I received a copy of this book from the author to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own, are honest, and are based on my observations while reading this novel.
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Do you like adventure? I do, and I love anything set in older time periods. Not Every Girl by Jane McGarry is a book based on the medieval era and as such, is full of adventure. The author, Jane McGarry takes a witcher-esque approach to this novel without the magic. There is fighting, love, outcasts, and more.
Not Every Girl is actually part of a 3 part book series which I hadn’t known until I finished this one. I have not read the next two books yet but I will say that I am curious to know more of this story that Jane McGarry has so graciously given to me!
Today I will be reviewing this book, taking a detailed look at what I liked and didn’t like. Without the spoilers of course. Hopefully, by the end, you will be able to tell if this is something you’d like to read!
About The Book
- Not Every Girl
- Book 1
- Jane McGarry
- Clean Reads
- May 19, 2015
- 238 pages
The following summary was pulled from the Amazon description of Not Every Girl: Olivia Davenport’s plan is destined to fail.She is going through with it anyway, of course. After all, it is the chance of a lifetime. The unreasonable rules of others should not stand in her way. In her small kingdom of Stewartsland, Olivia trains with the squires and harbors a secret dream. She longs to become a knight under the command of the Master–of–Arms, who just happens to be her father. He has indulged her passion so far, but they both know a simple fact – girls may not attain knighthood. Dismayed by the constant discouragement of her ambitions, she makes an impetuous decision to disguise herself as a boy in order to sneak on a mission. The consequences are not at all what she anticipated. When her deception is revealed, she is sent home in disgrace; however, an unexpected turn of events puts her at the center of a dangerous plot against the King. The ensuing adventure finds her grappling with mercenaries and outlaws, yet these pale in comparison to her newly awakened emotions. She finds not only her life at risk but also her heart when the aloof Prince Liam begins to affect her in ways she never thought possible. In the end, it is her courage and unique spirit which must guide her through the challenges she encounters both physical and emotional.
About The Author
The following information about the author was pulled from the author’s website.
Reading was always a big part of my life. Creating my own stories developed out of this love. Finally, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel and that was when Not Every Girl was conceived.
I live in New Jersey with my husband, two sons and two extremely spoiled cats. When I am not running around with my family or writing, I can be found curled up with a good book and said cats.
I was first intrigued by the summary of the book. It takes on the old ideas of what men and women are and are not allowed to be or do. In this book review, I will go over my initial impressions. Then I will cover what I did not like first so that we can get the “bad” out of the way. Lastly, I will go on to tell you about everything I did like about the book, Not Every Girl, and of course, give you my star rating.
As I mentioned earlier, the summary of the book is what intrigued me. I like seeing how Jane McGarry tackles societal beliefs. Even though this book does not take place on our earth, it does follow many of the ideals we once held.
Set in a medieval-type era, Olivia’s(the main character) world is dictated by what she as a female can and can not do. This was true for our world as well at one point. It still is in some parts of the world. Luckily though, many parts of our world have changed their view on women.
I liked that Olivia had a big problem with the idea that women could not become knights. Even now, when I think of a knight, I imagine a man. She spent her entire childhood training with boys who would become knights and yet she does not have the right to do the same thing. Growing up in her circumstances, I would have been frustrated too. So, I decided to give the book a go.
I also really enjoyed the cover. I always appreciate a good book cover. Whoever the cover designer was did a great job. There are so many colors and the images of the girl and the land capture what the story is about in a simple yet summative way.
The only “problem” I have is with the girl. She seems a bit younger on the cover than what she is in the book. This is me just being picky though. Overall it’s a wonderful cover that I think would get anyone to at least pick it up off the shelf.
All right. I said I would mention the parts of the book that I didn’t like first. I don’t know about you, but predictability always irks me. The story itself is very good and I will get to that later.
But, there are parts that I could just tell what was going to happen later. For example, Olivia is not a big fan of love and I reasoned that it was because she simply didn’t understand it. She hasn’t ever experienced love, so to her, it’s nonsense. Because of this, it is quite obvious that her views will change. I won’t go into it any further for fear of revealing spoilers.
I think it was predictable because of Jane McGarry’s writing style. Jane McGarry wrote the story from Olivia’s point of view. Olivia speaks rather simply, and you as a reader have access to pretty much every thought she has.
Predictability is very difficult to eliminate in a story. You have to foreshadow without giving anything away. You also have to show growth within your characters without it being too obvious (growth has to seem natural). It is a skill that can only be learned over time. So, with time and more stories, I think Jane McGarry will be able to achieve a story that is not as predictable.
Alright, on to what made this story great. First and foremost is the adventure aspect of it. The story of Not Every Girl is almost entirely an adventure. Olivia creates a daring plan that she knows will fail and then actually does it.
It inevitably fails and yet, she still gets lucky enough (if that’s what you want to call it) to go on an even more daring adventure. She travels as the only girl amongst many men throughout the entire story.
What I like about this is Olivia as a person. She isn’t a perfect character. She has flaws in her personality and her fighting skills. Even though she has trained with her fellow squires, she hasn’t engaged in real battle.
I wondered if Jane McGarry was going to make her a skilled fighter. She is, but training and fighting are two different beasts, and Jane McGarry did a wonderful job of showcasing this.
I also really enjoyed the simplicities that the story held. One example is the description of the land. Olivia is traveling in the woods for almost the entire story so I liked that the time was taken out to describe her surroundings of not only what she saw, but who she saw as well. The visual side of the story is one of my favorite parts of reading. So, I really liked being able to visualize the adventure as well as read about it.
Another example is the showcasing of the normal problems that any of us would face while traveling and fighting. Like, going to the bathroom, hygiene, and injuries. Jane McGarry took the time to really show how difficult it would be to be a woman among men who are not used to women in their company.
Or, just the differences in their accessibility. She bathes in rivers and goes to the bathroom behind bushes. She has to face adversity while injured. These things really added to how realistic the story felt.
The plot is simple and easy to follow. But it is enjoyable at the same time. It makes for a nice easy read that I was able to set down and pick up while still remembering everything that was going on. Usually, when I do that I have to go back a little bit in the story to remember everything that is going on. I did not have to do that with Not Every Girl.
There is also plenty of excitement and enough cheesy lovey dovely stuff to keep both fantasy and romance readers attentive. I’m not big into mushy gushy so I liked that their were only tidbits of romance instead of chunks.
The only problem I had throughout the story was a sense of urgency. Olivia’s father does come into some danger. Olivia’s feelings could have been explored more.
At the beginning of the book, it is made apparent that she has more of a connection with her father than she does with her mother. Yet, when she knows her father is in danger, she doesn’t seem as distraught as she should be. Her feelings are mentioned but not as often or as in-depth as I would have liked to have seen.
Leading Into The Next Book
Overall the plot was very good. It kept me engaged, I never felt confused about what was going on, and I liked that it ended openly. It shows that there is room for the story to continue which is perfect given that there are two more books after this one. I have found that books that are part of a series sometimes end like there is nothing else afterward.
They end like single stories do without giving me enough interest to see what happens next. I liked that Jane McGarry didn’t do this. It ended well and leaves plenty of room for another adventure to be introduced in the next book.
This book was very very good. My only problem came down to predictability. I loved the realness behind the events in the book, particularly the fighting. I also liked that the plot was fluid and easy to follow. The adventure side of the story reminded me a lot of the witcher even though there is no magic. Because of this, I think that if you are a Witcher fan, you will like this book(check out my book review of The Witcher: Blood of Elves).
Overall I give this book 4/5 stars. I’m intrigued enough to want to read book 2 of this series so I would certainly recommend that you read Not Every Girl!
Let’s Talk About It!
I love reading fantasy novels because they always have excitement in them. What is your favorite part of a fantasy book? For me, it is the fight scenes and the idea of always being on the road. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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