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

MyLadyJaneMy Lady Jane
By: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
Release Date: June 7th 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided to me in consideration of an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
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.

My Thoughts:
Oh man. This book. I saw SO many 5 star reviews and so much praise I was thrilled when a copy landed on my door. I hadn’t originally planned to read it only because I wasn’t overly thrilled with the author’s previous work nor did the idea of a comedy intrigue me. As my husband so happily reminds me, I have a very limited sense of humor. It is very rare for things to get me to laugh. After hearing how amazing this book was and that comparison to The Princess Bride I thought- I’ll have to love this.

Sadly, this was not the case. I could see what the authors were going for and I respect the effort. I easily saw where things were supposed to cause the reader to laugh but it all fell rather flat for me. I felt the pacing was uneven and sections really dragged. I fully felt the girth of this novel and multiple times I considered DNFing but I kept hoping I’d start to love it. There were moments I thought I’d be able to really connect to the characters and story but it never happened.

I think the writing style was to blame for my complete disconnect. I always felt at arms length. I never really cared about the character’s outcome nor did I ever like Edward. I really wanted to but nope. I also never shipped the romances. Man, this review is seeming so harsh. The thing is I didn’t hate it at all it just wasn’t something I would read again or own. I do appreciate the creativity of doing something different and approaching history with what could/should have been.

I could easily see the attempt to add that Princess Bride feel and I think the book succeeded in that for the most part but it lacked heart for me personally. I did find the addition of humans turning to animals a fun twist though I couldn’t help but compare the divide with the historical religious divide between Catholic and Protestant.

I was impressed with how well the authors work all flowed together and I wasn’t able to see where one work ended and the other began. I couldn’t tell you if they all wrote each character or if they each took one. Their styles and work were seamless.

Final Thoughts:
I am so sad that this book didn’t work for me. The humor, characters and pacing all were a miss for me though I appreciate the idea behind the book and a comical approach to historical fiction.

 

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Review of The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

TheMirrorKingThe Mirror King
By: Jodi Meadows
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:
Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

My Thoughts:
I think after that traumatizing ending from The Orphan Queen we were all ready to find out what was going to happen. The Mirror King picks up directly after that scene…you know the one. I was so happy that we were thrown RIGHT back into the fray and didn’t miss days or weeks of the story. I didn’t reread TOQ before reading this one and it might have helped if I had just so I could remember the secondary characters a bit clearer.

Overall I liked this book and it did answer most of the plot points (though the very end was left fairly open). I did feel like there was way too much shoved into this one book and I think the series would have benefited from one (or even two) more books. Too much happened and things that could have been developed far deeper were somewhat rushed over. It was far too many plot points and characters to have it all try to wrap up in this one book (granted it is a rather thick book).

I really felt that TOQ was a much stronger book and I honestly felt a bit bored through the middle of this one. A lot was happening but I wasn’t as invested. There were entire sections I could have done without personally. I did still like the magic system and the addition of the wraith boy. I thought his character was interesting and I liked that he was so uncontrollable for Wil.

Wil was still bad ass and we get to see her come into her own and even deal with self doubt. Tobiah continues being…Tobiah. I wanted to shake him a few times but I still enjoyed his and Wil’s relationship (though not as well as in the first).

The secondary characters, the Osprey’s etc, were well developed and I thought added to the story well. I’m not sure we really got all that much insight into the more minor secondary characters but some, like James, we really got a lot more about their backstory. I am very much in the minority that this book didn’t rock my emotions or cause me emotional distress. I must have a cold heart because I never could get really emotionally invested. Maybe I would have had I read the prior book again?

Final Thoughts:
I did enjoy The Mirror King though I felt some plot points were rushed (or left open) while other areas dragged. I think this series would have benefited from being a trilogy rather than a duology since there was just so much to address. I do think that fans of TOQ will find this novel to be gratifying and a great read.

Review of The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

18081228The Orphan Queen
By: Jodi Meadows
Release Date: March 10th 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

My Thoughts:
Overall I thought The Orphan Queen was an entertaining read though I would consider on the lighter end of the fantasy side. The aspects I felt the book excelled at was the magic system Meadows created. Using magic in this world left remnants called Wraith that was thought to be destructive. I loved that as it spread across the land it was like a virus destroying and reshaping the life it touched.

I felt that the characters lacked a little something for me though I’m not sure exactly what. I had trouble truly connecting to any of them on a deep level. Even so I did enjoy the action scenes and storyline. I really loved that Meadows gave her main character, Wilhelmina, the skill of calligraphy and forging documents. I thought this was a nice, unique touch for a young adult fantasy that I’ve not seen used before. I thought that her loyalty and protective nature for the Ospreys was realistic and made her likeable.

Black Knife’s character felt a tad ‘done before’ but he was still a fun character that provided a nice touch to the story and presented some nice interactions between him and Wil.

I felt that some of the twists were pretty obvious and I’m not honestly sure they were really supposed to be that surprising. I did enjoy that Wil lived in the Palace of her enemy and had to interact with him on a daily basis. I thought her ability to see his better points was an interesting touch.

Fair warning the ending was evil to the extreme-be sure to prepare yourself for a cliff hanger.

Final Thoughts:
I enjoyed Meadows foray into fantasy and felt that her use of magic had vast potential and created some interesting moments. I felt a slight disconnect from the characters that in some ways impeded my compete enjoyment of the story though it was well worth the read.