With Brodi Ashton and Cynthia Hand.
For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey.
Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England.
Like that could go wrong.
“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, New York Times bestselling author of Princess of the Midnight Ball
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—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.
—Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC
★ STARRED review
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. Ages 13–up. Agent: (for Hand) Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown; (for Ashton) Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management; (for Meadows) Lauren MacLeod, Strothman Agency. (June)
★ STARRED review
“Wacky, irreverent, and just plain fun. This fantasy-adventure politely tips its hat to history before joyfully punting it out of the way. An utter delight.”