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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
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