Review by Emily Battaglia, 17

My Contrary Mary By Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

My Contrary Mary, written by the fantastic trio of female authors, is an epic retelling of the historical incidents surrounding Mary, Queen of Scots. Set in the midst of Renaissance France, the novel shrewdly navigates a royal court oozing with drama, betrayal, and… mice?

Although My Contrary Mary is not the authors’ first foray into the e∂ian world, it is not difficult for a new reader to pick up, even if they haven’t read the popular Lady Jane series. Likewise, the ease in which the reader immediately sinks into the world is remarkable, and an agreeable consequence to the unique style of the narration. From the very first page, the fourth wall is shattered. The omniscient, quick-witted narrators make an appearance, and become as much a character as any of the historical personalities depicted. While in some books, the carefree disturbance of the fourth wall can disrupt flow and generate annoyance, that is not the case in My Contrary Mary. The narrator’s intermittent input adds a layer of dynamism to the plot, and furthers the tone favoring fun, controlled chaos. And the drama is truly chaotic.

From larger-than-life-characters to humans who transform into their animal, or e∂ian form—there is never a dull moment in My Contrary Mary. In addition to the contributions of the narrators, readers are also whisked alongside the accounts of the three main characters: Aristotle Nostradamus (the daughter of a renowned seer), Francis (the crown prince of France), and Mary, (Queen of Scots). While the use of perspective was exceptional, the characters themselves were rather average. Ari was a foolish, stagnant character who never had a personality beyond her romantic relationship, and Francis conveniently grew a spine only in the last few pages of the novel. Mary, with her spunk and wit was more interesting, yet fell into the same trap of irresponsibility and unlikeability as the others at times. Nonetheless, the eccentric style of narration and historical setting made My Contrary Mary a relatively enjoyable read in the end.

4 stars.

Find this book in our catalog: N/A

Catalog Number: N/A

512 pages

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