Polarized: A Discussion on My Lady Jane + Giveaway (Yay!)

Good day, fellow book readers!

Today I would like to talk about a title that will soon be on the shelves and that will, very likely, generate an array of discussions among the reader universe. It tampers with history. It dares to be different, amusing, outrageous. It even treads in the dangerous realm of…  horse manure.

What book is that, you ask? Well, allow me to give you the obligatory details first:

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Polarized: A Discussion on My Lady Jane + Giveaway (Yay!)My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia hand, Jodi Meadows
Published by HarperTeen on June 7, 2016
Genres: Comedy, Europe, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fractured Fairy Tale, Fractured History, Historical, Humorous Stories, Love & Romance, Royalty
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads
five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

Like that could go wrong.

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Let it be known that I officially give this book…

Five freaking hilarious emojis!

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Okay now. With all that being said, let’s talk.

While I personally believe that My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows is quite possibly the most hilarious book I have read since the dawn of non-splinter inducing reading material – and though I appreciate the liberties they took when it comes to one of the most tragic periods of European history – I am also fully aware that what I find hilarious and unique and non-objectionable may not be the point of view of others…

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Sadly, Jenna. It is TOTALLY conceivable.

I am already seeing the reviews pouring in from bloggers and other early reviewers of My Lady Jane. While most many agree with my assessment that My Lady Jane is basically The Princess Bride for the 21st Century and movie producers best not drag their feet when it comes to featuring G’s enormously handsome muzzle on the big screen, I am already seeing the reviews that state that this book is not funny, that it tries too hard to be The Princess Bride and the book should have taken itself a little more seriously.

Do you know that feeling you get when someone critiques something you love and cherish? The desire to go all Wile E. Coyote on them and squish them into a pile of pulp?

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Well, don’t.

Any retaliation you give will only come back to haunt you, times ten. Plus, you’re only joking, right? Right. None of us ever actually wants to explode, or squash or filet the neighhh-sayers. Not really.

So, eh-em. Neighhhh all you want….

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My horse puns suck.

My Lady Jane will soon be on the shelves, guys. And I have a feeling it will polarize us as readers. I think that those who defend this book will defend it with their lives. We will tell you to LAUGH, DAMMIT! And if we don’t, you damn-well better believe that we are thinking it. We will tell you that this is the real history and all the bloody, sad and depressing stuff you thought you knew about Lady Jane are all lies, LIES, I TELL YOU!! And if you don’t believe us, you can just jump out the nearest window and tell us that you won’t fly, because you WILL! (No. Wait. I am NOT telling anyone to jump out of the nearest window, because chances are you actually aren’t an Edian and won’t turn into a bird. So don’t do it. Please.)

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BAD Jenna for getting carried away like that.

My Lady Jane coyly includes subtexts on sexism (a problem in Lady Jane’s day and age), religion (oh, “Edians” …I get it!) with much historical accuracy. But in between all the arranged marriages and be-headings surely there was plenty to laugh about, even for those dark, dark times, right? I mean, women had to have a sense of humor to get through days and days of endless knitting and embroidery. Plus those crazy religious zealots and their persecuting ways, I’m sure commoners had some brilliant one-liners to lighten up the mood in the square. My Lady Jane has a way of bringing that out in these historical characters.

As you can see, as a fervent fan of My Lady Jane, I have gone off on a tangent in the paragraphs above. But that basically emphasizes my point on how enthusiastic crazy obsessed readers can get over their favorite books.

On the flip-side, I am less joyful about a book that everyone else seemed to adore. That book is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, yet another title that has polarized readers. And yet I was as outspoken about my dislike then, as I am outspoken about my love for My Lady Jane. I slammed A Court of Thorns and Roses like you would not believe last year, along with a select few of my reader friends. Yet, oddly enough, I gave the second book a chance, and find myself currently enthralled by A Court of Mist and Fury (my friends are too hesitant to read it). If you ask me, this series should have begun with book two! I was so outspoken then…

…And yet, this year I am hesitant to say – no, I am terrified to say – that I hate, despise and feel betrayed by what I feel to be a lackluster conclusion to The Raven Cycle, a series I actually liked up to the final entry. I have given The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater a less than stellar 2-star review. This year, I am fearful to talk about this rating among those who love the book and the series as a whole. I guess this is all due to the passionate closeness for which we hold those books (or items) that we hold so dear. We take any critique against the favored book (or item) as an affront to our own personal character, the author and/or the characters with which we feel a connection.

The result? Pandemonium… Or, at the very least, awkwardness between friends.

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Is there a point to all this? Um, I think there was, but I lost track of it.

Basically this: Our reactions or feelings about books (or other things) usually derive from our own uniquely individual lives, our personal convictions, good and/or bad timing, and various other factors. The way we speak about books (or other things) also varies based on personality, emotions and various social factors. It’s easy to become heated about those things in which we believe and/or that we love, but how we choose to discuss or act upon those beliefs is up to us.

I have learned that, although books will forever polarize readers, I enjoy this specific type of bookish division among friends. Discussion about individual books results in more books sales; the more we discuss, the more they sell. So discuss away my fellow book nerds! Discuss every little thing you dislike (or, more preferably, LOVE) about My Lady Jane. Discuss all you want about the wonderful joys (or frustrations) that A Court of Thorns and Roses and The Raven King brought into your lives! Discuss, discuss, discuss about anything of which we may have differing opinions!

…And I will smile and nod and promise not to squash you.

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If you have read My Lady Jane let me know what you thought!
This space is for open-minded and passionate discussion, so have at it…

Which leads us to…

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Just because I want to support My Lady Jane any way that I can, anyone who comments on this post or talks w/ @Bookiemoji (and others) on Twitter with the hashtag #PositiveYA will be entered to win a copy of My Lady Jane!
Ends May 31, 2016 to anywhere The Book Depository or Amazon ship.
Must be 13 or older to enter. Void where prohibited.

48 comments

    • Chantal says:

      Oh yea i forgot to say amazing review one of the best i have ever read on here. Horse gifs and puns on point :].

  1. Vivien says:

    You are amazing. What a fabulous post!! We need to spread the positive feelings all around. Too much negative goes on in our daily lives. Anything outside of that should be happy! 😀

    • Jenna says:

      I am so over negativity. I figure that as long as we can speak our positive or negative opinions about BOOKS (and agree to disagree over whether or not we like them) the bookish world will still be a very happy place! Books are our unity! Yay for bookish people! 🙂

    • Jenna says:

      If you like it, be sure to read The Princess Bride. Or if you already have read and liked that book, read this one as quickly as you can get your hands on it!! 🙂

  2. Linda Crossett says:

    I love it when people can talk about books and agree to disagree without getting nasty when someone fails to appreciate a perfect awesome book. Looking forward to LOTS of good books this summer! Bartlett Academy Library

  3. Cali W. says:

    This book is written by some of my favorite authors; I really can’t wait to read it. 🙂 Great review and five stars; I really want to read this now!

  4. Nastassja says:

    When you mentioned the similarity with The Princess Bride, I instantly decided My Lady Jane is going to be on my to-read shelf!. I adore The Princess Bride and My Lady Jane sounds like a lot of fun!

    Fabulous review, Jenna! 🙂

  5. Susan says:

    I cannot wait to read this book. One of my favorite time periods in history is the reign of Henry VIII and it’s aftermath. Interested to see how these ladies spin Lady Jane Gray.

  6. Danielle says:

    Just finished this one! I had started my advance e-ARC when I received a real, live, true ARC in my mailbox!!! So excited. Anyway, this book was so, so fun! I did not end up giving it 5 stars, but it was a solid 4.5. Light, fun, funny, crazy. I need more. I don’t care if it’s a side story about Gracie or if the authors pick another tragedy to rewrite. And that cover! Anyway, great review, great puns, great gifs. 😉 And, hey, maybe if someone angers you enough with their dislike of this books, you’ll go all Edian on them!

  7. Tachelle says:

    I was not sure about My Lady Jane at first but now I am looking forward to picking this book up. I love hearing your thoughts. They are always fun to read.

  8. Kara S says:

    Hi, this is the first time I’ve read your blog — although I am an avid book blog connoisseur I tend to stick with what I know. Anyway, I’m happy to be here — drawn by this giveaway opportunity for what I consider a must-read in YA for this year.

    I thank you for this very helpful analysis of this reading experience. Your thoughts confirmed my confidence that I will find this a rewarding read (even if it doesn’t reach and exceed the highest of my hopes). The specificity of your comments confirmed the presence of specific qualities of import to me — for example, accurate historical contextualization of religious conflicts, and especially a keen attention to gender inequalities (not just in hist fic).

    Interestingly, however, the comparison to The Princess Bride checked my increasingly highbrow hopes. This makes your review the kind that really goes the extra mile for me. To state the positive features we both appreciate as readers is not as unusual as insights which resonate and evoke different attitudes as a reader. Anyway, about the aforementioned film, to me it is a classic comfort from childhood that I make no apologies for appreciating as an proudly intellectual adult. However, when I read the novel in HS I thought it was much worse. The narrative voice was too pleased with it’s not that sharp witticisms.

    Did you notice any postive or negative differences in style between the novel and the film?

    Thanks for your insights and this chance to win! I assume I have entered through this comment. Please advise if I must also Tweet if you notice my mistake. Thanks, Kara S

  9. HollyB says:

    Jenna! Love love love this post! I saw several people on Twitter yesterday complaining about people giving all kinds of spoilers for The Raven King, ACOMAF, and others. I absolutely hate it when people act like Twitter is a private conversation and don’t worry about giving spoilers, or at the least don’t even say, “warning, spoilers ahead!” But I also saw a number of tweets from people (including you) about others getting mean/rude/nasty with others about which fictional character should’ve ended up with which other fictional character…. and it reminded me of the discourse (though that’s a nice word for it) around politics right now. I mean, how can we expect our younger citizens to do better than our “adults” are doing when it comes to debating sides?? I agree wholeheartedly that it should be a much more positive discussion – or else, ya know, just don’t say anything at all! That’s what my mama taught me, anyway. Whether or not a person likes the same book you do does not determine their integrity, strength of character, or intelligence, for goodness sake! Let’s be civil about it, at least. It *also* brings to mind the online bullying and threats made against female gamers who speak out against sexism in the industry and in games themselves – these attacks on character meant to belittle a person’s opinions (or even draw attention away from the FACTS they’re presenting) should have no place anywhere, much less within the book community. Let’s not act like those bullies whose behavior we abhor! We should all be welcoming and inclusive of differing opinions and beliefs, or else we won’t be a “community” for long.

    On a related topic, I do read negative reviews for books that I’ve loved, so I can get a feel for why they didn’t click with other people (in cases where it’s not obvious to me why it might turn some people off, like it was obvious for you why some might not like MLJ), but the one thing I can’t stand in such reviews is when the reviewer starts going off on the author instead of discussing the book. Come on, folks, you can critique a book without getting nasty and calling the author stupid, saying a 4th grader could’ve written it, saying they must condone rape because there’s a rape scene, etc etc ad nauseum. Right?! Review THE BOOK. Don’t denigrate the author – OR the other people who actually did love the book! – to make yourself seem big or tough or clever, or to get “likes” on your reviews. Ugh.

    Okay, went off on a tangent there… 😉 but basically I loved this piece, loved your horse puns and GIFs, and *desperately* want to read MLJ!!! Lady Jane Grey is a historical figure I have particular interest in, and she lived in a time period I love to read about and research. I’m excited to also read a book that has some great humor! Sounds good right about now!

  10. Marian Lindfe Reyes says:

    I have been anticipating this book for a long time! You made a great review, thank you for the giveaway!

  11. Carina Olsen says:

    EEEE 😀 YAY for writing a blog post Jenna. <3 You are awesome. I loved loved loved reading your thoughts about this book 😀 YAY! I also loved it SO MUCH. It was so cute. And fun. And awesome. I never laugh at things, so I didn't laugh at this either, but I did find this book to be funny even so 🙂 I laugh inside, lol. But anyway 😀 I'm so so so happy that you loved it so much Jenna. <3 All the hugs. So thrilled 🙂 YAY. And aw, I'm heartbroken that you gave The Raven King only two stars 🙁 I'm nervous about reading it now. Ack. Hope I will love it, hih 🙂 Thank you for sharing this amazing review sweetie. <3

  12. Lori Meyer says:

    I am really excited about your new book “My Lady Jane”! I loved the Princess Bride, and your book sounds like it is too! Can’t wait to read it!!

  13. _Sandra_ says:

    Great review and post, can’t wait to grab my copy! It’s been on my TBR list since I heard about it, big fan of all three authors. Also the fact that everybody and their mother has been raving about it just got me even more excited.
    BTW, freaking hilarious emojis are freaking hilarious! 😀

  14. Alice @ Arctic Books says:

    Lovely review! I haven’t read any books by any of the authors, but I’m most familiar with Jodi Meadows because I have her Orphan Queen duology. I love historical fiction with fantasy, so this book is right up my alley!!

  15. Meredith Miller says:

    I haven’t read anything by these authors, but like that they collaborated to write a book that sounds like it would leave someone with a smile.

  16. Amanda says:

    I cannot wait to get my hands on this book! I have a feeling that I would find it hilarious as well. 🙂 As for the discussion bit… When everyone is a bit more open-minded, great things happen! I’ve thought of a book I loved differently because of some discussion. That doesn’t mean that I dislike it now, it’s just that I can see where other people are coming from with their dislike. Thank you for posting this! I think it’s something that more people should hear. 🙂

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