Jane, Unlimited

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Sep 2017

Member Reviews

What a weird, wonderful, original book. It’s got a cute dog, a sprawling mansion on an isolated island, umbrellas, priceless art, spies, a library worthy of the Beast, velociraptors, pirates, parallel universes, Doctor Who pajamas, y’know, all the typical stuff you find in YA Lit. 

Grieving her adventurous aunt who tragically died during an expedition to Antarctica and feeling lost, Jane jumps at the chance to spend some time at Tu Reviens, the island mansion home of Kiran, a family friend. Upon arriving, Jane is overwhelmed by the size and opulence of the mansion and by the quirkiness of the assorted people currently staying at the house (only a few of them family members). She’s thrilled to have her own suite of rooms, space to create her art (though she wouldn’t call it that, Jane makes umbrellas), and a new constant companion in Jasper the Basset Hound (don’t worry, he doesn’t die - dogs always seems to die in books). She’s not so thrilled and definitely confused by the mysteries that abound, including who stole the Brancusi sculpture, what happened to the Vermeer, how did Charlotte (Kiran’s stepmother) disappear, did some of the people in the house have something to do with the kidnapping of two infamous children, and more. Early in the story, after all of these mysteries are set up, Jane arrives at a crossroads. Does she follow Mrs. Vanders, the little girl, Kiran, Ravi (Kiran’s twin brother), or Jasper the dog? Fortunately for the reader, she makes each choice. Author, Kristin Cashore, brilliantly writes what would happen if Jane made the choice to follow each of these characters. Because of what the reader learns about parallel universes, at the end, we know that these were not just “choose your own adventure” type of choices or some kitschy writing technique; Jane did, indeed, make each of these choices. Cashore writes this in a way that isn’t overly repetitive (genius). It does get a bit confusing at times but overall it’s just original and whimsical.

Without having read anything about the plot of this story, the second Jane arrived at the mansion and met the housekeeper, Mrs. Vanders, I knew that this book would somehow include a nod to one of my favorite novels, Rebecca (some of the major plot points of which include the mansion Manderley and a super-creepy housekeeper named Mrs. Danvers). I also detected some Jane Eyre and Alice in Wonderland influences. Many parts of the book had me thinking of the movies Sliding Doors and The Royal Tenenbaums. In Cashore’s notes, she discusses the Rebecca and Bronte references and mentions several others, too. I love how she took her loves and influences and turned them into this creative piece of literature. Although I loved and appreciated this book, I know many won’t. It’s definitely out there and will only appeal to strong-reading, literature-appreciating teens, and adults. I’m also sure that many fans of the Graceling series will be disappointed that Cashore’s long-awaited follow-up wasn’t more of the same. To them, I say just reread Graceling. I’m glad to see Cashore branching out and can’t wait to see what her genius brain comes up with next.
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I am currently purchasing books for our secondary school library for our senior students. I am trying to provide a balance of genres and periods and really try and introduce them to a wide range of modern fiction. This book would definitely go down well with a hypercritical teenage audience as it has a bit of everything - great characterisation and a narrative style that draws you in and keeps you reading whilst also making you think about a wide range of issues at the same time. I think that school libraries are definitely changing and that the book we purchase should provide for all tastes and reflect the types of books that the students and staff go on to enjoy after leaving school. Jane... is the kind of book that you can curl up with and totally immerse yourself in and I think it will definitely go down well at my school. I think that it was the perfect blend of page-turning fiction with a strong narrative voice too! I think it would be a big hit with our seniors and will definitely recommend that we buy a copy as soon as we can.
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I was expecting a bit more from this book. I really enjoyed the author's Graceling books, but this one was much more of a difficult read for me. The world where the story took place was intricate, but slightly confusing at times. And it definitely took me longer to get invested in the story and its characters that Cashore's other work.
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Jane might be my new favorite character. I loved her spirit and I adored the format of this book. It was wonderful to see Cashore write in a new world and do it so brilliantly.
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I ah e loved KC’a other books but this one didn’t speak to me, plot wise.  The characters were incredibly beautiful built as usual as the setting vivid.  But I read that the purpose was to take the reader through various different types of fiction in one story and since I didn’t see it, I must assume it is a fault of my education.  If you start this book and enjoy it, read it to the end.  But if it isn’t calling to you early on, let it go.
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Jane, Unlimited was the most bizarrely, unique book I have ever read. It was so different from anything else but man did it go off the rails at times. Oddly enough I really enjoyed it even in its utter whackiness. I love how Cashore wrote a modern day 'choose your own adventure' book but with a twist. Her use of genres was interesting and nothing I have seen before. Half the time I had no idea what I was reading and where things were going and that was the fun of it all. All in all a read like I had never experienced before.
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At the end of this book my main thought was... what??? To be fair, I took a big break while reading this book to read a book for Book Club, but when I came back to it I was still confused and remained confused for the majority of the book. Maybe it's just not my thing. I did like the book overall - it made me think and I enjoyed getting to know the characters over and over again.
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This book departs from Kristin Cashore's earlier books, in that it is not solely about world building or fantastic pursuits or a heroine's journey. However, this book is about all of those things, and that is what makes it difficult to qualify for a review. Do you like Cashore's other books for their strong female leads? Then you may like Jane, or some version of her in this book. Do you prefer action and quests? Then you may like some of this book's more intense sequences of action. Do you prefer character development and witty dialogue between lovable, mysterious rogues? Perhaps you will find something to like in this novel.
Clearly, there's a lot to like in this book. It's just hard to find the right way to recommend this book to find the right reader, because it won't be for everyone. It's worth taking a dive into to see whether or not it hits your buttons, and perhaps a second reading will reveal more solid ground with which to make a secure recommendation.
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Are we the sum of our choices, or does each choice spin us off in a new reality? Jane get the chance to visit Tu Reviens, the place her dead aunt made her promise to go if she ever got the chance. Once there, Jane seems to live several versions of the present, each changed by a different choice on who to follow. Mysteries are solved, expanded, and multiplied. 

While this is technically fantasy, fans expecting a more Graceling like setting will be disappointed. I did enjoy this one, but it felt like a slow starter, and took quite a while to get into. I'd give it to good readers who like variations on a theme and mysteries to solve. The magical realism made me put it in fantasy, but I've moved it to mystery to see if it gets more attention there.
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Cashore is a literary innovator, and I think she deserves far more wide-spread acclaim. Would recommend.
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This is probably the strangest book I have ever read and I am not sure if I loved it or not. I am probably in the minority when I say I loved the first part and was a bit more meh on the last parts. Once I started reading it I could barely put it down. This included the first two “choose your own adventure” sections. It was the final sections that threw me a bit when we started switching genres and going weird.

Jane, Unlimited is hard to describe. Jane is an orphan who was raised by her aunt Magnolia. Magnolia was an underwater photographer who died on her last expedition to Antarctica. Jane runs into her old tutor Kiran who invites her to Tu Reviens. The Thrash family is super rich and have built this frankenstein house on their own private island. It is a mismatch of stolen houses all fitted together and filled with people and priceless art. Jane is introduced to the staff and guests of Tu Reviens and comes to realize that everyone has secrets and most of them are lying about something.

At a certain point Jane has to choose who to follow to ask her questions and that is when the choose your own adventure starts. Each person leads to a different story and conclusion. The stories build for the reader as we become aware of more of the background even though Jane doesn’t carry her knowledge through on each adventure. There are five different people to question and five different paths to follow. One involves spies, one an art heist, one the missing stepmother, one multiple dimensions and the last an otherworldly dog. Each is written as a different genre and they get progressively stranger.

Two days after finishing the book I am still torn on what I thought of it. It is undeniably genius and very well crafted. Plus there are awesome umbrellas and a lot of talk about raining frogs. I also loved the characters and how they all fit together. I loved that the relationships were fluid and diverse. I loved the dog Jasper. And I did truly love Jane. So maybe I loved the book? Despite its weirdness or because of it? You’ll have to read it and decide for yourself.
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Loved it! So well written and intricately plotted out. Reminded me a bit of Barbara Michaels.
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When I found out the Kristen Cashore had written another book, I immediately got super excited. I loved her Graceling series, so I had to get my hands on Jane, Unlimited, and let me tell you, it was completely different from Graceling, and I LOVED it! 
I loved the summary, Jane's character got better as the book progressed, and there were so many possibilities that could have occurred in this book, I didn't know what Jane was going to do! So much action and adventure! I want more please!
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I tried so hard. But after about the 3rd time through I just wasn't working for me at all and I was bored.
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It’s a strange multiple stories novel that never successfully carries off the complicated plot. Very intelligent but also confusing.
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This was NOT the book that I was expecting from Kristen Cashore after so many years of missing her writing. However, I can't say that I was disappointed. She still brings her characters alive in a way that speaks to me deeply and her beautiful writing could carry me through the most boring of stories. Luckily, this was certainly not a boring story.
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It took me a little while to get into this book, and I was a little confused at first. I'm so glad I stuck with it! Jane shows us how seemingly small decisions lead to consequences from the everyday to the fantastic. A modern Gothic puzzle of a story!
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So I was a little skeptical of what amounts to a Choose Your Own Adventure for teens. But the beginning pulled me in with an Agatha Christie meets Doctor Who vibe. And it delivers. Jane is a fascinating character and the house and the people who live in it are equally intriguing. The set up works and explains itself in one of the plot lines.

The different worlds work well, too. I don't want to reveal too much, but be prepared for Jane Eyre, Rebecca, and Bradbury with spies, art thieves, possession, and a bit of romance (although maybe not with who you expect). And the dog! Who doesn't love a cool and lovable dog?
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Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy for review - in exchange, here it is - my honest review! All opinions are my own and do not reflect the view of any organization that I am affiliated with. 

oh DAMN this book is not what I expected at all! I thought it was fantasy, and boy was it... and on top of that, it was a detective story and a thriller and a multiverse-portal caper and a psychological horror (horrible things happy to Winnie the Pooh) and a....n urban fantasy? I don't even know. 

Imagine you're grieving the death of your beloved relative, the last relative you had in this world. And now imagine that your friend from college, a rich and disattached friend, invites you to her house for a gala. The house that your dead relative specifically told you to visit if you ever had the chance. A whole bunch of people and situations start converging in on each other, and there's so much to pursue and untangle that your head spins. There's art forgery and a stubborn Basset hound and a cute servant girl and a gruff housekeeper and a small girl and a British man with a gun. You just have to make the right choice at the crossroads of 5 options. And you're in luck: we get to explore all possibilities!

I love multiverse books and I freaking love parallel narratives and exploring every nook and cranny of a story and intertwined plot lines and eek! Shivers of delight and joy. You should read this book if you're a completist when it comes to video games, if you're willing to leave all expectations at the door, and if you enjoy reading about jellyfish.
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Jane, Unlimited is like the TARDIS — bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside. On the outside, this is a story about a young woman named Jane who's still grieving the death of her parent-figure, Aunt Magnolia. Following a last instruction from her aunt, she accepts an invitation to stay at the island of Tu Reviens, where paths lead in many directions.

That's the outside. On the inside, this is a sprawling chaos of potential realities, some a sci-fi romp (space pirates!), some sad and uneasy, some happy and complicated. Each possibility feeds the reader more information about the intriguing and confusing world of Tu Reviens, as well as getting closer and closer to the answer to Jane's question: What happened to Aunt Magnolia?

This book is almost impossible to describe, but it makes for compelling (and confusing) reading, full of allusions to classics such as Rebecca and The Yellow Wallpaper for those who can spot them. If I had to pick two words to describe Jane, Unlimited, I'd have to go with fun and serious.
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