This is such a weird book and I loved it. There were some plot holes here and there which is the only reason why I am giving this 4 stars.
This is an alternate story to Lady Jane and here is some information for you people out there who don’t know who Lady Jane Grey is.
Lady Jane Grey (1536/1537 – 12 February 1554), also known as Lady Jane Dudley or the Nine-Day Queen, was an English noblewoman and de facto monarch of England and Ireland from 10 July until 19 July 1553.The great-granddaughter of Henry VII through his younger daughter Mary, Jane was a first cousin once removed of Edward VI. In May 1553, she was married to Lord Guildford Dudley, a younger son of Edward’s chief minister, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. When the 15-year-old king lay dying in June 1553, he nominated Jane as successor to the Crown in his will, thus subverting the claims of his half-sisters Mary and Elizabeth under the Third Succession Act. Jane was imprisoned in the Tower of London when the Privy Council decided to change sides and proclaim Mary as queen on 19 July 1553. Jane was convicted of high treason in November 1553, which carried a sentence of death, although her life was initially spared. Wyatt’s rebellion of January and February 1554 against Queen Mary I’s plans to marry Philip of Spain led to the execution of both Jane and her husband).
In this alternate story, the entire world (at least England, Scotland, and France) have humans (Verities) and Edians (human beings who can shape-shift into animals).
We find out King Henry VIII could turn into a lion and from there his different wives were either Verities or Edians. England right now has many Verities who want to wipe out the Edians totally.
This story has three different POVs and each works quite well. We have King Edward VI (the boy king who dies in our history), Lady Jane (Queen of England and Ireland for 9 days) and her husband Gifford (otherwise known as G).
I have to say my favorite POV was honestly Edward. He tries to be a good king, but once he is told he has “The Affliction” he knows that he will die soon. He is led to bypass his two half sisters (Mary and Bess) in the line of succession and instead names Jane instead.
We readers quickly find out that there are shenanigans afoot to put Jane on the throne as a figurehead only with her husband really being king. That quickly gets dealt with and somehow Mary gets put on the throne and is out to destroy Jane, G, and anyone else standing in her way since she wants to kill all Edians.
The overall plot really is about the Verities and Edians fighting it out (metaphors for the Catholics and the Protestants). I did mention some plot holes here and there, and one big one for me really is that there was this whole thing about our band of heroes going to France for help and King Edward talking to the current King of France about how terrible women are and they are not fit to rule (don’t worry Edward doesn’t believe it and feels sick even saying that out loud). The King agrees to help based on stopping Mary from sitting on the throne. However, with the ending, you are telling me the King of France did not get super ticked by those turn of events?
The fact that each of these author’s took a different POV and managed to make the plot run as smoothly as they did gives them high kudos from me. There are humorous comments made throughout the entire book that will have you smiling and even laughing. Some reviewers have likened this book to “The Princess Bride” or “Monty Python” in book form. I think those are great comparisons. If you like either of those things, I think this will be the book for you.
I thought the flow was just okay though. Sometimes it felt like we just got to a very interesting stopping point and then the story would be thrown to another character.
The setting in this alternate England really works. I loved the idea of people shape-shifting into animals. The random lines thrown out about King Henry VIII eating people who displeased me cracked me up too. I also loved finding out what animals some of our characters turned into as well.
The ending leaves us with a Happily Ever After and I for one was glad to see it.