On shelves June 7, 2016
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Nice Things People Are Saying About The Book:Hand (the Unearthly series), Ashton (the Everneath series), and Meadows (the Orphan Queen series) clearly had a ball working on this joyous rewrite of the story of Lady Jane Grey and King Edward VI, and readers will have just as much fun with it. The authors follow history to the point of tragedy, then toss it aside to allow love and good to triumph. One significant tweak is the creation of a shape-shifting people called E∂ians, such as Jane’s new husband, Lord Gifford Dudley, who spends his days as a horse and his nights as a man. This version of England is full of E∂ians, and Edward’s power-hungry sister Mary (aka Bloody Mary) is one of the Verities who want to purge the country of them. Alternating third-person narration scrolls smoothly among Edward, Jane, and Gifford in chapters packed with hilarious banter, authorial asides, and polite avoidance of nudity as characters shift into and out of animal forms at inopportune moments. It’s an uproarious historical fantasy that’s not to be missed.
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, starred review!
“The Tudors meets Monty Python. Prepare to laugh and gasp and clutch your pearls.”
Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of the Shatter Me series
“History, humor, and unexpected magic come together in this marvelous story.”
Jessica Day George, author of Silver in the Blood
A "gleefully anachronistic comedy will entertain with its cast of likable heroes and buffoonish villains." KIRKUS REVIEWS
Wacky, irreverent, and just plain fun, this three-way collaboration of Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows plays fast and loose with history. Set in 1553 Tudor England, the beginning is rooted in fact: young King Edward is sickly, the prognosis isn’t good, and instead of risking the rule of his despotic older sister (that would be the future Bloody Mary), Edward names as his heir his bookish cousin, Jane Grey—after first marrying her off. All the civil unrest of the Tudor era is on display, with the Catholic-Protestant conflict neatly reimagined as a feud between shape-shifters (Eðians) and non-shape-shifters. Jane, who secretly envies the Eðians, has no desire to be queen or a wife and is not particularly thrilled to meet her new husband, Gifford. Little does she know that he is not the womanizing rake she thinks, but a cursed Eðian who spends his nights as a man and his days as a horse. When Mary’s plans to seize the throne take a turn for the murderous, Jane and Gifford find themselves caught up in a web of court intrigue, adventure, and maybe a little romance. Wonky, offbeat, and happily anachronistic—the references run the gamut from Shakespeare to Monty Python, with plenty of nods to The Princess Bride—this fantasy adventure politely tips its hat to history before joyfully punting it out of the way. An utter delight.
BOOKLIST, starred review!
In real life, Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey died young in 16th-century England. Here, Edward and Jane get another chance at happiness thanks to the irrepressible imaginations of the authors. Adventure, intrigue, humor, and romance abound—so, too, does high fantasy. England is a place where people (including royalty) are either Eðians (those who can shape-shift) or Verities (those who cannot). Because many Verities believe Eðian magic is evil, they set about to obliterate it. Eðians retaliate. Also, someone keeps poisoning the king’s food. The plot, then, involves Edward, Jane, and their allies trying to figure out how to keep peace in the kingdom, find out who is poisoning the king’s food, and restore Edward to the throne (he is presumed dead and gads about incognito for part of the book). Eðian “facts” are woven in with such subtle assurance that they come across as a genuine part of English history. For instance, the year the volatile Henry VIII discovered his leonine animal form and devoured the court jester is known in the kingdom’s collective memory as the Year of the Lion. Wisecracks are prevalent, which would be grating after a while if the characters did not fairly sparkle with the complete array of honest human qualities. Readers will need to know the basic backstory of Lady Jane Grey and Edward VI. VERDICT: A great choice for those who enjoy lighthearted, alternative history adventures and romance.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
All three narrators—Edward, Jane, and Gifford—are delightful. G, the supposed “skirt chaser” is hilarious as fledgling poet, sometimes spouting Shakespeare before the Bard’s birth. Jane is a well-read, take-charge heroine who changes into a fearless ferret, and wimpy Edward discards his royal privilege to forge his own destiny. Three cheers for this well-written and rollicking revision of history full of timely mannerisms and bold adventure. Its length may deter some readers but those who enjoy clever humor, colorful fantasy, and light romance will savor each page.