Title: The Mark of the Golden Dragon (Book 9 in Bloody Jack)
Author: L. A. Meyer
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: October 1, 2011
The irrepressible Jacky Faber, condemned for life to the English penal colony in Australia from crimes against the Crown, has once again wriggled out of the grasp of British authorities. Life is good back on her flagship, the Lorelei Lee, and she eagerly heads back to England in the company of friends and her beloved Jaimy Fletcher.
But the pleasant voyage is waylaid when Jacky is swept overboard in a raging storm. After days of searching for her, her crew is forced to accept that Jacky has finally met her end, and they sail home in sorrow. However, Jacky has a knack for bobbing back up from impossible situations – and that she does, finding herself marooned on a desolate beach, where she used her trademark ingenuity and cunning to make her way to the bustling port of Rangoon.
Cast into danger and intrigue from the South China Sea to the equally treacherous waters of London politics, Jacky wields all of her charms and connections in an attempt to preserve her freedom and saver her own dear Jaimy from the madness that befell him upon news of her death. But will Jacky’s impulsive nature finally be the end of them both?
Again, I have been awed and amazed at the diversity, complexity, and vividness of L. A. Meyer’s books. He has made the Jacky’s world and adventures come to life from Britain and Australia to France to America in the 19th century, but now he has taken on a whole new world in rural islands in the Indian Ocean. It is truly amazing how detailed the life, dress, and experiences that Jacky has mirror real life, or what people think of real life there from what they’ve learned in school or heard from people who’ve visited there.
The characters also made me really happy with Meyer. Ravi continued to be a presence in Jacky’s adventures, and he continues to be my favorite character other than Jacky. The way he has adopted her and looks out for her is just so gosh-darned cute. It really is a special relationship, and quite touching. It’s funny, too! His constant demotions of karma, from “happy puppy” to “garden slug”, and his banter with Jacky livens up the story and continues to build upon the cultural aspect of the book. Plus, there’s one moment with Captain Richard Allen, Jacky, Ravi, and a kite that made me tear up. Oh, and the very end made me cry, too, because of Ravi. So, yes, basically I love him. He really made this book what it is, despite the fact that Jacky is the main character.
New characters like Chopstick Charlie and Sidrah were interesting too. Jacky has a way of wiggling herself into troublesome areas, but winning over the affections of the people causing her trouble. Well, most of the time. And the way she adds to her contacts is incredible, really, especially considering that many of them either wanted to kill her or considered it at sometime or another. Chops is no exception, although she wriggles her way in deeper than she usually does, endearing herself to Charlie in multiple ways. For being an orphan, she has an amazing, and large, family.
And then there’s Jaimy, and all that drama. Seriously, if he had just had faith in Jacky, like so many others among her friends, then they would have been saved a lot of drama and effort. As much as I like Jacky and Jaimy together, they need to get together already! It adds a lot of good suspense and excitement, but in this book it just angered me because of the way Jaimy acted. I’m glad that he’s getting the care he needs, though, and I had better like him in the next book!
Trust me, you want to read this series. It really doesn’t matter how old you are – I’m sure that my parents would enjoy it, too. As long as you have a sense of humor and adventure, you’ll be laughing and enjoying Jacky’s travels and misadventures from book 1 to the most recent! Stay tuned for my review of the next book, Viva Jacquelina!.
**Note: I do not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 13 due to some violence, profanity, and sexual references.