Review: My Lady Jane (My Lady Jane #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Sometimes what you need to banish a book hangover is historical fantasy where Lady Jane Grey is married to a man who spends his days as a horse. My Lady Jane made me howl with laughter, but it also tackles issues of privilege, sexism, classism, and persecution.

About the Book

Publisher: HarperTeen  |  Release Date: May 9, 2017  |  Pages: 491
Genre: YA, Historical Fantasy  |  Format: Paperback  |  Source: Purchased

New York Times Bestseller * Publishers Weekly Best Young Adult Book of 2016 * Bustle Best Young Adult Book of 2016 * YALSA 2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults

This comical, fantastical, romantical, New York Times bestselling, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey is “an uproarious historical fantasy that’s not to be missed” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind YA fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

Like that could go wrong.

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My Review

This book is hilarious and exactly what I needed. I was suffering a bit from a book hangover after Crier’s War and needed something light, fun, and romantic. I wasn’t sure that this would hit the spot, but there’s something to be said for a book calling to you on your owned TBR. I loved this book with all of my heart… I am obsessed!

Despite what you might be thinking, this book is a standalone! The books in this series each reimagines the life of a famous historical Jane; My Lady Jane retells the history of Lady Jane Grey and how she came to be Queen of England for nine days following the death of her cousin, King Edward VI in 1535.

“But what could one person do? Nothing, he thought. One person could do nothing. So there was no point in being noble about it.”

I love the way that the authors reimagined this period of history into a fantastical world full of magic. This was a tense time in history: Catholicism had taken a blow during Henry VIII’s reign given his proclivity for many wives and the ensuing Protestant Reformation. But in My Lady Jane, it’s a matter of Edians versus Verities. Magical shapeshifters versus the regular folk.

Told in the alternating perspectives of our three main characters by fourth-wall (page?) breaking narrators/historians who are setting the record straight.

👗 Lady Jane Grey is the sixteen-year-old cousin and best friend of King Edward Tudor. She’s a bookworm and can always be found with a book or ten in her possession at all times. (Sooo relatable, but also based in historical fact!)

👑 Edward Tudor is the son of King Henry VIII and the sixteen-year-old King of England. He’s dying and all he wants is to kiss a girl with tongue, but his advisors are determined to make sure that he instead alter the line of succession to protect the Edian reforms put in place.

🐎 Gifford Dudley is the son of Edward’s advisor (thankfully without his enormous nose) and married to Lady Jane in order to produce male heirs to secure the new line of succession. Oh, and he spends his days as a horse.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I definitely wasn’t expecting Lady Jane Grey being married off, at the request of her best friend, to a man who spends his days as a horse, dying King Edward. But then she becomes queen (for nine whole days) before being overthrown.

“We’d fight so much less if everyone would just sit down and read.”

With a plot as ridiculous sounding as this, it would be easy to dismiss this as a frivolous and stupid comedy that could have been penned by the folks responsible for Ace Ventura Pet Detective. But this book manages to toe the line between funny and serious perfectly. My Lady Jane made me howl with laughter, but it also tackles issues of privilege, sexism, classism, and persecution. The world that the authors crafted mirrors the one we know from history, just with magic, and it’s nothing short of special.

“They need signs of my strength, not my reliance on the men around me.”

I loved this book. This cast of characters. In the feminism at its core. At how being book smart is just as useful as being a fierce fighter. The fast-pace of the narrative and snappy dialogue. The story flows almost as if it’s being told to me around a campfire; as if it’s been told orally through the ages. I recommend this one to anyone who love banter, found families, and a dose of love.

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

10 Comments

  1. Lisa @ waytoofantasy

    December 23, 2019 at 8:25 AM

    I loved this book SO MUCH. It was such an unexpected delight for me. Glad you loved it, Kal!

    1. Kal

      December 31, 2019 at 7:46 PM

      An unexpected delight is the perfect descriptor for me as well, and I adored the book! I am going to dive into the sequel soonish, have you read it yet?

  2. Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical

    December 26, 2019 at 1:12 PM

    I adored My Lade Jane so damn much – both when I read it for the first time and when I reread it later on. I kept recommending it my friends and even my mom until they caved in and read it, haha – and they also loved it! What I love about it is what you pointed out: it does manage to toe the line between funny and serious. Great review, Kal! 🙂

    1. Kal

      December 31, 2019 at 8:09 PM

      This book is such a freaking delight, I can’t stop thinking about it! I have My Plain Jane now and am looking forward to reading it as a reward for finishing an ARC, haha.

  3. Krisha

    December 27, 2019 at 10:39 AM

    Ahh I have had my eye on this book but wasn’t ever sure about it! Reading your review definitely makes me want to check it out since it sounds really intriguing and fun! Great review, Kal 😊💛

    1. Kal

      December 31, 2019 at 8:12 PM

      I legit picked this up on a whim and am so glad that I did because I really needed something fun, but I love that it wasn’t devoid of the deeper themes that I crave in stories. I hope you enjoy it if you do pick it up, Krisha!

  4. Haley

    January 13, 2020 at 3:05 AM

    ‘As a horse’ I’m sold. Your review and seeing how much fun you had reading this has made me go request it at my library! Great review as always…can’t get over the horse part…….

    1. Kal

      February 3, 2020 at 2:51 PM

      OKAY LISTEN, this book is ridiculous and I loved every second of it lmao. The horse thing still cracks me up… YOU go ahead and try to explain this once you’ve read it!

  5. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall

    January 16, 2020 at 9:02 AM

    Hahaha, just reading your review was enough to make me laugh, Kal! I can’t imagine how hilarious the book must be! Thank you for mentioning that this book is actually a standalone! I was under the impression that it was part of a series, so now I’m more inclined to read it because I have awful commitment with series nowadays haha. I’m so glad that this story perfectly blends together seriousness with humor, because with a plot as wild as this one sounds, I’m sure that’s must needed in order to procure an exciting book!

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 2:54 PM

      THIS BOOK IS A DAMN TREASURE! Please read it, it’s so funny lmao. And the trilogy is more of a companion series than anything — the books are all retellings of a famous Jane character by the same author group, but that’s it. The second one is a Jane Eyre retelling that is also fantastic, and book 3 comes out this year!

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