Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

 

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*I read this book in August 2017 and reviewed it then. I read this as an ARC as part of #ARCAugust. I received this ARC as part of Miss Print’s ARC adoption program (Thank you, thank you, thank you!). As always, this is my honest opinion.

Well, that was the strangest book I’ve ever read.

Summary:

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.
Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.
Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

For some reason, while I was reading this book, I could only think about the game Clue. I kept expecting a, “It was Coronel Mustard in the library with the candlestick,” reveal at the end. It might have been because the first two “versions” of the story had a “whodunit” feel to them, with more mystery and intrigue than the other three.

The other three were just plain weird.

This book is really hard to describe and therefore review. It’s safe to say, you’ve never read a book like it, and most likely never will again. Cashore originally wrote this as a “Choose your own adventure” book, and I think it definitely shows.

Jane, Unlimited is like reading five books in one, five different choices are presented and you learn bits of each one and there’s different outcomes in each, but there’s no solid ending, nothing that ties it together. So, you’re left wondering if there was a point to reading the same story five different times.

It definitely keeps you invested, though, and you want to know what happens in the different versions, even as one is stranger than the next.

After three different versions of the story, I started mixing elements up and it became a little more confusing to keep up with the story. I knew things that the character didn’t because they hadn’t happened in this version of the story, and it made it a little harder to keep up. Also, while there were variations to certain things that were repeated, it still got tiresome to read the same information over and over again.

I enjoyed this book, and in a way, it reminded me of how it felt to read We Were Liars. The intrigue and mystery is there, the odd writing style works, and the story is engaging. There were things I very much enjoyed, and things I didn’t like quite so much, but it was an experience, and one worth checking out if you like strange things.

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