on 13 October 2010
I was lucky to come across the Cat Royal Series when all the five books were already out, thus I was able to read them all in quick succession. The Black Heart of Jamaica did not disappoint and indeed exceeded expectations which were quite high by the fifth book. Julia Golding's prose is a delight - you can immediately tell an English graduate and, with relief, a writer who can actually write. Every reader is familiar with those toe-curling moments when we come across a passage or a phrase so awkwardly formed that we groan inwardly, "Someone edit this, please!", but Golding does not put a foot wrong.
The plot does not let up for a nanosecond and yet manages to maintain the historic novel's character and to stay within bounds of believability. The historic facts are so cleverly interwoven into the plot and characters that even the most history-hating boy readers will remain unaware of being taught a history lesson. The character development continues with unexpected turns and added depth, especially that of Cat's arch-enemy Billy Shepherd who is by no means as one-dimensional uber-villain as could have been expected...And Cat herself is as delightful as ever. Again we are able to trust the writer to stay true to the earlier laid foundations of this character and yet Cat is growing up and maturing whilst still managing to surprise us with her fiery, selfless and self-deprecating nature. In this adventure she finally finds her talent as an actress, unfortunately not for long as trouble finds her yet again and Cat is abducted, imprisoned, taken gravely ill, close to death... But it's Cat Royal we are talking about - she is not going to be defeated! This is a fabulous book worthy of best-loved children's classics - enjoy!
on 27 August 2008
This has to be the best Cat Royal book so far. Set in the Caribbean, Cat travels on a pirate ship,makes her acting debut and encounters an old enemy!
The book is fast-paced and exciting-my only complaint is that it had to end!
For people who have not read the previous books,it might get a bit confusing as many of the charactors from the previous books show up so I would suggest starting with The Diamond of Drury Lane.
Overall Black Heart of Jamaica was excellent, worth reading and rereading!
on 8 January 2009
Having read all four other Cat Royal books, I have been waiting with bated breath for 'Black Heart of Jamaica' to arrive. When it did, I demolished it in three-and-a-half hours of almost non-stop reading. it was, literally, unputdownable.
Julia Golding has provided that elusive, piratical, desert island, historical fiction that we all have a vague idea exists, but can never quite find. A pirate tale, in a way, it may be, but it is also a historical novel with sound basis in fact (though it is by no means lacking in fun because of this!) and a somewhat educational tale of slavery in the West Indies during Georgian times. But don't let that dissuade you if you aren't the most scholarly of people - feisty heroine Cat Royal has swashbuckling adventure (though, despite what the blurb seems to suggest, piratical adventures only form about 50 of the books 383+ pages), making many witty remarks along the way, and meeting with just the right amount of emotional trouble, too. We hear more from Billy Shepherd (in a rather surprising way), and the books ending is (!!!!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!) sad but sweet (!!!!!!!SPOILER OVER!!!!!!!).
All in all, a gem of a book, quite possibly Julia Golding's best yet (as far as the Cat Royal books go), but it may be advisable to read the first four before you read this one, if you are new to Cat's adventures.
on 24 September 2009
This is the 5th Cat Royal adventure so far. You don't really need to have read the others to enjoy this as you are given enough background to appreciate Cat's adventurous spirit and her experiences so far. I picked this up on impulse and haven't read any of the others, but I'll keep a lookout for them from now on.
Brilliantly written, there's great pace to Cat's Jamaica story. Cat's had a theatre background (Drury Lane, London) and in Black Heart of Jamaica she joins a travelling theatre in Philadelphia headed for the Caribbean islands. Cat's realised that to make her way in the world she needs a respectable career and acting is what appeals to her most. Jamaica and the other islands are under threat of slave rebellion however, (something Cat supports wholeheartedly) and the Caribbean turns out to be the perfect place for the adventurous Cat to be headed.... Never a dull moment when Cat's about...
A rip-roaring unputdownable read, this book also teaches about the history of slavery in America and the wrongs of race discrimination.
The earlier Cat Royal Books are:
The Diamond of Drury Lane - Cat in London
Cat Among the Pigeons - Cat goes to school
Den of Thieves - Cat in Paris (revolutionary France)
Cat O'Nine Tails - Cat at sea