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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.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
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.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful