Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review: Mark of the Golden Dragon by L.A. Meyer

The Mark of the Golden Dragon: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Jewel of the East, Vexation of the West, and Pearl of the South China Sea (Bloody Jack Adventures)by L.A Meyer is the spirited and entertaining ninth installment in the epic story of Mary “Jacky” Faber, taking readers on an adventure through the South China Sea from Rangoon to London. There is high hilarity and scandalous scheming on land and sea as only Jacky can manage, making the book fun to read; however, the story takes an ominous turn that will keep readers turning the pages to find out what happens next.
The story opens with Jacky seated in her cabin aboard the Lorelei Lee with Jaimy, Higgins, and other loyal friends and crew celebrating their recent escape from the penal colony in New South Wales. Suddenly the wind and waves pick up as a typhoon moves in. It’s all hands on deck. The treacherous storm pummels the ships, and the mast of the Lorelei Lee is severed. Jacky becomes entangled in the lines, and pulled overboard into the roiling sea...
Jacky survives against the odds like I knew she would--bobbing up like a cork-- but finds herself washed ashore in a strange land desperate to get back to her loved ones and clear their names of crimes against the crown. And here the new adventure begins! You won't find any spoilers here, but Jacky meets some new and important people, one that's deeply satisfying and made me cheer for the scared little orphan girl that still exists deep within our heroine, while also running into some old enemies in some very gratifying ways. Awesome sauce!
I really enjoyed Mark of the Golden Dragon, and its a must read for fans of the series. Meyer does a great job with the series, and with each new book the characters continue to develop and grow and change.
Kudos for the tale he’s telling. It’s not a story focused around a single event or conflict that can be quickly resolved, but the story of an orphaned girl’s life as she makes her way in the world during the early nineteenth century. With paranormal romance being all the rage these days, it’s refreshing to take a break from the supernatural and read historical fiction, especially a series with such a fun-loving, spirited, and unpredictable protagonist as Jacky Faber.
Although written from Jacky’s perspective—often upbeat and witty—this story is just as much Jaimy Fletcher's as Jacky's. Meyer uses letters written by Jaimy as a tool to give readers a glimpse into his anguished mind after Jacky's presumed death. He's tortured by all the wrongs done to them in the past and vengeance coils inside of him, dark and sinister.
The only issue I had with the story was Jaimy Fletcher's limited point of view. In The Wake of the Lorelei Lee, Meyer expounded on Jaimy's point of view to give us the full impact of the brutal treatment he suffered at the hands of the guards aboard the Cerberus, and his eventual mutiny of the ship. It would have added more to Mark of the Dragon if he'd done the same, giving readers the chance to experience Jaimy's decent into madness. Jaimy has become such an interesting, dynamic character that I'm almost sorry the story is told from Jacky's limited point of view.
So is this the book where Jacky and Jaimy finally get their happily ever after? It’s safe to say without spoileriness that they don’t. The more I read, the more unpredictable this aspect of the series becomes. Jacky and Jaimy fell in love when they were very young, around nine or ten years old. How many puppy love romances like theirs actually survive the changes of growing up? Is their love strong enough to withstand all they've gone through?
Also, Jacky is a flirtatious young woman that loves to be the center of attention, and admits that she has feelings for Joseph Jared (the salty sailor that nicknamed her Puss-n-boots) and the suave and sophisticated Richard Allen. Jaimy, although he loves Jacky, has had his share of sexy business with Clementine by the river and in the hayloft. Tsk, tsk, you rascal!
How will this romance end? Meyer isn't giving us any clues, and in Mark of the Golden Dragon, he shows us that matters of the heart are never simple.
Mark of the Dragon is another fun addition to the Bloody Jack Adventures. If you haven't started the series, what's stopping you? Sail the seas, buckle some swash, and fall in love!
Addendum: LA Meyer agreed to an interview, plus I know something you don't know-na na--well, maybe you do know, but he actually told me this himself last summer while I was in Maine so I'm really rather excited about it, and relieved, and curious and frustrated (the man can really keep a secret) but all of this will be posted near the release date of Mark of the Golden Dragon
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Thanks for the feedback. Be well, and happy reading!

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