My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you know anything about British history, then you’ve heard about this queen. One who ruled for only 9 days, but was earnest, intelligent, and amazingly well-read. She was young but determined. Honest but inexperienced. And she died much too soon. In this version of history, Lady Jane lives in a world full of Effians and Verities, or as we would call them: were-beasts and humans. This alternate reality uses the linchpins of past events, but claims to tell the “true” story of how everything went down. I’ve been fascinated by Lady Jane’s story, and I loved this telling of the well known (and bloody) story because of the self-aware humour and wish fulfillment in evidence. Jane lives and is given opportunities to prove herself and find her life’s purpose. She’s loved by a man who deserves her. It’s what we would have wished for the young queen, and I have no issues with magic used to bring those ideal events about. She gets her much deserved happily ever after, and we get to laugh as she finds her way to it.
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The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I waited and waited and waited for this story to get exciting…and then it just ended. Usually, if a book is going to bore me, it gives me sufficient clues within the first quarter of the story. But this one lured me in with its detailed historical setting, complex familial relationships, an interesting and conflicted heroine, but then failed to deliver on the actual plot. It failed on two out of three counts. The male love interest was dull, dull, dull. And the conflict in the story was…to be resolved in some book down the line in a series still being written. The only thing they got right was the protagonist. Helen was dealing with a revelation that didn’t just changed the story she’d always been told of her mother, the traitor to her nation, but also threatened to upend her life and relationships. She was pretty badass. But a lot of the story depended on the hero, William, whose lack of any personality — unless mopey is something you find attractive — killed the narrative dead. I’m not picking up the next one, unless a reviewer I trust swears up and down that someone taught Goodman about pacing and conflict.
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Disclaimer: The above post contains affiliate links to amazon pages. If you buy anything by using these links, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!