I was a little nervous about picking up Curse of the Blue Tattoo, the second Bloody Jack book, as it’s been well over a year since I’ve read the first. Luckily, I found that the book was very easy to pick up after so much time away. Jacky remains an incredibly likeable narrator, passionate and fearless, even though she can have appalling bad judgment at times. Although the nautical flare from the first story is mostly absent here, as someone that grew up pretty close to Boston, I found that I connected to this story very well. I really enjoyed picking up on the street names or landmarks that I have visited.
I have to admire L.A. Meyer for this one. Not only does he accurately capture a female voice, but does a great job commenting on women’s issues in the early 1800s. Throughout the book, we see Jacky, who has spent the last year masquerading as a boy, really struggle with the concept of being a lady. Sure, she takes to her studies well enough, but when it comes to issues like decorum, no matter how much she tries, it’s impossible to fit her into the mold that society expects of her. We see this struggle on a smaller scale with her friend Amy, who on the surface, appears to be the model of a fine young lady, but has a deep desire to learn on an academic level, publish her writing, and teach. I found Amy to be a very likable character, and really enjoyed watching her friendship with Jacky. In fact, I enjoyed all of the female friendships displayed in this book. I often feel as if novels often lack strong female friendships, discarding them for romantic plotlines or, my least favorite type of story, the two close friends that are torn apart by their love for one man. This is not a problem here at all. I was surprised to see that Curse of the Blue Tattoo is not completely free of romance, as Jacky spends the entire book separated from her Jaimy, but it makes sense that as she picks up male friends, and female friends, that eventually they would start to pair off. This is another aspect of the book I enjoyed.
Curse of the Blue Tattoo is a really fun book. It’s only drawback is that the ending feels a bit rushed, almost as if there were supposed to be one more chapter that we’re missing. This flaw feels trivial compared to the fun that is the rest of the book. Jacky provides a real unique viewpoint on Boston, not just due to her background as an orphan and Ship’s Boy, but even due to the fact that she’s English, as has entered a country that has recently freed itself from English law. I will be picking up the rest of the books in this series. Only this time I won’t wait as long to pick up the next volume!
Rating: four and a half stars
Length: 488 pages
Source: borrowed from a friend
Challenge: This book is 2010 Young Adult Challenge and Read the World
Similar Books: This book is recommended to fans of Ann Rinaldi (especially Girl in Blue), Celia Rees (especially Pirates!) and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI.
Other books I've read by this author: Bloody Jack
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