I was so excited to be approved for this book on NetGalley! I really liked the Jane books and was looking forward to a new series about historical Marys. I received an eARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
I used to enjoy these books a lot more than I do now. I found the first Jane book to be really funny and I really liked the world that was created but my enjoyment has dwindled with each following book.
I really liked the subject matter of this book and the setting. This book just made me want to start watching Reign again, honestly. Of course neither the TV show nor this book are accurate depictions of Mary’s life or the world at that time but they both make for fun stories. I really liked the story being set in a French castle as well as the parts that take place in Scotland. The magical elements were still fun and I liked how the authors wove that in with history, making enough alterations to fit their story but still sticking with the general historical outline.
As much as I liked the settings and the subject I really didn’t care for the writing or the characters. Considering the writing is what really hooked me in the first Jane book, this is a big disappointment. I know these books are supposed to be silly but this one seemed almost too silly. Pure silly with nothing else going on, which ends up being pretty boring. I just wasn’t very invested in the book because it all seemed to be about the humor and less about the plot. Nothing ever truly felt like it was at stake so I was kind of bored throughout the book. The author interjections got to be a bit much by the ending and it overall felt like the writers were trying too hard to be funny and original that the other things like plot and characters fell by the wayside.
Mary in particular felt very naive and juvenile and that just didn’t sit right with me. I know that she was young but she was raised to be a queen. She stated multiple times throughout the book that she wished people would take her seriously, but she never actually seemed to do anything that would justify people viewing her in high regard. She was whiny, made dumb decisions, and just acted very young. This depiction just didn’t sit right with me and, even by the end of the book, I never felt interested in Mary or cared about her. I cared more about Ari, the only character who seemed to have any hint of real personality, drive, and sense. Francis just kind of seemed to be there, getting moved from scene to scene without really doing much.
I’m super bummed because I used to really like these books but I think they just aren’t for me anymore. I didn’t like most of the characters and found the writing to be tiring and distracting from the main storyline. As much as I wanted to love this book I just really didn’t. I don’t think that I’ll be reading more of these books, unfortunately. I love the concept of taking historical events and figures and adding a bit of magic and humor to create a new story, it just isn’t working out for me with these books anymore.