Happy Tuesday, everyone! The Jane, Unlimited tour is stopping by the blog today and I can’t wait to share my review with y’all (as well as a giveaway or two)!
by Kristin Cashore
Published on September 19, 2017 by Kathy Dawson Books
Genres: Young Adult
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Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.
Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.
Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.
This is probably the oddest book I’ve read in a long time. Because of that, I had a really hard time giving this book any sort of rating so bear with me on this one y’all.
If you’re excited to read Jane, Unlimited because you loved Cashore’s Graceling books, then be prepared for something entirely different. I mean, it’s been a while since I read her YA fantasy series but this felt like something entirely different.
It’s hard to describe this book without getting into spoilers but for the first portion of the book, you meet Jane. Orphaned at a very young age and raised by her recently deceased aunt, Jane is a bit lost and follows her old tutor to her island home based on a promise she made to her aunt.
I was at first, to be honest. The writing style is a bit removed from the norm and combined with the way the story bounces around, the assortment of quirky and mysterious characters, and Jane’s own emotions in the mix, it took some time to adjust. I didn’t dislike the style, but it had to grow on me before I was immersed.
And then the endings happened. Yes, plural, because this felt like a create your own adventure (but not), which I later learned is how the book actually started out (which is so cool)! It’s also where I became more interested, as well as less so, because after you’re introduced to everyone and everything, Jane has a few choices to make, each of which plays out as if it’s a story of its own.
From a writing perspective, I bow down to Cashore for pulling it off so well and in such a whimsical way. Because that’s kind of what this book reminded me of. Whimsy and adventure and wonderland. Some of the endings did get a bit more fantastical than others, which made this really hard to pin down genre-wise but also made it really cool too.
I’d also liken it to the game Clue. Underneath it all, there’s a mystery that needs to be solved and Jane decides to tackle it. And then you see how it all plays out, once possibility after the next causing a déjà vu sensation where another piece is unlocked each time until you have the full story and all its futures.
In short, Jane, Unlimited is a unique masterpiece.
And yet, I still struggled with my thoughts on it. Sure, I can detail all the things I loved because in their separate elements, this book is wonderful. When it all came together, during the time that I was reading that is (afterward reflection is another matter), I couldn’t get into the book. It took several attempts and finally a determined push to make it to the end. Whether it was because I expected something different, something more or less, I don’t know, but while this book is beautifully crafted, I couldn’t quite give it those full 5 stars (reminds me of Girls Made of Snow and Glass where it was a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation).
Yes, I’d recommend this book, hands down. But be prepared to read something you’ve likely never read before.
Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. (ARV: $18.99 each)
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on September 11, 2017 and 12:00 AM on October 9, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 11, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
In addition to the tour-wide giveaway, I’m also hosting my own for your chance to win an ARC of Jane, Unlimited!
Happiest of book birthdays to JANE, UNLIMITED! 🎂🎈🎉
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US/PR only, ends Oct 2 pic.twitter.com/lYJUxFRZ7P
— Austine 🐍 (@AustineDecker) September 19, 2017