DNF @ 52%
This is very disappointing to me. Kristin Cashore's Graceling series is one of my absolute favourite teen fantasy series ever!! I recommend it and buy it for people constantly.
So when Cashore announced Jane, Unlimited I was (I'll be honest) a bit disappointed it was a contemporary but then learned it had some sort of time fluctuation in it. So I was intrigued. Yet here I am giving up on it (and I tried for two weeks to keep at it, which in my reading world is forever). Now my favourite genres are fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction. So the time wonkiness is not new to me and as a Whovian I embrace lots of anomalies and oddness. Just want to put out there that the time aspect is not at all why I disliked this book.
Let's talk a bit about why:
As always Cashore has created interesting, quirky and memorable characters. I have no complaints in this department. Well except that maybe there isn't enough about the friend who takes her to the odd mansion for a gala. But otherwise no complaints. I also foresee a lot of people adding Ravi to their book boyfriend list and a character that charming is never a bad thing right? 😉
Interestingly my biggest complaint here is that it's a bit too haphazard. There is no real indicator when the timeline has shifted. You have to just figure that out as you read. While I get that this is intentionally like this to confuse the reader and put them in a certain mindset I just found it irritating overall.
Otherwise there's a lot of plot. Between the gala planning, art theft, weird family dynamics, suspicious servants, etc there's lots of variety to keep you interested.
Why I Gave Up
I know it's confusing after my above comments to figure out why I gave up on Jane, Unlimited. So here's the thing:
- Our main gal is annoying. Instead of feeling sympathy when I should have (with the exception of the first few pages) I was just annoyed by her.
- The lead gal never seems to wonder or be concerned about what happens AFTER the gala and she presumably goes back to her destitute life. This would be a HUGE concern for me personally were I in her shoes.
- The largest annoyance by far: there is no logical reason for why our MC is even there!! At no point could I ever figure out why she was invited to the mansion, takes everything she owns with her, doesn't get super uncomfortable and just hide 90% of the time after having breakfast with a bunch of strangers, or not being seriously concerned that her room is far away from her (supposed) friends and why her friend who invited her is never around and leaves Jane to fend for herself. And the response of her Aunt telling her to go to the mansion if ever invited is an okay reason for Jane to have accepted the invitation it still doesn't explain why this semi-not seen in forever friend invited her.
- It was just boring. I think it might have been our main gal, but I'm not sure. All I can say is that I have no interest in finding out who did what, why or when. The mystery is so abstract because (with a shifting timeline) there is an infinite number of possibilities available to solve any and all mysteries. This is not interesting to me at all.
- Finally there is no understanding or even much focus on the time situation (as in how and why it's happening), or even an attempt for our MC to figure out what is happening. Maybe in ten more pages after I stopped that started but I didn't see it going there. And again at the point I stopped just didn't care.
So thanks for those that read through my somewhat long list of reasons. If you didn't read it, to sum it all up: I just didn't care.
I will still read Cashore in the future and this doesn't change my opinion of Graceling series at all.
But I do hope the next book is a little less like Jane, Unlimited and a little more like Graceling and it's companion novels.
As it's mid-January 2018 while I write this I'm hoping this remains my most disappointing read of the year; because I can't currently imagine being this more disappointed than I currently am.
PS: if you want to read a good time travel book, albeit not a teen book, read Dark Matter. It's brilliant, Michael Crichton-esque and a rollicking, fun and fast-paced read.