Title: Jane, Unlimited
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction
Source: Purchased from Amazon
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If you could change your story, would you?
Jane has lived a mostly ordinary life, raised by her recently deceased aunt Magnolia, whom she counted on to turn life into an adventure. Without Aunt Magnolia, Jane is directionless. Then an old acquaintance, the glamorous and capricious Kiran Thrash, blows back into Jane’s life and invites her to a gala at the Thrashes’ extravagant island mansion called Tu Reviens. Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.”
What Jane doesn’t know is that at Tu Reviens her story will change; the house will offer her five choices that could ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But every choice comes with a price. She might fall in love, she might lose her life, she might come face-to-face with herself. At Tu Reviens, anything is possible.
To explain this book without going into spoilers is virtually impossible, but I’m going to try. I’m going to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, but no promises that we won’t get into some baby spoilers, nothing that ruins the book though. This is probably the most unique book I’ve ever read. When they call this one a genre-bender, they mean it. Think of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel with all of the possible endings different genres. Yeah, it’s confusing.
How this book is laid out actually makes some logical sense. Jane is invited to Tu Reviens by her friend Kiran and when there we’re introduced to the other main characters. The main set up is then provided that will be a similar theme in all the possible stories. The first chapter ends with Jane having to make a choice; each of the subsequent chapters shows the possible choice Jane could have made and the different genre the book could have been.
Not sure if these are actually spoilers, but I’m going to put the rest of the review here, but in case. The first chapter is a mystery, then a spy espionage story, followed by a paranormal story, then a sci-fi, and lastly a fantasy. However, you cannot skip over a section into the next one. There are some things that happen during each story that show up in other ones. We, the reader know the significance of these occurrences, but the characters in that path don’t.
It’s kind of confusing, but was a lot of fun. Watching each possible path and how this could have significantly altered Jane’s future was so interesting. It was also cool to see how each story slowly morphed into its genre. I listened to the audiobook for this one and it was cool listening to the same setup slowly morph into a drastically different story. Also, the order that the stories were presented in was really good. It felt like aspects that showed up in the later paths were only as enjoyable because you already know about it from the earlier stories.
Okay, actual spoilers now, but only for parts of the first path (the mystery). This particular story followed the mystery of the missing Vermeer and Jane eventually finds it. What was super cool was that Jane ended up revisiting several key moments from this story, but they of course never fully developed. She sees the outline of the painting or the fish but because she didn’t take that path, she doesn’t know the significance of it. I thought that was so cool for the reader to experience. It was like an easter egg, but also interesting to see how these moments would come into play in a different story. I also love how you don’t know which path was the actual path Jane took. You can speculate, but at least I didn’t see anything signifying that one path was the “right” path or that because one path was taken, another can’t be completed. Like there’s no reason she can’t solve the mystery then stumble upon the fantasy path, it’s just unlikely that she does.
One con that I did have with this book is that while the book as a whole was super unique, each genre did play into its own tropes. I feel like this was done to help the reader identify which genre it was, but I felt like some of the tropes weren’t needed. Overall though, it didn’t take away from the book. At least, not in my opinion.
This book is super hard to review without giving the entire story away. Honestly, I thought it was creative and a lot of fun. This book is the genre-bender it promises to be and the execution is great. While I didn’t love every scenario, I enjoyed the story as a whole. I also like how each story wraps up into a satisfying conclusion before jumping to the next possible option. This story was a lot of fun and I applaud Kristin Cashore for creating such a unique book. While this book has a high rating from me, it’s definitely not a new favorite. I’ll pick it up again when I’m in the mood for something different, but I’m not obsessed with it the way I was with Lunar Chronicles or Percy Jackson.
For readers begging for a new YA book that’s actually different, this is the book for you!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5 Stars