Monday, June 6, 2016

My Lady Jane - Review

My Lady Jane

By: Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, & Brodi Ashton

Published: June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen

512 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Retelling

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

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Goodreads description--For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey.

Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.

Is there anyone not completely intrigued by the Tudors? Specifically Henry VIII, his wives, and children? I'm sure those people are out there somewhere, but I'm not one of them. Now don't get me wrong, I don't read everything I can get my hands on about the family, but I am intrigued. It definitely wasn't the "fans of The Princess Bride" part of the description that drew me in.

My Lady Jane is a different kind of book. It's authored by three popular authors. Considering the book is written from three different perspectives (Edward, Jane, and Gifford) I'm going to assume each author probably took a character. However, since I've not actually read any of these authors before (except Cynthia Hand several years back), I couldn't begin to guess who authored each character. The authors take a very active approach to the narration. They interject commentary and such throughout the book. Sometimes I found the commentary humorous and sometimes I was slightly annoyed with it (but not overly so). I did actually laugh out loud--once--while reading My Lady Jane and that is a feat so kudos for that.

I won't say I was blown away by the story of My Lady Jane or the changes that the authors made to the real story, but I will say that I read this one much faster than I've been reading other books lately (especially considering it was over 500 pages) because I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

So Jane Grey is the cousin to King Edward (son of Henry VIII). Edward has been diagnosed with an illness that will likely take his life. Because My Lady Jane has a magical aspect--shapeshifting--politics are a wee bit different than the real life events. Mary, Henry VIII's firstborn, is openly and adamantly against Edians. And I can't really remember why Edward thought Bess (Elizabeth) wouldn't make a good ruler, but it doesn't really matter. Edward, with the encouragement of Lord Dudley, decides that his cousin and best friend, Jane, will be the next in line for the crown should he succumb to his illness. Conveniently enough, Lord Dudley talks Edward into marrying Jane off to his youngest son, Gifford. Jane follows through for Edward's sake.

The relationship between Jane and Gifford quickly became my favorite part of My Lady Jane. It was easy to see that they each had the wrong idea about the other and if only they could end up getting on the same page then they would easily find each other much more agreeable. I liked how despite their rocky start, both Jane and Gifford honored their marriage by sticking beside the other even though there was no real bond there yet.

I hesitate to mention this now as I think I might want to do a discussion post about it in the future. But I find it somewhat annoying when cultural and historical events are thrown out for the sake of modern day. While it might not be accepted in today's culture, two people from an arranged marriage in the time period which this novel supposedly took place would have consummated their marriage if for no other reason than that's what's expected of them. Yet this rarely happens in arranged marriages no matter the time or culture in books written today. As I said, thoughts for a discussion post in the future.

Favorite quotes:

-It was a sad day when he yearned for a nice, tidy beheading.

-"I'm dead, Sire,"...

I'm sure there's much more to mention. I feel like I'm leaving much out of my review. There was humor and modern day references that didn't annoy me. There was romance. There was forbidden romance. Castles and kings. With a bit of magic that might turn off readers who don't enjoy fantasy but just made perfect sense for the changes in history that the authors made to the story. Overall, I think My Lady Jane gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read My Lady Jane? What did you think? Let me know!

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