Friday, February 10, 2017

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

Title: My Lady Jane
Written by: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Published: June 7, 2016 by HarperTeen
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.
I have heard nothing but good things about this book and it's totally something up my alley so I was really excited to finally read it this month when I saw it was my book club book this month. There was a lot of hype surrounding this and while I enjoyed it, I think the hype got the best of me again.

For one thing this is a very strange book. It is not your standard historical fiction. Now it does have elements of historical fiction. It does take place in a historical setting, the Tudor Court of the 1550's in England. I'm definitely a fan of this setting. I think there is a general fascination with the time period and it makes sense. There was a lot of political intrigue, court politics, and scheming. This particular incident, the ascension of Lady Jane Grey, is a very good example. I was very excited to dive into the history of it to learn more but that honestly didn't last long. I knew going in that there were going to not stick to closely to the actual history but to be honest I was a little annoyed by how little they did. It ended up righting itself a bit in the end but as someone who loves historical fiction I kind of wanted more history. If you are like me, go into this story knowing that what you think happens is not going to happen and then you will enjoy it much more.

But as I said, I knew I was getting historical fantasy so there was going to be fantastical elements. And I did like this element of the story. It was weird, don't get me wrong, it was very weird, but it was fun. It gave the book an interesting twist. I know a lot of people said this book is funny and full of laughs but I didn't necessarily get that. I think more than that, it's silly. It's a lighthearted romp with characters who can turn into animals and that leads to all kinds of hijinx. But from a fantasy standpoint I think the world was interesting and engaging. It had clear rules which all good magical systems do and it definitely felt unique and interesting. If this was set in it's own kingdom and world I think I would have been all about it.

And I did also really like the plot here. It definitely hooked me on the political and court politics aspects. I'm all about scheming to take the throne and the consequences of that. I'm also all about characters trying to take back their thrones. From a plot standpoint it was definitely engaging. Not to mention that it built to an exciting ending that kept me guessing. This was an aspect where I kind of liked that they threw the history out the window. Now sure, there could have been plenty of excitement with aftermath of Lady Jane's ascension and death (spoiler alert: IRL all the main characters die), but I really liked the direction they took this in. It had action, it had adventure, it had surprises. It was fun. There were some parts that I didn't care about but in general it was really engaging.

However, the thing that fell the most flat for me though was the characters. Maybe I was holding them at arms length because I went into this expecting all of them to die in the end, but I just never really connected with the characters. This is a book that changes perspectives with every chapter so we see the story from a bunch of different sides. That can be hit or miss for me and I think here it didn't work as well. I don't think I ever really connected with the characters because we kept seeing them from the other character's eyes. Jane was probably the most likable of the three. We are meant to enjoy Jane and her feminist tendencies and it worked. She was plucky and dedicated to those she cares about which I liked. G just didn't impress me, he just felt a little generic. But the character that I liked the least was Edward. He just fell so flat for me. The character I liked the most was actually Mary Queen of Scots. She was in the book for a total of like 20 pages and I found her fascinating. I want a Mary Queen of Scots prequel or sequel. She was great. But for the most part I wanted more from the characters.

On the whole, this was an enjoyable read. It is a fast and fun historical fantasy with an interesting setting, a thrilling plot, and a unique fantasy world. But if you are looking for a good historical fiction novel you will need to look elsewhere.

I give My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Asthon, and Jodi Meadows 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you are looking for something fun and silly to weird then check this out. It'd make a great palatte cleanser especially if you tend to read a lot of fantasy and want to read something similar but different or if you read contemporary and want something light and more on the fantasy side. But if you're looking for something historical this is not the book for you.

Have you read My Lady Jane? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I've heard a lot of the hype, too. I got the ebook when it was on sale, so I'm hoping to read it soon. I don't think I'll mind it being a little weird, especially since I know that going in. If I wasn't expecting it, it might turn me off. Ha ha.

    1. I wasn't particularly aware of what was going to happen and it was definitely weird. Although I think the not sticking to the history was weirder than the fantasy elements. But I hope you like it.

  2. YES to all of this. I don't think I liked it as much as you, but I did think it was fun. If it was a total made up kingdom and the LESSONS weren't being pushed so hard (and people didn't tell me it was funny when I didn't really find it FUNNY funny), I think I would have loved this. Hype got me too since I didn't see one single bad review for this one.

    1. I definitely liked it more than you but as we said at book club, it was a book meant for me not a book meant for you. I should have loved it. Although I do agree, seriously all the reviews for this were amazing and the hype was extreme.