Listen to the sequel, Curse of the Blue Tattoo.
©2003 L.A. Meyer; (P)2007 Listen and Live Audio, Inc.
Actually, it's a good story terrifically read - Katherine Kellgren (who I've enjoyed performing the Royal Spyness novels) has done an amazing job bringing the characters and their situations (fun, fear, nerves, panic, sadness, irony) to life. I do believe that this is better listened to than read, and I don't think I would have gotten past the first dozen pages if I had been reading the print version.
I have no shame in calling this a swashbuckling tale of life on the high seas - though a cliche, it does fit this situation, and the book (almost) never seems like a cliche. One can clearly tell it's written for tweens, but it's good fun nonetheless and never seems juvenile, neither in story nor in language choice. It starts with 11 or 12 year old orphan Mary on the streets of London, who puts on a dead friends clothes to appear as a boy and manages (by virtue of being able to read) to get herself hired on as a "ship's boy" on a vessel of His Majesty's Navy. It ends, about 3 years later with her set off the ship in Boston, ready for installment 2 of the series. In between there are sailors and pirates, ships' chores and liberty in port, battles and Sunday's spent dancing jigs and learning to play the tinwhistle. Oh, and some parasailing and being marooned on an island. Just about the most you can stuff into 3 years of a young girl's life.
Live in Cocoa Beach Florida. Am a videographer and photographer.
I have not yet read the print version of Bloody Jack although I have downloaded to my Kendell. I just can not imagine the print version being nearly as good as the audio (which for me is true of most books). Katherine Kellgren was fantastic in her portrayal of each an every character.
Comparing Bloody Jack to other books, I would say Oliver Twist in style and Robinson Crusoe for content.
Mary (Bloody Jack) was my favorite character but I liked Charlie a lot, even though he appeared only briefly early in the book he showed character and bravery by standing up to those who had all the power and in his own right was a leader with compassion.
There were so many moments in this book that moved me it is not possible to point to just one.
This was a book that I could not put down and spent every moment that I could spare listening to it. At the end,I just did not want it to end.
I have never given a book five stars in each category, this was my first.
This book keeps your interest throughout with its never ending twists and turns. But there is some depth to the protagonist and every event is based solidly on historical research. The performer is not just a narrator but a true voice actor. I loved this listen!
Jacky aka Mary of course. Everything that happens is from her point of view, and its handled very well, with you following every action and emotion.
The voices that the actor does suit perfectly and are not overdone. She even sings a bit here and there.
I cried with emotion a few times in the car, just amazed at what the young lassie went through.
Downloaded #2 The Curse of the Blue Tattoo.
Katherine Kellgren absolutely made this book for me. "Bloody Jack" is a well-written, well-plotted historical adventure, but Kellgren's performance transformed it into something truly special. She brought color and nuance to Jacky’s world, pulling me right onto the deck of the HMS Dolphin. I could hear the roar of cannons, the swell of the sea and the music played by the sailors in her voice. I can’t imagine experiencing this book in any other way.
Set at the turn of the 19th Century, “Bloody Jack” uses the familiar trope of a girl dressed as a boy to experience a man’s world, but the appealing heroine, diverse cast of characters and spot-on pacing made the story fresh and exciting.
Mary “Jacky” Faber escapes a dismal life as a London street urchin by fast-talking her way on board a British man-of-war headed out to sea in pursuit of pirates. Because she can read and write, she is assigned to help the tutor who instructs the young midshipmen and ship's boys. As performed by Kellgren, Jacky's voice conveys her wonder at the sights and workings of the ship, terror in battle, and later in the story, the overwhelming joy of young love. She comes fully alive in Kellgren's telling – smart, resourceful, self-deprecating, tender-hearted yet practical.
Much of the humor and dramatic tension in the story comes from Jacky's efforts to maintain her disguise – first because she does not think through all the implications ("What about the call of nature, you twit?") and second because she begins to fall in love with another ship's boy, Jamie Fletcher, who comes from a respectable family fallen on hard times. Jacky struggles very believably to choose between the freedom of being a boy – able to climb rigging, visit taverns on shore leave and explore opportunities denied to women – and her desire to live as her true self. (She also discovers, later on, what is meant by the phrase "feminine wiles" and how to use hers to advantage.)
Jacky also learns hard lessons about grown men who bully those they perceive as weaker, and about abusers who victimize children to satisfy their twisted desires. The HMS Dolphin is a microcosm of humanity itself, with all of the good and evil of men represented on its decks. Much of the story was quite dark and brutal, showing the hardships sailors endured and how cheaply life was sometimes held.
I greatly appreciated how the characters behaved in ways both true to their times and to their own experiences. (For example, Jamie at first turns up his nose at the daily ration of horse meat, while the malnourished Jacky wolfs it down as if it’s the best thing she’s ever tasted.) By the story's end, many of the characters - from the unflappable Captain Locke to the passionate but prudish scholar Mr. Tilden to the kindly "sea dad" Liam Delaney - seemed like old friends.
This book has it all: adventure, excitement, humor, pathos and tenderness – all vividly rendered by Kellgren. I am looking forward to joining Jacky on the rest of her adventures in this series.
Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)
This book was over way to quickly, I wanted more (so I'm off to download the next book in the series). If you want to get lost in a fun story set upon the high seas, this is the book for you. The performance was so good that it was like listening to someone telling their own story.
It wasn't perfect... many of the characters were very stereotyped. However, the main character was so atypical that it made up for the rest of the typical cast of characters for the most part. But, introducing some additional non-standard characters would have made a really good book, great. Also, the book should have been longer (I can't believe I said that, but it's true). I know this is a series and I'm sure I will get to know the characters very well in other books, but there were lots of parts of this book that went by way to quickly.
I happen to love books about ships, sailing, military, pirates, adventure, and plunder. I think one of the things I like about this combination is that you can't just walk away from a ship (or the military) and I like to see all of the inter-personal threads unwind as people are forced together in these kinds of environments, especially when matters of treasure and life-and-death fighting is introduced into the mix. It brings out the worst and the best in humankind. I mean really, what more can you want?!
She's the tomboy I always wanted to be.
The female Huck Finn with her great adventures.
Her many different accents and beautiful voice for singing. Meyer is very descriptive in his writing so when Kellgren is speaking for that person your given such a perfect picture in your minds eye.
My extreme reaction would have to be that I wanted to listen to more and soon. Laugh yes. Cry no.
What a fun adventure to live through Bloody Jack!
Professional puppeteer, audio book narrator, author.
Jackie Faber, the main character, thinks that she isn't very brave, but she very much is.
She has an amazing voice and makes each character distinct, not just in sound but in emotional range. This is beautifully acted.
I usually listen while I'm driving or doing work with my hands. I found myself doing extra cleaning so as to not stop listening.
I already have. forced a friend of mine at work to listen to the performance alone. Katherine is truly amazing. I am a Fantasy Nut by reputation. Katherine alone has led me to two categories all by herself. She alone has made my last month of listening a 5 book adventure.
Katherine has the ability to make each and every character a unique and genuine experience. I can close my eyes and see the scene before me like never before.
In this case yes. I think the narrator did a fantastic job with the voices. She had a jaunty and fun accent that emphasized the nautical feel of the book.
Bloody Jack was of course. I'm now an adult but this story is so great for females who long to read about adventure on the wild seas. It was really interesting to read about Mary aka Jackie's transition from girl to boy to girl.
There were a lot to choose from. Ultimately my favorite scene was when Jackie got her first meal on The Dolphin. Her excitement, pleasure, and contentment with a full meal was palpable. She and the others seemed so pleased with such questionable cuisine (it might have been horse meat, but one is never quite sure) that it made me smile.
Yes. I listened to it on a 400 mile drive and I was reluctant to leave the car when I finally arrived at my destination. I wanted to know what would happen to Jackie!
If you want fun and entertainment and hints of depth, then I definitely think this book fits the bill. It's a great adventure book.
The narration was the big seller for me. I've read the book before, but Kathrine Kellgren's narration just brought the whole thing to life.
Now that would be telling, I wouldn't want to spoil things for new readers/listeners. I will say that I enjoyed the bit with the kite.
I've bought things she's narrated just because she narrated them. She's really good in this book and just gets better in the sequels.
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