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review 2017-09-29 11:04
Before She Ignites was a slow burn but worth it
Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles) - Jodi Meadows

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

A spoiled, privileged, none-too-smart girl with a mental illness is thrown into the most awful of jails and must content with a cruel prison guard who is determined to uncover the secrets that put her there.

 

Mira is the Hopebearer, nothing more than a pretty face and a voice for the Luminary Council to placate their citizens due to a treaty named after her. Mira holds no real power, and she discovers this when she uncovers something she shouldn’t have and tries to do the right thing, culminating with her being tossed into an underground jail known as the Pit. Mira suffers from anxiety and panic attacks which I think are written quite well. She is obsessed with numbers and continues to count throughout the novel, without her illness being magically cured by the end. She spends most of the novel in the jail, and we see the lead-up to her imprisonment through flashbacks as she slowly reveals her secrets to us and to a cruel guard determined to make her like even more miserable.

 

Meadows shows her skills as a writer by slowly uncovering the truth not only about why Mira was thrown in jail, but about the people who put her there. I don’t really want to say much else because it’s better to go into this novel unspoiled and reveal it for yourself. I really enjoyed all aspects, especially as Mira began to realise her world was not the way she thought it was. She goes from a soft-skinned pawn to a stronger young woman who figures out that although she has been in a gilded cage her entire life, her voice can be used as a weapon.

 

The use of short flashback scenes cut between the current timeline of Mira in prison helps to not only reveal what led to her demise, but also develop the characters of her best friends and to see more of the dragons that Mira loves so much. It creates a kind of cliffhanger at the end of every chapter: You want to know what’s going to happen next in the current timeline but you also want to see more of Mira’s life pre-prison. You really get the sense of Mira’s privileged lifestyle as she bemoans all of the luxuries she’s missing in prison and her obsession with food is completely understandable when she is starved and tortured.

 

I think my only problem with this novel is that Mira spends an awful lot of time in prison and stubbornly doesn’t spill her secret the first chance she is given. I don’t really understand why she keeps the secret for so long. I feel that if I were in her position I’d be telling everyone I could. The more people that know, the less the bad guys can get away with what they’re doing. However, it’s a very small issue and the rest of the novel is thoroughly enjoyable. I’m really looking forward to the sequels.

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review 2017-07-17 02:39
My Lady Jane
My Lady Jane - Brodi Ashton,Jodi Meadows,Cynthia Hand

If you’ve ever wondered what it might have been like if William Goldman of The Princess Bride fame had written and directed some sort of Ladyhawke/The Tudors mashup for a YA audience, get yourself a copy of this book. It’s a bit of silly revisionist history featuring Tudor England with shapeshifters. I was after a light, fluffy read, and this fit the bill pretty well. I found it very entertaining, though the narrators’ asides got more annoying as the story progressed, and the references to Game of Thrones, Monty Python, The Princess Bride, etc., induced more eye rolls than giggles. And I really felt rather sorry for the way Princess Mary was portrayed. Poor Mary! You deserved better.

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review 2017-07-07 08:26
whimsically lighthearted Royal Romp
My Lady Jane - Brodi Ashton,Jodi Meadows,Cynthia Hand

This was a good old-fashioned Alt History with romance and loads of snarky quips. Silliness and an effervescent reimagining of some real life Tudor tragedies ensues and a good time is had by some. On a personal note, I really enjoyed Jane! I loved her obsession with all things biblio, surely a love we can all relate to....the smell of the books, the palpable excitement associated with the start of a new adventure, the places you go and lives you lead, the actual feel and weight of the thing, and all the other blissful -philias accompanied with the ownership of a book. I especially enjoyed Jane's relationships with her cousin, King Edward VI, and her husband G. This quasi-historic, multiple POV retelling has a strong plot, likeable/ relatable characters and an inspiring re-imagining of a happier ending for those unfortunate Fortunates. Be aware: this feels rather lengthy at times. This is especially true if you're in the mood for something gripping or deeply life altering because if that's what you're craving this is not your book. It is, however, a whimsically lighthearted (often mind numbing) royal romp. SO, you've been warned!. Okay Alternative History buffs and Fantasy folks... unite and devour this exceptionally fun, well written, cohesive, tri-author gem.

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review 2017-01-19 00:00
My Lady Jane
My Lady Jane - Jodi Meadows,Brodi Ashton... My Lady Jane - Jodi Meadows,Brodi Ashton,Cynthia Hand This is such a weird book and I loved it. There were some plot holes here and there which is the only reason why I am giving this 4 stars.

This is an alternate story to Lady Jane and here is some information for you people out there who don't know who Lady Jane Grey is.

Lady Jane Grey (1536/1537 – 12 February 1554), also known as Lady Jane Dudley or the Nine-Day Queen, was an English noblewoman and de facto monarch of England and Ireland from 10 July until 19 July 1553.The great-granddaughter of Henry VII through his younger daughter Mary, Jane was a first cousin once removed of Edward VI. In May 1553, she was married to Lord Guildford Dudley, a younger son of Edward's chief minister, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. When the 15-year-old king lay dying in June 1553, he nominated Jane as successor to the Crown in his will, thus subverting the claims of his half-sisters Mary and Elizabeth under the Third Succession Act. Jane was imprisoned in the Tower of London when the Privy Council decided to change sides and proclaim Mary as queen on 19 July 1553. Jane was convicted of high treason in November 1553, which carried a sentence of death, although her life was initially spared. Wyatt's rebellion of January and February 1554 against Queen Mary I's plans to marry Philip of Spain led to the execution of both Jane and her husband).


In this alternate story, the entire world (at least England, Scotland, and France) have humans (Verities) and Edians (human beings who can shape-shift into animals).

We find out King Henry VIII could turn into a lion and from there his different wives were either Verities or Edians. England right now has many Verities who want to wipe out the Edians totally.

This story has three different POVs and each works quite well. We have King Edward VI (the boy king who dies in our history), Lady Jane (Queen of England and Ireland for 9 days) and her husband Gifford (otherwise known as G).

I have to say my favorite POV was honestly Edward. He tries to be a good king, but once he is told he has "The Affliction" he knows that he will die soon. He is led to bypass his two half sisters (Mary and Bess) in the line of succession and instead names Jane instead.

We readers quickly find out that there are shenanigans afoot to put Jane on the throne as a figurehead only with her husband really being king. That quickly gets dealt with and somehow Mary gets put on the throne and is out to destroy Jane, G, and anyone else standing in her way since she wants to kill all Edians.

The overall plot really is about the Verities and Edians fighting it out (metaphors for the Catholics and the Protestants). I did mention some plot holes here and there, and one big one for me really is that there was this whole thing about our band of heroes going to France for help and King Edward talking to the current King of France about how terrible women are and they are not fit to rule (don't worry Edward doesn't believe it and feels sick even saying that out loud). The King agrees to help based on stopping Mary from sitting on the throne. However, with the ending, you are telling me the King of France did not get super ticked by those turn of events?

The fact that each of these author's took a different POV and managed to make the plot run as smoothly as they did gives them high kudos from me. There are humorous comments made throughout the entire book that will have you smiling and even laughing. Some reviewers have likened this book to "The Princess Bride" or "Monty Python" in book form. I think those are great comparisons. If you like either of those things, I think this will be the book for you.
I thought the flow was just okay though. Sometimes it felt like we just got to a very interesting stopping point and then the story would be thrown to another character.

The setting in this alternate England really works. I loved the idea of people shape-shifting into animals. The random lines thrown out about King Henry VIII eating people who displeased me cracked me up too. I also loved finding out what animals some of our characters turned into as well.

The ending leaves us with a Happily Ever After and I for one was glad to see it.
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review 2016-12-31 02:04
#CBR8 Book 133: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
My Lady Jane - Brodi Ashton,Jodi Meadows,Cynthia Hand

According to history, when King Edward VI, Henry VIII's son died young and childless, certain noblemen who wanted to make sure a ruler of the Protestant faith ruled the country put his young cousin Lady Jane Gray on the throne. She ruled for nine days, before Mary Tudor arrived with her armies, removed the poor girl and had her beheaded. This book bears a vague resemblance to that story.

In the England of this story, the conflict in England isn't between Catholics and Protestants, it's between non-shapeshifters, also known as Verities, and shapeshifters, better known as eðians (pronounced eethians). King Henry VIII himself turned into a great big lion, on occasion, but even so, the eðians are generally hunted and distrusted by the populace in general. Princess Mary is staunchly against them and want them all killed, while young King Edward and his best friend and cousin, Lady Jane Grey read everything they can about them and would like nothing more than to discover eðian abilities of their own.

Sadly, Edward appears to be dying. He has been told by Lord Dudley, his chief adviser and his physicians that he's suffering from "the affliction" and that he is unlikely to have long, certainly not long enough to marry and produce a male heir. Luckily Dudley has a plan to secure a succession that will make sure an eðian-friendly ruler ends up on the English trone. He suggests that Edward change the line of succession to ensure that his cousin Lady Jane's heirs inherit. Of course, Jane needs to be married to produce heirs, but Dudley has just the candidate. His younger son, Gifford. There is the minor difficulty that Gifford Dudley is an eðian and spends every day from sunup to sunset as a magnificent stallion, but any heirs would be conceived at night anyways, so Dudley is sure Jane wouldn't mind too much.

When the extremely intellectual Jane finds out that she's to be married off within a few days, she travels to the Dudley estate (carrying with her a suitable supply of books to entertain her) to meet her intended. Unfortunately, because of some rather shameful nightly pursuits, Gifford (just call him G) has let it be known that he's a rampant womaniser. It's more socially acceptable than what he gets up to. Hence his older brother mistakes Jane for one of his younger brother's many suspected floozies and Jane believes her impending husband is a lecherous libertine (he's not, he's actually a poet). Nor does anyone deem it appropriate to tell her about her husband's eðian status, so she has quite the surprise the morning after her wedding, when the groom turns into a big horse in the middle of her bedroom.

As Edward takes a rapid turn for the worse shortly after the wedding, his sister Elizabeth warns him that he mustn't trust his physicians and he realises that Dudley is up to no good, and that Jane may be in terrible danger as well.

This is a delightful farce of a book, where we follow the points of view of Edward, Jane and G (he never liked the name Gifford) as the story progresses. Since there are three authors, I suspect each of them took one character and wrote their sections. Having loosely based the first half on actual historical events (if you ignore the shapeshifters), the second half is pure fantasy and a lot of fun. The book is clearly inspired by The Princess Bride, with the narrators occasionally interrupting the narrative to address the reader directly. Readers will recognise that most of Gifford's poetry is strikingly similar to that of one William Shakespeare. There is humour reminiscent of Monty Python and Blackadder, while at least one plot development brings to mind the lovely Ladyhawke, one of my favourite eighties movies (I'd love to get a version with a non-synthy soundtrack).

I've seen this book included on several best of 2016 lists, and while I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough to include it in my top ten of the year, it's a very enjoyable romp from start to finish. My one complaint is that the book is a bit long and I think some of the parts in the second half could have been edited a bit more. As a huge fan of Tudor history in general, and having always been sympathetic to poor Lady Jane, the nine days queen, who really didn't have much choice in the matter and was a political pawn her entire life, it was nice to see a story that reimagines a much happier ending for her. Possibly not the book for you if you take your history very seriously, but highly recommended for anyone who wants a fun, creative and irreverent reimagining of history.

Judging a book by its cover: While on first look, this may seem like any old historical novel, with your red-headed girl in Tudor era clothing and a big red font bringing your attention to the title, you need only take a closer look to see that there's more here. In little "hand-written notes" and arrows pointing to the girl on the cover, the writers explain that "Sometimes history gets it all wrong". The other notes say "It's not easy being queen" and "Off with her head".

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2016/12/cbr8-book-133-my-lady-jane-by-cynthia.html
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