Book 10 of the Bloody Jack Adventures
By L. A. Meyer
Available now from Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin)
It's hard to believe that BLOODY JACK was published ten years ago. When I picked it out from the library shelf because of the awesome pirate cover I had no idea what I was in for over the next decade. Mary "Jacky" Faber went from being a street urchin to traveling all around the world in various occupations.
VIVA JACQUELINA! finds Jacky sent to Portugal, then Spain, to once again spy for British Intelligence. She ends up modelling for Goya, tangling with the Spanish Inquisition, and traveling with a group of Roma. Meanwhile, her true love Jaimy Fletcher is again far away. He's in Burma, recovering from the events of THE MARK OF THE GOLDEN DRAGON.
Surprisingly, VIVA JACQUELINA! is welcoming to newcomers of the series. Jacky spends most of the book alone, so the large cast isn't a hindrance. That being said, I highly recommend beginning at BLOODY JACK and ready every book. There's no reason to miss out on any part of Jacky's adventures.
Those familiar with the series know the formula. Jacky gets herself into trouble, but manages to get out of it through cleverness, hard work, and a bit of luck. She flirts but stays loyal to Jaimy. Along the way, she charms or scandalizes everyone she meets as she cuts her swath through history. But the formula works because Jacky charms the reader as well.
All of the Bloody Jack Adventures are rollicking, fast-paced reads. VIVA JACQUELINA! is one of the slimmer entries, even at 368 pages. And it felt slighter than some of the others, possibly because Jacky is isolated from most of the characters who have been around for all ten novels. But it's good to have a breath of fresh air after the craziness that was THE MARK OF THE GOLDEN DRAGON.
VIVA JACQUELINA! will appeal to historical fiction fans, action fans, comedy fans, feminists, just about everybody I can think of. There's a reason Jacky has been around for ten years. Let's all give a big hand to L. A. Meyer for writing one of the greatest YA series around. Here's to ten more years with Bloody Jack!