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Review: My Imaginary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadow

My Imaginary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton

My Imaginary Mary (Mary #2)
Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Published August 2, 2022

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About My Imaginary Mary

It’s aliiiiiiiive! The bestselling authors of My Lady Jane are back with the electric, poetic, and (almost) historical tale of the one and only Mary Shelley.

Mary may have inherited the brilliant mind of her late mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, but she lives a drab life above her father’s bookstore, waiting for an extraordinary idea that’ll inspire a work worthy of her parentage—and impress her rakishly handsome (and super-secret) beau, Percy Shelley.

Ada Lovelace knows a thing or two about superstar parents, what with her dad being Lord Byron, the most famous poet on Earth. But her passions lie far beyond the arts—in mechanical engineering, to be exact. Alas, no matter how precise Ada’s calculations, there’s always a man willing to claim her ingenious ideas as his own.

Pan, a.k.a. Practical Automaton Number One, is Ada’s greatest idea yet: a machine that will change the world, if only she can figure out how to make him truly autonomous . . . or how to make him work at all.

When fate connects our two masterminds, Mary and Ada learn that they are fae—magical people with the ability to make whatever they imagine become real. But when their dream team results in a living, breathing, thinking PAN, Mary and Ada find themselves hunted by a mad scientist who won’t stop until he finds out how they made a real boy out of spare parts.

With comic genius and a truly electrifying sense of adventure, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows continue their campaign to turn history on its head in this YA fantasy that’s perfect for fans of The Princess Bride and A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

My Review

I really enjoyed both MY LADY JANE and MY CONTRARY MARY, so I was excited about getting into this book. The idea of a story about Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley also intrigued me, so this sounded like a sure win.

I did enjoy the book, but not as much as the other two that I read. The other books had me laughing out loud more and had a lot more straight up absurdity that really worked for me as a reader. Plus I loved the cameo appearances by characters from MY LADY JANE in MY CONTRARY MARY.

What I think did work really well in this book was the pairing of Ada Byron (Lovelace) and Mary Godwin (Shelley). The science and writing/magic combo fit together well, and I liked the friendship that they shared and how it changed both of their lives.

I also liked the way Pan, created by Ada and Mary, inspired Mary to write FRANKENSTEIN. I thought that was a clever way to layer both a historical fantasy with elements from Mary Shelley’s famous book.

All in all, I’m still really glad I read this one. If you like reimagined history or stories inspired by a classic, I think MY IMAGINARY MARY is a great book to add to your reading list.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Ada has difficulty walking since being ill and uses a cane.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. At one point one character asks questions about the difference between men and women and Mary tries to discreetly tell him that they have different body parts.

Spiritual Content
Some people are Fae and can create things from their imaginations. This magic has a cost– matter cannot be created nor destroyed– so Fae are trained to create carefully.

Violent Content
A man uses chloroform to incapacitate others and kidnap them. He ties several people up and threatens them with being struck by lightning.

Drug Content
Ada’s father drinks wine and reveals secrets he shouldn’t when he is drunk.

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