Infinite Choices

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Publication date September 19, 2017

Summary from Netgalley:

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 Jane, Unlimitedexpansive 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.

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ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.

I was so excited when I saw this on Netgalley.  I loved the Graceling series and was so looking forward to a new book by Kristin Cashore that I’m not even sure that I read the synopsis.  So I had no idea what I was in for.  I will confess that I almost didn’t finish this.  I unfortunately started it when I was a bit jet lagged and my tired, fuzzy brain couldn’t handle it.  So I decided that this was the issue, not the book and started it again when I was better rested.  I also decided that it was the way my kindle app was formatting the book and made it hard to read.  Once I switched to the Blue Fire reader, things got even better.  Let this be a lesson to you, don’t start complicated books and poorly formatted books when you are really tired.  You won’t enjoy them.

Once I got a handle on the book it was pure joy to read.  It is really five different stories that all tie together and tell one complete story.  Wait did that make sense. It really is hard to explain without giving anything away.  Let’s say it is like a choose your own adventure story (remember those?) but instead of skipping around you just read straight through the five stories.  Still sounds confusing doesn’t it, don’t worry just go with it and it will eventually make sense.  

I loved Jane, she was smart and a little sassy and very creative.  I would certainly buy one of her umbrellas as they sounded amazing and beautiful.  I loved the way she could totally immerse herself in creating one of them and not care about what was going on around her. She also was very curious about what was really going on in Tu Reviens and even though some of her choices led her into some interesting stories, she did what needed to be done and got through it.  

There are many characters that Jane interacts with on the island, the amount of interactions varied from story to story so it was sometimes hard to relate to the other characters.  Their personalities also changed somewhat depending on the story.  But I really liked Kiran in most of the stories, even when she was behaving aloof and kind of snotty.  I also liked Ivy, who was the most mysterious of all of the characters even though Jane related to her the most.  I’m still wondering why she was taking all of those photographs.  I really liked that she would just say a random word out loud that would be a high score in Scrabble, I really liked her quirkiness. Ravi, Kiran’s twin brother, was the one who seemed to change personalities the most in the stories, but he was passionate about the art and loyal to his family and friends.  Many other characters populate the book and stories and all were unique and interesting.

As I said before there is really five stories that tie together into one.  The main ties are a missing family, stolen art work, a painting with an umbrella, and Jane’s Aunt Magnolia.  All of these plot points are in the stories, even when the stories themselves go off in another direction.  Sometimes conversations get repeated in the stories, but won’t be exactly the same as before or will take place in a different room or with a different person (can you see why my sleep deprived brain got confused?)  But all of this keep you on your toes and wondering where it will all end. 

This is an exciting story about how your choices can make a difference in your life and what it might be like if you made a different one.  Highly recommended. 

Here is a video of Kristin talking about her book at BookCon.  It looks like someone took it with their phone over breakfast so it is not the best quality, but it is still really interesting.  She mentions that each story is a different genre which I hadn’t really picked up on but can totally see now. 

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