Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Lady Jane / Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows / 491 pgs

Hilarious. Just--hilarious. Perfectly wonderful as an audiobook.

If you know the story of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine-Day Queen of England, you know it has a tragic ending. This story, not so much. In alternate history at its best (or at least most fun), Jane's story has become an adventure and romance that involves shapeshifters, kings, thieves, and one husband who happens to be a horse (at least part of the time).

Jane prefers books to boys, and runs through lists of synonyms in her head when stressed. She is stubborn and smart and resourceful, but not enough to escape a wedding to a boy she's just met. After all, how do you refuse your dying cousin's last wish, when he also happens to be your best friend AND your king?

Gifford spends each day as a horse and each night as a human. As an Eðian (shapeshifter) who can't control his change, he is the despair of his father, Lord Dudley, who nevertheless plots to marry him off to Jane. G. is content to be a horse, most of the time, but his family's political maneuvering and the arrival of his bossy new bride might spell the end of his equilibrium.

Edward is the king, which you'd think would be satisfying. Except he's a teenager, dying of a slow disease, and the main problem on his mind is that he wants to be kissed. That, and take care of the country, which is gearing up for a bloody fight between the Eðians and Verities (non-shapeshifters). So he's easily convinced to change the line of succession and name Jane his heir, right before his oh-so-convenient demise.

At least, that's what's supposed to happen. What actually happens as we follow these three characters is a funny, perilous, snark-filled journey that goes from hilarity to danger and back as quickly as Jane can finish one of her books.

Those of a geeky persuasion will enjoy the added layer of references to popular culture and Shakespeare, but all readers who want a fast-paced, humor-filled adventure with a dash of romance will find this history is one worth learning.

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