L. A. Meyer – Boston Jacky
Length: 368 pages
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Started: 06 October 2013
Finished: 13 October 2013
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Aw, I’m a sucker for Bloody Jack, even when she’s land-bound.
Get outta the way,
Boston! Jacky Faber’s got
work she needs to do!
Summary: Jacky Faber is back in her home base of Boston, and it’s a good thing, since Faber Shipping International has business that needs attending to. On a whim, Jacky decides to purchase the Pig & Whistle Inn, but that puts her on the bad side of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, seeing as how they are also campaigning for Temperance. It’s also the era of rival fire companies that will only put out fires for those who pay them… and may start fires for those who don’t, and Jacky is not about to fall prey to that racket. But with enemies piling up on all sides, how long can Jacky really keep herself out of trouble? And where is her true love, Jaimy, supposed to be returning from Asia? Has she really lost him for good this time?
Review: I love the Bloody Jack series because they are a good time, with a spunky narrator and plenty of adventure and a fast-moving plot that doesn’t take itself too seriously. As the series goes on (this is book 11), they’ve been getting somewhat less fun, although they’re still reliably entertaining. And this book, truth be told, is definitely not one of the stronger entries in the series. I think it’s right there in the contrast between the name of the series (“Bloody Jack Adventures”) and the subtitle of the book (“Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Taking Care of Business”). The problem is, this is not “taking care of business” in an awesome, swashbuckling, ass-kicking kind of way, it’s “taking care of business” in a business kind of way. Faber Shipping’s financial issues are just not as exciting as being captured by slavers or boarded by pirates, y’know? I also felt like all the various elements in this book didn’t really tie together particularly well. (Other than “Jacky gets in various kinds of trouble in Boston.”) The cover makes it look like the rival fire brigades are going to form a central part of the story, but in truth I didn’t feel like that storyline really amounted to much in the end, and really, the worst danger Jacky is in during the course of the book is a public lashing.
But, even so, I don’t really read these books for their complicated plots, I read them because they’re fun and light and easygoing, and this book kept me engaged and entertained, even if it wasn’t a thrill a minute. My biggest problem with it, in fact, had nothing to do with the plotting or the overall level of action or anything. My biggest problem was Jaimy. He’s always been a little dumb, particularly where Jacky was concerned, but in this book he goes off the deep end, flopping from mildly scandalized/jealous over Jacky’s flirtateous behavior, to outright hostile and cruel about it, over a comparably minor issue. I went from being tired of him to actively disliking him, which is not an ideal situation for the character cast as the romantic interest of ten books’ standing. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: This book is not the best, but the series as a whole is worth checking out for historical fiction fans, particularly the earlier books, which are a ton of fun.
First Line: “Boston! Hooray!” I exult, as the tall church steeples of the city come into view.
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