Number of pages: 491
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 2.5
I have always been fascinated by Tudor England. The Tudor era is one of the reasons I want to see the Tower of London so badly. But when I heard about My Lady Jane, strangely, I didn’t want to read it. Here was a YA book set in one of my favorite time periods, and I had no desire to read it. It wasn’t just that I prefer reading about Mary and Elizabeth to reading about Edward and Jane, I simply felt deep down that I was not going to enjoy it. Then, a reviewer with whom I have shared similar opinions in the past, posted a review of it on Goodreads calling hilarious, and I thought that I should maybe give it a shot.
My Lady Jane was hilarious… during the first half of the book (Just to clarify, the authors split the book into two parts, but when I say first half, I mean that if you split the book in half, the half that comes first is the first half, so a portion of part 1 is in the second half). It was lighthearted, funny, and the authors managed to dodge mentioning religion completely by making it a fantasy book (I mean this whole ordeal only took place because of religion, but why even mention it? (I’m being sarcastic here) Turns out the removal of religion doesn’t work later on in the story anyway.). It was a happy book after a long list of depressing Fantasy and Historical Fiction books.
I then made it to the second half of the book, around where Mary comes to power, and I started to enjoy it less and less. The humour that could have made that part less depressing was gone, and it felt like the plot slowed. Jokes fell flat, references had me stop reading to research them, and all I wanted to do was finish it. In the second half, the rules the authors put in place didn’t apply, things that are supposed to be factually accurate aren’t, mistakes are made, and boredom set in. By the second half I was annoyed that it was more of a children’s fairy tale than a historical fiction novel. The biggest thing that angered me, however, was that the two groups of warring people basically don’t exist, because of a reveal near the end. It made everything that happened in the book pointless and it wasn’t even mildly amusing.
The characters were all either bland, or horribly annoying. Edward was so whinny that I wanted to open his mouth and poison him (successfully this time) myself. I have no idea why any of the other characters were even remotely kind to him, let alone why they liked him, but I guess his complaining was more interesting that being left alone with their dreadfully boring selves. The characters weren’t completely boring, however, since they often “went out of character”. It was interesting to see if the next sentence would be consistent or out of place.
My wish for the death of Edward brings me to another point: no one dies. I guess it tells you something about me that I’m upset about this, but it felt rather condescending to me. It felt as though they were protecting me from being scared by the death of a character. On top of that, they called sex “a very special hug” and explained things as though I have no idea how to spell my own name (though to be fair, most people can’t pronounce and/or spell my name (Moira) specifically)
Overall, My Lady Jane started out amusing, but ended up being boring, condescending, and inconsistent. It has therefore earned it 2.5 stars out of 5.