Release date: June 7, 2016
Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a stranger—and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But Jane doesn’t have to worry about those little problems. Jane gets to be Queen of England.
At least until she loses her head.
This alternate universe history of the Tudor regime is a comical masterpiece by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton. I have read their books before, and I find that this collaboration was awesome in the fact that it combines their writing prowess into a book that is filled with horse puns, random author narration and a general levity to the grim original. The story begins with King Edward dying, of ‘The Affliction’, which I assume meant tuberculosis in those days. The authors have actually changed the whole Christian-Protestant thing into a war between Shape-shifters and humans, the former being persecuted by the latter. To ensure that the shifters are not victimized by Mary’s burning rage for them, Edward hands over the crown to Jane, after marrying her off to the second son of his most trusted advisor. There is naturally some conspiracy afoot, and after Jane gets crowned, a host of suspicious events occur. Needless to say, as this is an alternate universe, liberties are taken with history – in a way that you will love it.
Told from three perspectives – Jane, Edward and Gifford (Jane’s husband), as well as spontaneous input from the authors themselves, the storytelling is very vivid and lively. I could very easily picture this being a movie, and the characters are all so loveable. There is Jane, the eternal bookworm, who resents being married off to a seemingly promiscuous man, who turns into a horse (hence the horse puns) during the daytime. Gifford, for his part, adores her but is also unsure about how to tell her the truth about himself (he was not promiscuous) and how to manage his curse. Edward just wants to kiss a girl (preferably with tongue) and the crown kind of chafes his head. The three of them make an amusing trio and the addition of Gracie, the Scottish girl only made it more awesome. The mythology of the world was well-established, for a stand-alone. Overall, this is a book you should not miss!
P.S. Jane turns into a ferret, which I am pretty sure was Jodi Meadows’ idea.
Received a free galley from HarperTeen, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.