Today I have Alyssa from The Book Assassin on the blog today with a review! Check her out 🙂
You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)
Or does she?
Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights
• Author(s): The Lady Janies! (Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows)
• Pages: 437 in the hardcover edition
• Series? Yes… This is actually the sequel, but you can easily read this one first, like I did (I like to live on the edge), and it’ll still make sense.
• Published 2018
This novel is honestly the epitome of wittiness. Wit for DAYS.
I absolutely adore gothic young adult novels. I’ll surely be in the news in a few years about being the first person to marry a gothic novel. I also love sarcasm and dry humor. Even better if a novel combines all of these. Here’s a passage and a couple quotes to give you an idea about the type of humor:
“‘He keeps [the key] locked in a room guarded by a three-headed dog, which drops into a pit of strangling vines, followed by a life-or-death life-size game of chess, which opens into a room with a locked door and a hundred keys on wings, and then there’s a mirror…’
Branwell gasped. ‘That’s horrible! That poor three-headed dog!’
‘I bet he just keeps it in his desk,’ Alexander said. “Are you sure that the obstacle course of death isn’t something else?’
Mrs. Rochester tilted her head. ‘Oh, I think you’re right.'” (394)
“First, his bumbling new assistant had contracted a man cold (which in pre-Victorian
England they believed to be far worse than a lady cold.)” (83)
“The ghost opened his mouth and a stream of flies buzzed out. Alexander had to confess he’d never seen that before.” (84)
I like how these authors used clichés to their advantage. I think a lot of writers are scared of clichés (I know I am, I avoid them like the plague), but these authors reclaimed a cliché and gave it new breath. A very satirical breath, to be exact. It’s hilarious to see writers poking fun at their own craft.
I liked all the characters, and I thought they all were funny, except I didn’t connect with any of them on an especially deep level. For example, the only defining characteristic that Branwell seems to have is that he makes an astounding number of silly mistakes, which usually causes trouble for the other characters. At times I even felt sorry for him, because no matter what he did, he just couldn’t seem to do anything right. Charlotte seemed to have single-minded focus on writing, all day every day, except when she very nearly died, and I wish she could have been developed a bit more to have more varied interests.
Similarly, Jane’s only interest was finding a family and painting. Although each of the characters added to the story and were charming in their own way, they seemed to be simplified personalities for the purpose of being comedic and easy to understand. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but I understand that some readers would want more oomph in their characters.
However, overall, My Plain Jane is a fun read, complete with racing carriages manned by maniacally laughing ghosts in top hats (at least the ghost was well dressed, if reckless), using teacups as weapons (almost as good as a frying pan. <- Tangled reference), bopping ghosts on the head, and pesky pre-Victorian potholes.
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Cheers, fellow bookworms! *clink*