Every once in a while I read something new and realize, “this is one of my authors.” And I will then track down everything that person has ever written, and (if they are alive) will wait eagerly for their next book. I don’t, of course, enjoy all books by these authors equally, but I always like to read them; even when an individual book doesn’t work for me, because of my relationship with that author’s writing I will read anything the author publishes, usually more than once.
Readers of this blog will already know: Kristin Cashore is one of these authors for me. I truly enjoy her writing, whether it’s a book or her blog. Her new book Jane, Unlimited will be released this fall, and I was lucky enough to get a (signed!) copy at ALA last week. Naturally it was on the top of my ALA pile.
I won’t spoil anything by saying that this book is very, very different from Cashore’s other three books – but at the same time, I can see connections. Imagine a mashup of a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, Run Lola Run, and Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler; add in a dash of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca; and write it explicitly for 21st century young adults and in Cashore’s inimitable style, and you’ll be there.
So yeah, it was a little weird. I liked it; it was both fun and interesting. I maybe wished for a little more tying-together of the various plots in some way, but I’ll see if that feeling persists on a re-read. I did gather (from the book’s acknowledgements) that Jane, Unlimited was, in original drafts, an actual choose-your-own adventure, written in second person and with various decision points. So maybe the lack of integration is deliberate. I also felt like the house, though definitely a character (more in some plots than others) was not as fully realized as it might have been, but again that might just be a first-read impression….
Whatever else one might say, though, Jane, Unlimited is both different and daring. I also found it fun. Definitely, I’ll be re-reading it.