Friday, November 2, 2012


This is Book Ten. Click here for the Bradt Cousins' review of Book One.

Stephanie Bradt: Well here it is, the next chapter in the saga of Jacky Faber. While reading VIVA JACQUELINA, I decided to pay special attention to try to figure out exactly what pisses me off about the Bloody Jack series, and perhaps more importantly, why the hell I keep reading these books in spite of being pissed off. Alas, here are my findings:

First of all: a summary. (I cannot say “plot” summary because that is precisely what these books lack). Anyway, basically Jacky ends up in Spain as a spy for England as the fight against Napoleon drags on. Napoleon’s brother, Joseph, has been crowned King of Spain and naturally, the locals are pissed. In the meantime, Jacky runs with the bulls, models for Goya (of course), and gets caught up in the Inquisition. She also hangs out with some gypsies.

Things that irk me:

-L.A. Meyer always has Jacky refer to her various body parts in the third person; ie. “the Faber bottom,” “the Faber neck,” “the Faber eyebrows,” etc. I should have kept track of them. I know I counted at least 5 different phrases like this. It is stupid and annoying and it gets old.

-THE STORY NEVER GOES ANYWHERE! STILL! There are like 15 different pointless little novellas in each book, and this one is no different. So many things happen that are never addressed again. When reading, the entire time I am asking myself in the back of my mind if this is the part of the story that is actually going to have a point this time. It never does. Characters come and go and no one is connected to anyone. I realize this is also why I find it difficult to pick up and read the book again after taking a break—I have to refresh my memory as to what is going on in the story, which is difficult to do when there is no story of which to speak.

-Once again, the predictable “plot” point from every book: All human beings with a Y chromosome go bat-shit crazy over Jacky and cannot control their manly urges. I don’t know what annoys me more about this—that I doubt that Jacky is that hot, or that virtually every male character in Meyer’s books is either a horny pig, a dumbass, or both.

-L.A. Meyer never ceases to amaze me with what he can get away with writing in these books. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I enjoy them. However, I will keep this in the “Don’t-Like” category for one reason: Not only is VIVA JACQUELINA, like, the fourth book of the series to mention Jacky’s “maidenhair,” but the Faber Maidenhair actually plays a fairly significant role in one of the storylines! Ew! Mr. Meyer, I do not care to know about Jacky’s maidenhair! WTF?!

Here is why I think I still read these books in spite of all the bullshit: 

-Like I stated before, the books contain these non-YA themes that I enjoy, but then I hypocritically complain about. (But no, the maidenhair-- I have never enjoyed that).

-I just really like all of the historical references. I also realize that this is the reason there is no plot—Meyer arbitrarily places Jacky in various non-related situations just so that she can meet famous people such as Goya and King Joseph Bonaparte. The history major in me rejoices at this. I really do learn from these books and some things even stir my interest and I go look online to learn more. POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT: Let’s just say that Goya’s real life distinction of being the first artist to depict pubic hair in a Western portrait is not a coincidence. You’ve been warned.

This book's featured side in Jacky’s love dodecagon: Amadeo, a Spanish kid and fellow student of Goya.
My favorite new character: Ugh, do I have to choose? What if I hate/am indifferent toward them all? Alas, I will have to go with Cesar. In typical L. A. Meyer fashion, Cesar is a young adolescent who beside himself with his hormonally-charged pining for Jacky Faber. He passes out when he gets a glimpse of our heroine in the buff.