Book Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

Title: My Lady Jane
Series: The Lady Janies, #1
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication date: June 7, 2016
Length: 512 pages
Genre: Young adult
Source: Purchased
Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads? 

I’ve always been fascinated by the sad story of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen — the young woman used as a political pawn following the death of King Edward VI. Put in place as queen despite not actually being next in line to the throne, her brief reign ended with Queen Mary seizing the throne, and shortly thereafter, both Lady Jane and her husband were beheaded.

But good news! In My Lady Jane, her story is revised, rewritten, and turned into an absolutely, adorably engaging romp. Heads DON’T roll in this version of the story. #justiceforjane

In the England of My Lady Jane, the political landscape is divided between Eðians (those who can assume an animal form) and Verities (those who can’t). Verities have persecuted Eðians for years, and the return of Mary to power signals a return of the terror of burnings and purges. King Henry VIII very famously became an Eðian when he turned into a lion in a fit of rage, but Edward doesn’t think he’s an Eðian… or is he?

Meanwhile, Jane — a girl who would rather read a book than do just about anything — is forced into marriage with a boy she doesn’t know, all as a means of securing political power for his father. There’s the inconvenient fact that Gifford (G) is an Eðian who turns into a horse by day… but that’s only one of the many obstacles facing the newlyweds.

Sound silly? You betcha. But SO much fun, and the writing is truly a delight. Here’s a sampling of some favorite passages and conversation. See for yourselves how adorable this is!

Wife #3 (Edward’s mother) had done everything right; namely, she’d produced a child with the correct genitalia to be a future ruler of England, and then, because she was never one to stick around to gloat, she’d promptly died.

So. Her husband-to-be was a philanderer. A smooth operator. A debaucher. A rake. A frisker. (Jane became something of a walking thesaurus when she was upset, a side effect of too much reading.)

“Was that a horse joke?”

“Neigh.”

“Was that a horse joke?”

“You have hay in your hair.”

He smoothed his hand over his hair before he caught her smile. “No horse jokes.”

“Never! But I wanted to ask: are you catching a chill? You sound hoarse.”

At this point, G realized he’d just asked a ferret what the dog said.

“Right. As I was saying, bears are always hungry. Try not to act like food.”

“How does one act like food?”

“…And Bess can stay with Jane to make sure she doesn’t ferret her way out of that cage.”

“Can you use ferret as a verb?” G asked.

She shrugged. “You can now.”

“Right,” G said slowly. He picked up his sword. “We are off, then?”

“Without hesitation,” Edward said.

And for a few moments, they hesitated.

Then they were off.

“Armies aren’t very good about carrying libraries with them. I can’t imagine why. We’d fight so much less if everyone would just sit down and read.”

As if on cue (or maybe a bit late on his cue), a kestrel flew through the window. “Edward!” At least, she hoped the bird was Edward. It’d be embarrassing to just start talking with a strange bird.

I loved this book, start to finish. I have the next two Lady Janies on my Kindle already, but I’ve saving them for when I feel like I need a reading treat. The next two are:

And after that, there are a couple of Mary books… so I have plenty to look forward to!

Shelf Control #298: Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: Passing Strange
Author: Ellen Klages
Published: 2017
Length: 131 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet.

Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where mystery, science, and art intersect.

How and when I got it:

I bought the Kindle edition in 2018.

Why I want to read it:

I’d almost forgotten about this one! Luckily, I happened to be skimming through the books in my Kindle library and saw it there.

This is a novella published by Tor — and I tend to really like their selection of novellas. Always something new and different to enjoy!

I can’t quite get a grasp on what this story will turn out to be based on the synopsis — but appealing aspects include a) San Francisco b) 1940s setting and c) some sort of fantasy/magic element. I’m ready to be surprised, and look forward to reading it!

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!