My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
This book was splendid! What a fun story. I can see why people are recommending it if you liked The Princess Bride (which I loved, by the way). This is an alternate telling of the story of Lady Jane Grey, who became Queen of England for nine days.
This book is told from three people's POVs - King Edward's, Lady Jane's, and Lord Gifford's (call him G). Edward is the teenage king of England, and he's also dying at the moment. So he names his cousin and closest friend Jane his heir, and he also mandates Jane's marriage to Gifford Dudley, second son of Lord Dudley, a powerful duke and adviser to the king. Book-loving Jane has no interest in marrying anyone, especially not a man who can never be found during the day, and is quite popular with the ladies at night (so the rumors say). And G - he doesn't really want to be married either, and his late-night adventures aren't what they seem. But Jane and G find themselves married to each other, and even crazier, they find out that they are pawns in a plot to make Jane the Queen of England. Even worse, there is someone else after Edward's throne...
This story was so funny and enjoyable! I think that is one thing that really sticks out to be, and was really well written - the humor. The book is well over five hundred pages long, but it never felt that long. Some of this is due to the fabulous humor in the book!
I liked G the most, of our three protagonists. G is an Edian, which is a human who can turn into a specific animal. G can turn into a horse, and unfortunately he cannot control the change, and he changes at dawn every day, and back to human again at dusk. G is a second son of a duke, and the duke and duchess have never treated G like a son. It's not wonder he loves being a horse, and enjoys running free while the sun shines. In any case, I liked G. He is patient and charming and sweet, and protective too (which I loved, but Jane wasn't always a fan).
Jane is truly a bookworm. Her nose is stuck in a book all the time, in the beginning of the book. She hates G as a principle and only marries him because it's Edward's wishes (he's dying and he's the king, so...). Jane can be pig-headed and silly sometimes, but she's also brave and fearless and bold. A little too bold, for this time period, but creative license and all that.
In fact, this whole tale is much too modern to really be historical, with all the modern slang. But it's a retelling of a practically medieval time in English history. There is no doubt that the authors did their research on this time period, even with this story reading so modernly.
So our last protagonist, Edward. Edward is the dying king, who has never kissed a girl and barely rules as king. While Jane and G get married and are trying not to kill each other, Edward is busy trying to stay alive. But he finds out that he's being poisoned, and he barely escapes the palace. Edward's journey to getting back to the palace changes him, and he matures a great deal as the story goes on.
In fact, all of our protagonists grow and mature. I was pretty pleased with Edward's character growth, but also Jane's. Jane could be pretty immature, in the earlier parts of the book. G... G had to grow up too, and face the responsibilities of being a duke's son, as well as a husband. Basically not just a horse anymore - in fact, he must learn how not to be a horse.
I loved watching G and Jane fall for each other! It's a hate-to-love relationship, and an arranged marriage. I actually really like both of these romance tropes, and they worked well inn this story. The authors never made it easy for the pair, but they found their way. There is also a second (separate) couple in the book. Yes, Edward finds someone he might be able to kiss! Anyway, I should mention that there was no love triangle, and the romances were pretty drama-free.
I loved how this book was not just the story of a newly married couple finding their way, or a king trying to take back his throne. G and Jane and Edward team up with some new friends to help Edward come up with a plan to take back his kingdom. The whole journey is filled with speed bumps and obstacles that are pretty funny, very reminiscent of The Princess Bride. There is a whole political aspect, between the Verities (people who think pure-blood humans are superior) and the Edians, and it greatly affects Edward's journey to reclaiming the throne.
If you think G is the only Edian in the story, think again. There are Edians everywhere! People who you least expect...
Overall, I really liked this book! I'd not read anything by Hand or Ashton before, but I love Meadows' The Orphan Queen duology. This standalone is pretty darn awesome!
What I Did Not Like:
Like I mentioned above, Jane was kind of annoying at times, especially in the beginning of the book. A little bratty, slightly stuck-up. But then, I feel like I understand her, and her position. Still, she could have been much less mean to G!
Would I Recommend It:
If you liked The Princess Bride, or YA historical fiction novels in general, this is a good for you! Also, people who like slow-burn, hate-to-love relationships. Also, HILARIOUS stories.
4 stars. I had a feeling that I would enjoy this book, and I did! I would if this trio of authors will write more alternate history stories... that would be fun!
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