Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Release date: September 19, 2017
An ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
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.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Jane, Unlimited was a very unexpected book. It was written in third-person present tense, which tripped me up a bit (I'm used to first-person present tense and third-person past tense), but Jane was an interesting main character. She was a bit passive at times but very curious, and I loved that her passion was umbrellas of all things. I loved hearing about her creations and endeavors. The cast of secondary characters is fairly large, and I felt some didn't get enough description for how often they were mentioned. (I seriously believed Cook was the cook for, like, half the book.) I'm seriously puzzled by Kiran still, and her plotline felt so unresolved. I liked Ivy, Patrick, and Ravi best of the secondary characters, but their plotlines all felt unresolved as well. I don't need happily ever afters and perfectly tied-up endings, but I do like more resolution than what Jane, Unlimited gives readers.
After the initial section when Jane arrives at Tu Reviens, the book divides into five paths, and you definitely can't pick and choose which you want to read because information from earlier paths trickles into the later ones (also it's kind of fun to realize you know what's going on in one plotline while Jane has involved herself in another). I liked the first two paths best - one is about art and an art theft, the other about...well it would be a spoiler to tell you. However, after those two sections, Jane, Unlimited took a weird turn into fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi that totally threw me. I knew there would be a teeny bit of fantasy with how much they talked about the house being alive, but I did not expect all of the crazy stuff that happened in the last three sections. The section about Charlotte's disappearance could have been done really well (especially with the Winnie-the-Pooh references), but I never felt like I understood why the books were different and once again, the section was not resolved well. And once the final two sections took the turns they did, I stopped caring about the characters because nothing felt believable by any stretch of the imagination.
Some f-bombs and s-words.
The Verdict: An interesting book that turned weird. I was disappointed.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: No.