Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodie Ashton & Jodi Matthews
Star Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5, rounded down)
Page count: 512 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Satire
Format I read it in: Kindle Book
Series: The Lady Janies #1
Although this book is technically part of a series, each book is written as a standalone
Why I Picked it Up
This book was very popular when it was published and has had a consistently high rating with a 4.08 star rating on Goodreads. I bought it a while ago when it was on sale for $1.99 on Kindle and it’s been sitting on my Kindle unread ever since. I finally picked it up for a buddy read with a friend.
“Pay attention. We’ve tweaked minor details. We’ve completely rearranged major details. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent (or not-so-innocent, or simply because we thought a name was terrible and we liked another name better).“
TLDR: My Lady Jane is a satirical retelling of Lady Jane Grey who was queen of England for just 9 days before she was beheaded. In this version of the story, she lives. Also, some people turn into animals.
Full Summary: Edward is the King of England but he is dying and so he needs to appoint a new heir. This heir needs to be a person who is understanding of Eðian (pronounced Ethian) culture. To be an Eðian means to be someone who turns into an animal at times.
He hadn’t really given much thought to the kingdom. Or any thought, truthfully. He’d been too busy contemplating the idea of coughing his lungs right out, and then being too dead to care
Jane is Edward’s cousin, she reads a lot and many people consider to be somewhat stuck up and far too educated for a woman.
He was sure that somewhere along the way, Jane had read a book with a title like, How to Rule a Kingdom, Even if You’re Thirty-Second in the Line of Succession and Chances Are You’ll Never Actually Rule: Volume One of Three.
Gifford (or G) is an Eðian who from sun-up to sun-down is a horse. Because Jane can’t be a ruler all on her own (because she’s a woman of course) she needs a husband and so Edward decides it will be G. No one tells Jane before the wedding that her husband turns into a horse.
“But why did no one tell her about the horse . . . situation?” Dudley shook his head as if the issue was entirely unimportant. “I’ve found that women do not need to be burdened with such minor details.” Well, that makes sense, thought Edward.
This book was fun. It took a time in history where the Roman Catholics and the Anglicans were at war with each other, and made it a fantastical story about people with magical abilities who could turn into animals and people who couldn’t.
My knowledge about this time in history is not extensive but that’s not the point of this book. The authors simply took a story that they felt could be amusing if told differently, and then went with it. However, because it was basically a mockery (in a fun, light-hearted manner of course) of the time I cannot understand why someone would rate it as high as 4 or 5 stars, as I see many people have.
The book reads quickly. Although it’s over 500 pages long, it took me just over 24 hours to finish. I would consider it to be somewhat of a pallet cleanser. If you are looking for a laugh and a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this is the book for you.
The content was clean. Edward kept mourning the fact that he was going to die without kissing a girl. There was a lot of poking fun at the sexist ideas and the ideals of the time. Most of it was just a fun story about what it might be like if teenagers had to run a country–while also having ridiculous magical powers.
While fun, I’ll be honest and say that I probably wouldn’t recommend it very often.
If you would like to purchase this book, you can do so here