Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Me on My Lady Jane

Title: My Lady Jane
Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)

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.

My Lady Jane is inventive, complicated, and hilarious. A tense and deadly period of time in England's history has been turned on its head, filled with shapeshifters, treacherous plots, and a surprising equine-related marriage.

It's rather difficult for me to describe this book, to put my thoughts and feelings about it in order. Yes, these people did exist. Yes, Edward died and Jane was made Queen of England for nine days before minds were changed and Jane was locked away while Mary, and later on Elizabeth, served as queen. That's really as far as historical accuracy goes. What follows, what makes up the bulk of this book, are wild and impossible imaginings told by modern-day narrators (considering the occasional usage of we, you, and Jimi Hendrix).

Because of the twisting and the altering of history, the reader sees different version of these characters. Here we see Jane, bookish and stubborn, smart and compassionate. Looking for someone who actually cares about her and not themselves or their social status. We see G, moping and annoyed at his current situation. Unsure what he wants out of life beyond not turning into his father. And we see Edward, wanting to live his life before wasting away. Wanting the chance to live, to experience the world, before its ripped from his hands by duty or death. Or both.  It's like we're given better versions of them, versions that wouldn't have existed back in the 16th century. Like they're historical version of modern teens.

I found this book funny, intriguing, and I kept reading in order to see how things played out after historical accuracy was mostly cast aside. Knowing the authors were drawing from actual events that would change the course of England's future, I wanted to know how they would change things. How they would bring in fantasy elements. How they would work in the looming religious war that was about to take hold of England for decades. If Lady Jane would still lose her head as she does in the history books. A little slow in some spots, brought on by a fair amount of internal pondering by the main characters, but still fun to read. I'd recommend this to readers who don't mind a little poking fun and rearranging of history coupled with stubborn characters and complicated magic.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title to review from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

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