since it has always revolved around the Napoleonic Wars. I hope this series will have a satisfactory ending, because it has been a fun ride.
"Running out of steam?"
I've been reading this series with my daughter for many years, and have enjoyed it thoroughly. Katherine Kellgren has always been superb narrating Jacky and friends. The story lines have, however, declined in interest with each successive novel. There was little of interest in this installment, virtually no character development of any of the players, just the same cast doing the same old kinds of things, getting into the same old kinds of trouble, and being rescued by friends at the eleventh hour. It's not terrible, but it's nowhere near as interesting as the excellent early books in the series. There are a couple of entertaining scenes involving a hallucinating judge, but Jacky fans will find themselves left a little cold by this unmemorable addition to the series.
"I think we need to see other people"
The Bloody Jack series has always been a safe harbor when I haven't been sure of what else to buy. While the Irish immigrant angle in this episode was interesting, the book seemed to have a lot of filler--and definitely too many songs. (Maybe they don't seem so tedious in the printed version.) The narrator is outstanding as usual, but even she came across as a little off her game.
"As usual an amazing story superbly performed..."
For a book so very well written and superbly narrated how do i describe my disappointment...even anger...with the direction the author took with this book?
There have been ten books prior to this one and my chief complaint was the whining of Jacky over her always missing love interest...ten books so well written, so cleverly paralleling world history, taking us on fantastic journeys through harrowing and exciting times with the ever so lucky and opportunist character of Jacky.
I won't ruin what is otherwise another great story by telling you of what happens in book eleven...i will simply say i nearly didn't even bother to review it, but then i realized that even if it got some bad reviews i would have purchased and read it anyway. So i shall share my frustration while admitting it was still written with the same skill as its predecessors.
Don't look for a pleasing or even satisfying end to book eleven. Rumor has it this book will finish the Jacky series as it has been and perhaps an end to jacky's tale as told through her as the primary character. Now i don't really know what this means for the series, nor do i make any accuracy claims for that statement...hearsay is all that it is at this point. Look for the authors blog or web page for confirmation.
One last point...even had i known of my pending disappointment i would have read this book...the first ten in the series had earned my loyalty. I don't regret the purchase even now, but i am angry about how things were left.
"A very entertaining series"
The story is fast moving and just an easy and entertaining read. Also, you cant help but feel good about Jacky who despite being persecuted by all of the bad guys, always stands up for those who need help.
for me, the most memorable thing was just picking up a new story about our hero Jacky and being entertained for yet another 10 hours or so.
I liked them all.
Bad guys beware, Jacky is in town, and she gets even.
All of the books have been read by Katherine Kellgren. She is the best reader that I have ever experienced. Her spirited reading really makes the books come alive. Thank you Katherine!
"Another great Bloody jack"
Another great book in the series.
Interaction between Jackie and the "Hunchback".
I was sad when Jaimy left at the end.
"Finally over the top and done"
I've enjoyed all the books in this series, despite the silliness and impossible events. This one however, is just plain dull. All the characters and actions have happened before, they are just rehashes of old books, and old stories. It's almost insulting to those of us loyal to the series. The narration is great as always, she just has nothing to work with here. There's no plot as far as I can tell. Don't waste your credit. Count yourself lucky to have spent time with these characters in the past, get over it, and move on.
"I've read this 40x good"
This is my 40th time re-reading the bloody jack series (ok maybe 40 is exaggerating a bit but you get the idea), and I am in love with how the story always keeps me on my toes. The narrator (Kathrine kellgren) is a magician with making these books come TO LIFE! I feel like I connect with jacky as she goes through her adventures. I love how Jacky is a very like able character but also has her faults. I am forever grateful for these books! I did like Boston jacky a lot, but I don't think it was quite as memorable as any of the other books. Also I didn't like how Jaiyme acted through this book (physically and or mentally)... that's all I can say with out giving out too many spoilers. Anyways it's a great read thank you L.A Meyer and thank you kathren!
"Every book a little more sexist than the previos"
L. A. Meyer spins a good yarn, but unfortunately these stories also have an undercurrent of sexism and racism. The freed slave (named Jemima btw!) is cast in the role of cooking for everyone. The little boy Ravi, from India, is always performing servile tasks, much more than the white boys in Jacky's employ. Jacky claims to be friends with "whores" yet considers it the worst insult ever to be called one. And why is it so important for her to not have ever had sex? Yes, the era was sexist in that way, but Jacky herself, who eschews other puritan mores of the time, seems to think her virginity is super important. Even though she sleeps with men and gets naked with them without a twinge of conscience.
There are many more examples of this kind of problematic narrative. And yet I keep listening. The stories are fun despite it all. The historical details are great. Most of all, Katherine Kellgren is a PHENOMENAL narrator.
That said, this was the worst of the Bloody Jack novels to date. The ending was just gross. [Spoiler to follow.......]
Jamie, in disguise, whips Jacky in the public square to spare her the pain of anyone else doing it more harshly--until his jealousy gets the better of him (jealous because she posed nude for a painting--yawn) and he turns vicious. After he gives her a harsh whipping, she discovers his identity and he skips town--with her wailing and crying after him. She can't let him leave, or some crap. Seriously vomitous.
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