Tuesday, October 17, 2017

DNF Audiobook Review: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Title: Jane, Unlimited
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publication Date: September 19. 2017
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Pages: 464
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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. 

Oh, Jane. I wanted to love you, I really did. I actually started reading this book twice before I got the audiobook. Each time there was just something that stopped me from getting into it. Still, I knew I would LOVE a story about a weird house and the multiverse. Imagine my surprise when I suddenly realized I had absolutely no idea what was going on and finally just gave up.

Obviously, this is Jane's story. Jane has lived with her aunt since her parents died, but now her aunt is gone too. Upon the invitation of her friend Kiran (and remembering a promise she made to her aunt), Jane heads to Tu Reviens, a mansion on an island where a gala is being held. Once there, Jane... makes umbrellas.

Jane is a super weird character and I can't quite decide how I feel about her. I didn't hate her, but I was also mildly annoyed for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. She was almost too quirky to enjoy. She made a LOT of umbrellas and she talked about them non-stop. I DNFd this at 55% and I'm not quite sure where the romance was, but it seems like it could've gone one of two ways. Unfortunately I reached the end (yes, at 55%) and I really wish it had been delved into at least a little.

Something I did enjoy was the atmosphere Kristin Cashore created in Jane, Unlimited. From the first page things felt just a little bit off. There was never any one thing specifically that made me feel a little uneasy, but I definitely felt an overall sense of something being not quite right. Although, maybe that was unintentional?

So what did I hate about Jane, Unlimited? Remember two paragraphs ago when I said I reached the end at 55%? I reached the first of several endings. See, this book was first conceived of as a Choose Your Own Adventure story. For whatever reason, Cashore chose not to do that and instead this is a book with five endings. To read this book, you have to read five endings. I can only speak for the first one, but it did not feel complete at all. In fact, I didn't even realize it was the ending until I realized I was reading the same thing that had already happened earlier in the book. From what I've read in other reviews, the endings get weirder as they go, including aliens and talking dinosaurs? Maybe that last one was an exaggeration.

This really felt like half a book. The complete story was only about 200 pages long and absolutely nothing in this book was fully fleshed out. The characters never had a chance to develop, the story never had a chance to reach a satisfactory conclusion. I cannot imagine that with five more endings crammed in the last 200 pages, anything would have changed. I know that some people have really enjoyed Jane, Unlimited, but I honestly wouldn't recommend it. It definitely would have been better as a Choose Your Own Adventure, and who doesn't want to read one of those as an adult?