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Friday, September 09, 2011

Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Treasure Times Two

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: Although this review will not contain spoilers for Curse of the Blue Tattoo, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Remember this review, in which I gushed incessantly about Bloody Jack, the first book in L.A. Meyer's swashbuckling series starring plucky orphan girl "Jacky" Faber? Well, I hope you're ready for another cascade of ooey-gooey book love, because here it comes ...

Curse of the Blue Tattoo, the second book in the series, finds our saucy sailor girl run aground in Boston, Massachusetts. As much as she longs to stay on board the HMS Dolphin, she can't. Females on a ship bring bad luck, as every sailor knows, and a Royal Navy vessel's hardly the "appropriate" place for a young lady. The captain's given Jacky a new assignment, her most daunting yet - she's to refine her boorish ways at the exclusive Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls. Jacky wants no part of what's sure to be an insufferable snob fest, but she's willing to try. Especially since she aims to become the wife of a Naval officer, specifically her one true love, Jaimy Fletcher.

Jacky's no ninny. She's got battle scars, a blue anchor tattoo, even a Naval commision (revoked though it may now be) to prove her bravery. But none of that matters here in the plush world of high society, where Jacky's coarse manners quickly turn her into an outrageous spectacle, a laughingstock. Never before has such a lowborn heathen darkened the gleaming doorways of the school and the snooty Peabody girls aren't about to let Jacky forget it. Not one to duck a challenge, Jacky vows to learn how to "fight like a lady." But no matter how many curtsies she performs, no matter how many French verbs she conjugates, no matter how many pillows she embrodiers, some of the salty sailor maid remains. There's nothing for it then; the redoubtable Jacky Faber will have to fight her battles the same way she always has - her way.

Few sequels manage to surpass or even equal their predecessors the way Curse of the Blue Tattoo does. The book's success is mostly due to the return of the irrepresible Jacky Faber, whose voice rings so true it's impossible not to respond to its siren call, but it's also because Meyer keeps the action going, finding ever new and original scrapes into which young Jacky might fall. Our heroine keeps herself busy getting into said scrapes, ensuring that, above all, her adventures always provide a rollicking good read. It's not just the action, either, that makes these books so memorable. It's everything: vivid prose, colorful characters, playful dialogue and, above all, pitch-perfect tone/voice. Need I say more? I thought not.

(Readalikes: Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer and other books in the series)

Grade: A

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for language (no F-bombs), sexual innuendo/content, and violence

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find


  1. I really think I need to pick up this series. I keep hearing great things about them!

  2. I really LOVED book one -read it when it first came out -- and never read any more! You have made me want to add the rest of these to my list! Great review. Thanks.


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