I don’t often pick books up at random anymore, but I chanced to see an interesting title at the library the other day. It turned out to be an excellent find: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore.
Nineteen-year-old Jane is an orphan who recently lost her beloved Aunt Magnolia, who raised her. Jane is unmoored and drifting when she bumps into Kiran, an old acquaintance, who on a whim invites Jane to come to Tu Reviens. This is Kiran’s family estate, a mansion on a private island. Jane doesn’t want to go, but her Aunt Magnolia made her promise to accept an invitation to Tu Reviens if it ever came. It proves to be a mansion full of mysteries, and every person there has secrets. Jane soon finds herself at a crossroads, a seemingly insignificant moment when she can choose which mystery to pursue. Jane only can see one choice–at a time–but the reader gets to see what happens as each choice takes her down a completely different path, dividing the bulk of the book into five sections, each exploring a different direction.
This is a masterfully created book, and as a writer I am genuinely in awe at how Cashore pulled this off. Each section of the book follows its own story, but it’s clear that all the elements from each section are happening in all of them–Jane just has different information, or sees different pieces. Later sections still have references relevant to earlier ones, and early ones have clues that aren’t explained until later ones. It’s incredible.
Equally as fun, I realized as I went through the book that each section is a different genre: mystery, spy thriller, horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Each one is beautifully done, both for its genre and as part of a larger, cohesive whole. The horror section was suitably horrifying, and the sci fi story added a little bit of meta explanation for the book’s structure–sort of. Continue reading “Book Review: Jane Unlimited”