This is Book Two. Click here for the Bradt Cousins' review of Book One.
Stephanie Bradt: Ah, CURSE OF THE BLUE TATTOO. From what I can remember, I thoroughly enjoyed this book until the end. At that point, I said, "huh?"
I loved this story as a follow-up to the first novel. Jacky gets off the ship, where she basically grew up as a young man, and ends up at a snooty finishing school for girls in Boston. It seems like this kind of story is told all the time, but it never seems to get old. The boorish Jacky Faber trying to act like a lady was very entertaining to read about. At the school, we meet a bunch of new characters, most of whom, I was happy to learn, make appearances in other books throughout the series.
Unfortunately, this book was also the beginning of the two main problems I have with this series: the seeming lack of theme/point/direction and the fact that Jacky officially becomes one of my least favorite characters:
First of all, I enjoyed this book until the last 50-100 pages or so, when I realized upon finishing that none of the first few hundred pages really did anything to lead up to what happened at the end. There is one particular storyline that is completely random that I have yet to see have anything to do with the rest of the series. Again, at least the book introduces interesting characters that make return appearances later on in the series. While I enjoyed reading this book, the ending left me feeling kind of empty and confused...and not in the good, "author-meant-to-do-it" way. More like the "WTF? oookkkkayyy" way. Regardless of what was intended, to me, the end of the book seemed kind of forced and rushed. It is the beginning of the Meyer's somewhat frequent use of "deus ex machina." At least that is the phrase that comes to my mind.
Then there is Jacky. When she is not whining about something, she is being promiscuous. You can also tell that each book will introduce (at least) one more side to an ever-growing love triangle. While I guess I find Jacky's promiscuity entertaining, that, and her incessant whining, make me not like her very much. It is kind of funny that people keep bugging her asking about her "virtue" and "innocence" and "maidenhood."
The strange thing is that I cannot really complain about either of these items since I still find Jacky's life to be outrageously entertaining. This book also introduces a couple of my favorite characters and, for the first time, takes place in a newly independent America. Jacky's life is slightly over-the-top and bizarre, but I guess that is the point. The book's lack of direction may never win it the Pulitzer Prize, but I can tell that L. A. Meyer has fun writing, so I'll just continue to have fun reading.
This book's featured side in Jacky’s love dodecagon: The highly obnoxious Randall Trevelyne
My favorite new character: Amy Trevelyne and Ezra Pickering
Jordan Bradt: I loved BLOODY JACK and upon completion, I could not wait to grab book 2 in the exciting pirate series. (I’m still obsessed with pirates, and I even bought some pirate knitting patterns to make me feel more like Jacky, but back to the book…) The second book in the Bloody Jack series is not as great as the first. I still enjoyed it, but it just did not have that wow factor.
CURSE OF THE BLUE TATTOO involves Jacky’s life at the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls. Since I read this book years ago (it had just come out in paperback), I don’t remember everything, so let me list the things I do remember:
1) Jacky isn’t very pleased with the school because she feels confined.
2) Jacky plays music at the wharf/docks/whatever.
3) Jacky makes new friends, especially this girl named Amy, and some of her old friends are mentioned.
4) Something happens at a church on the grounds.
5) Jacky has to work at the school, reminding me of A LITTLE PRINCESS.
6) Stuff happens.
7) There is a Reverend Mather. At the time, I didn’t know this, but I am related to the Mathers in Boston, so VERY COOL!
8) Other stuff happens.
This book seemed to consist of many, many different subplots all rolled into one. I still love the book and adore the series. I have a strong affection in my heart for historical novels, and especially ones about pirates (for reference to that, see my comment about pirate knits).