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Publisher's Summary

Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of 18th-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas. There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life...if only she doesn't get caught.
Listen to the sequel, Curse of the Blue Tattoo.
©2003 L.A. Meyer; (P)2007 Listen and Live Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Winner, Children's Titles - Ages 12+, 2008

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Sometimes it clicks

I've listened to well over a hundred audio books over the last few years and have noticed that once in awhile, the reader simply manages to become the character. Most of the readers are good, but every so often, reader and character click and something special results. Grover Gardner reading David Rosenfelt's books, David Aaron Baker reading Dean Koontz's "Odd Thomas", Johanna Parker's perfect embodiment of Sookie Stackhouse in the Charlaine Harris books, and perhaps most of all, Katherine Kellgren as Jacky Faber in L.A. Meyer's "Bloody Jack." A perfect fit, a marvelous story, a wonderful performance. The story is excellent, but even if it were not, the performance itself would be worth hearing. This is the first performance by Katherine Kellgren I've heard, it will not be the last. Full marks for author and narrator.

79 of 82 people found this review helpful

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Award-winning author and narrator. 'Nuf said!

STORY (historical) - First of all, I totally disagree with the categorization of this book as "Teens Ages 11-13" The main characters in the story are teens, but there are mature themes which make it more appropriate for adults. The main character, "Jacky," is a young orphan girl who must survive on the streets of London until a dear friend is killed, she takes his clothing and sets off in search of a better life disguised as a boy. Her life as a street urchin is pretty dark and depressing. Jacky gets a job as a ship's mate aboard a seagoing vessel, which is where the adventures begin, but there are still some scenes with sexual undertones which I wouldn't consider appropriate for 11-year-olds.

I also think the title is a bit misleading. Jacky gets the nickname "Bloody Jack" because she happens to kill an unworthy individual in self-defense and another in a battle with pirates, but the story is actually a touching coming-of-age story that is mixed with lots of fun and adventure. It's a light, easy listen once Jacky becomes a ship's "boy." The ending is good, but definitely leaves the door open for the rest of the series.

PERFORMANCE - Amazing! Katherine Kellgren is one of my favorite narrators. I was undecided about this series until I noticed she was the narrator. She gives every character a different voice and accent and they're all wonderful. There's even a toothless pirate, and you can literally "see" him when you hear her portrayal. (She also reads the Her Royal Spyness series.) You must hear her to believe how good she is.

OVERALL - (Actual rating 4.5 stars) This is Book 1 of the series, and you should listen to them in order. As I mentioned above, I would recommend this for high school age and above. Guys and gals would probably both enjoy the adventures of Jacky and her crew.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 06-05-13

A Lost Review

This is one of many lost reviews by Audible. It's not much but luckily, it was stored elsewhere:

Narrated by Katherine Kellgren, this is one of my all-time favorite audiobooks. It is an audio book at its best. This is a performance and not just a reading. This book and its reader have won many awards and rightfully so. The book is entertaining to the point of addiction. I read the first two books in the series in two days and would be working on the third if my iPod were not fully discharged.

There is not a dull moment in any of the first two books in this series: Bloody Jack #1 and The Curse of the Blue Tattoo #2. I have heard it said and read of listeners that they had fallen in love with the narrator's voice... well add me to her fanboys and girls. Katherine Kellgren is one of the best talents in this art form. In fact, certainly gender-wise, she is perhaps without peer.

62 of 67 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Federal Way, WA, USA
  • 07-23-07

Nothing's Better

This book is great for anybody who likes reading about sailing ships in the 1800s. The book is full of action as the main character Jacky Fabre tells her story of the time spent on the HMS Dolphin as a ships boy. As with any great nauticle tale this story involves piracy and great batles on the high sea. This is a book that you won't want to put down becuase the plot keeps moving and you will always want to know what happens next.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Alethea
  • GLENDALE, CA, United States
  • 04-29-09

Bloody Awesome

I've read a lot of orphan stories, but this one by L.A. Meyer stands out. The heroine grows from a timid beggar child to swash-buckling sailor, charming both her supporting characters and readers.

While the first book can get pretty dreary at times (Jacky is, after all, attempting to escape poverty and a life of petty crime by climbing onto a warship--both lives fraught with danger), it is worth being drawn to tears; subsequent books feature a pleasing balance of pathos and comedy. Katherine Kellgren's spirited rendition is priceless.

I would recommend this for readers 14 and older, due to some violence and sexual content.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful

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This is a fast paced, entertaining, well written, very well narrated, adult book. Since Hungry Games (although this was written in 2003) it seems okay to have violence in teen books. This not only has violence, but attempted rape, discussions on Sodomy, menstrual periods, heavy petting and homosexuality. There are lots of corpses and body parts in glass jars and dissection of child corpses.. I loved this book and the main character, who is an orphan raised on the streets of 1700 London. The violence is necessary to the story, but I would hesitate to let anyone too young listen to this. I would think it would give kids nightmares and make them worry they might become orphans.

Enough can not be said about the narrator, Kellgren. She is great. She is more actor then narrator and she really brings life to the characters.

I will continue the series.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Magic! Pure magic!

Why is the world not clambering for more Bloody Jack books, as it did for books about a wizard some years ago? I LOVE this series!

Mary Faber is an orphan on the streets of London when the story begins. By the last page, she is Bloody Jack, and her die is cast - she's in for a life of adventures, and the reader can't wait to read more.

I've purchased this audiobook as gifts for two very grown up friends, and each is hooked, as I am. Two of us are over 50, one is just over 30, two are men, one is a woman. Jack can smooth the harshest commute, and even help me forgive the idiot doing 45 ahead of me on the interstate. Not to worry! Jackie Faber is in a fix, and I'll just poke along behind you on the highway until she gets out of it.

**PARENT WARNING** If you are buying this for a child, do listen to the book first. It's probably not suitable for the very young, and some pre-teens could find the series difficult to hear. Face it, this is a story about a young girl on an English war ship, filled with men. Throughout the series (including in the first book) there are men trying to take advantage of what we'll politely call her "innocence," mostly without her consent.

Narrator is incredible. Every character has his or her own voice, and each international or regional accent is spot on. I was transported, from the first words of the book.

A MUST read!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent Series..

I initially had a hard time listening... but after a bit I got into the book. It was a fun listen, the second book in the series gets much better and interesting...

The narrator does an excellent job. I also enjoyed her singing.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Eivind
  • New York, New York
  • 05-03-12

Audiobook: Now in Color!

I am at a loss for words. The book and this series are excellent, but the narrator, the narrator is astonishingly good. It is like I would imagine switching from a black and white television to a top of the line HD TV overnight. Katherine Kellgren not only gives the character and the story life and a voice, she brings them color as well.

It is a clich?? I know, but I could listen to this woman read the phonebook. Thankfully Bloody Jack is not the phonebook, it is a nice little novel that, although classified as YA, has much to give for any audience.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Kat
  • ANNANDALE, NJ, United States
  • 12-05-08

An 18th Century High Seas Adventure!

I really enjoyed listening to Bloody Jack - it's a great story about Jacky Faber, an orphan who disguises herself as a boy to get aboard an 18th century sailing ship. The book is well written, exciting and engaging. There are a lot of characters, and the reader does a great job of giving them all their own voices.

I'd highly recommend this book for a listen with kids - it's entertaining for all ages.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful