The series follows the adventures of Jacky Faber…sailer, soldier, pirate, fine lady, spy…oh, and Lily of the West. Among other things. Set around 1800, it all starts in Bloody Jack, when orphan Mary Faber decides that the way out of the gutter is to sign onto a Royal Navy ship as a Ship’s Boy. Obviously that second word presents complications, so Mary becomes Jacky and disguises herself as a boy.
Jacky is an incredibly fun character. She’s endlessly creative with her schemes and ideas, wildly emotive, rarely depressed no matter what life throws at her, fiercely loyal to her friends and endlessly ambitious to better her life and the lives of the people she cares about. She has dreams of creating a worldwide shipping industry, and despite usually being only one step ahead of a vast number of people chasing her, she also manages to keep chasing those dreams. Honestly, she’s like a cork–the world keeps trying to push her down, and she just keeps bobbing merrily up again.
Throughout the series, Jacky gathers a cast of equally memorable characters around her. A couple of favorites: there’s Higgins, who always maintains the exemplary dignity of a gentleman’s man servant, is enormously helpful faithfully following Jacky through all her adventures, and always makes sure that she keeps her hair at least moderately clean. And there’s Amy, a very proper young lady from Boston who is frequently shocked by Jacky but loves her like a sister anyway.
There’s also Jaimy, Jacky’s “own true love.” To be honest, I’ve never been all that impressed by him myself, but she seems to like him. I don’t dislike him, but (at the risk of a slight spoiler) they don’t spend a lot of time together and after the first few books I lose interest in their romance. It actually feels like Meyer keeps contriving ways to keep them apart (not emotionally, more often physically apart) as a way to keep the adventure going. While I approve entirely of keeping the adventure going, I wish he’d either just get them together and let them have adventures together, or break them up and move on.
However, that’s my one biggest criticism of the series. And it’s a wonderful series–funny, suspenseful, exciting. Jacky travels from England to America to Australia having a neverending series of mishaps and adventures. I like to read before going to bed, and I’ve had to stop doing that with some of these because they’re too exciting and it wasn’t relaxing!
Adventure after adventure, I keep turning the pages with usually the same question: how is Jacky going to get out of this one? After eight books, I don’t feel like the quality has dropped off–so I’ll keep reading to see how Jacky will escape from her latest entanglement.
Author’s Site: http://www.jackyfaber.com/