I first started reading the Bloody Jack series starring Jacky Faber in 2006. I like adventurous historical novels (these are set during the Napoleonic Wars) so I thought I'd give them a try. After reading the first book, Bloody Jack, I was totally in love with Jacky, her brotherhood of ships boys, and all the men on the HMS Dolphin (well, all the good ones). Throughout the seven books currently about Jacky, she has been a ships boy, midshipman, pirate, fine lady, Mississippi flatboat owner, spy, and treasure hunter.
Jacky starts out as little Mary Faber, a street-urchin and orphan living on the streets of London with her gang headed by a chap named Rooster Charlie. Mary, being the smartest of the lot as the only one who can read, helps the group make money by begging or reading out newspapers to the poor for a few coins. When Rooster Charlie is unexpectedly killed in a fight, Mary's gang finds themselves in danger. To keep the other little orphans safe, Mary moves her gang in with another trusted gang and decides to head out to the docks and seek adventure. She disguises herself as a boy, takes the name Jacky and gets chosen to be a ships boy for the HMS Dolphin. While on the ship she learns much about leadership, ships, music, and more. But mainly she learns to live in secret and disguise. How can she keep this up on a small vessel, with every day her looking more like a woman and less like a little boy?
And so begins the adventurous and hysterical life of Jacky Faber. If you enjoy the cheek of Georgia Nicholson or the adventurous nature of Robin Hood or the tough-on-the-outside-sweet-on-the-inside Katniss Everdeen, then try L.A. Meyer's Bloody Jack series. You will not regret it.
**On a side note, I have also listened to the audiobook of first book in the Bloody Jack series and it is phenomenal. The narrator, Katherine Kellgren, has won multiple prestigious awards for her narration of the second Bloody Jack Novel, The Curse of the Blue Tattoo. I highly recommend listening to this series!