Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:
Other books planned to be in the series:
Synopsis for My Contrary Mary (from Goodreads):
Welcome to Renaissance France, a place of poison and plots, of beauties and beasts, of mice and . . . queens?⠀
Mary is the queen of Scotland and the jewel of the French court. Except when she’s a mouse. Yes, reader, Mary is an Eðian (shapeshifter) in a kingdom where Verities rule. It’s a secret that could cost her a head – or a tail.⠀
Luckily, Mary has a confidant in her betrothed, Francis. But after the king meets a suspicious end, things at the gilded court take a treacherous turn. Thrust onto the throne, Mary and Francis are forced to navigate a viper’s nest of conspiracies, traps, and treason. And if Mary’s secret is revealed, heads are bound to roll.⠀
This is a spinoff of the My Lady Janies Series.
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Standalone Retellings
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Retelling, Humour, Parody, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: June 2021 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I have a bit of a so-so relationship with the My Lady Janies Series. I didn’t *love* it but I enjoyed the idea of spinning well known history and there were some moments of brilliance interspersed with moments of silliness. I wasn’t sure if I was going to pick up this series but when I read that the first book was about Mary Queen of Scots–a historical figure I knew a decent amount about–I was willing to give them a shot.
What I Liked:
–I Was Familiar with the History–
Part of my struggle with the Jane Series was that I wasn’t overly familiar with all the history of our lead characters. So certain scenes and how they unfold were a little lost on me. I couldn’t see the intelligent spin the authors put on the historical moments.
But I do know the history of Mary Queen of Scots because I researched her story after I started watchin the TV Series Reign. As I often do with series that are based on history, I read the history and learn what history says happened, not the creative license TV shows or movies sometimes take.
So I think I got a little more out of this story because I could see how the Eðian (shapeshifting) aspects puts a spin on notable history events.
I laughed a lot thanks to the audiobook. I learned with the Jane Series that the audiobooks were the way to go for me to get the most out of the humour. But there is a lot of play on words and other aspects that made me appreciate the efforts the authors put into weaving this tale.
What I Didn’t Like:
–Sometimes It Gets Silly–
I have a bit of a love-hate thing with the Eðian aspect. It’s a fun idea and helps explain some of the prejudices of the time. But sometimes, I think it gets a little silly and distracts from the realism of these historical events. Having read the Jane series, I knew what to expect when it comes to these twists but I’m still torn on how much I actually like them in the books.
My Audiobook Experience:
I learned my lesson with the last series that the humour and dry wit comes across better when I listen to these books as audiobooks so that’s what I did for this series. I definitely enjoyed the audiobook production and I do think it contributes positively to my reading experience.
My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:
I’m a little undecided about continuing on with this series. I’m not a huge Mary Shelley fan and the synopsis for the second book doesn’t overly excite me. I like Fae stories though….we will see. Right now I’ve marked it as a pass on Goodreads.
My Rating: 3/5
My Contrary Mary 3/5 | My Imaginary Mary TBP | Book 3 TBP
Fans of the original Jane series will be excited for another round of historical hijinks! And new fans will appreciate the clever weaving of fantasy and history — so long as you know what you are getting into before you pick it up.
Read if You Like: historical retellings with fantasy spins, parodies
Avoid if You: dislike satires/parodies
- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Montague Siblings Series #1)
- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
- Love, Lies and Spies by Cindi Anstey
Of all the things to shift into.. a mouse? That must be frustrating.
I don’t know if I’ll read this series but it sounds like an undeniably unique reading experience.
Thanks so much for sharing!
Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of her shifting into a mouse either. Perhaps if she used it to her advantage more to spy on what was going on in the court instead of just eating sweet treats I might have appreciated the choice of animal more.
You’re kidding.. that’s where they went with that? I mean, a mouse is already kind of unimpressive, but to make it so.. wait.. what? No. Just no.