Audiobook Review: My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Welcome ​to 1876 and a rootin’-tootin’ America bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou.

JANE (a genuine hero-eene)

Calamity’s her name, and garou hunting’s her game—when she’s not starring in Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, that is. She reckons that if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one.

FRANK (*wolf whistle*)
Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler is the Wild West’s #1 bachelor. He’s also the best sharpshooter on both sides of the Mississippi, but he’s about to meet his match. . . .

ANNIE (get your gun!)
Annie Oakley (yep, that Annie) is lookin’ for a job, not a romance, but she can’t deny there’s something about Frank she likes. Really likes. Still, she’s pretty sure that anything he can do, she can do better.

A HAIRY SITUATION
After a garou hunt goes south and Jane finds a suspicious-like bite on her arm, she turns tail for Deadwood, where there’s been talk of a garou cure. But things ain’t always what they seem—meaning the gang better hightail it after her before they’re a day late and a Jane short. 

I had such a fun time with the previous two books in this series that I’ve been quite eager for this one to release, even though I know nothing about the historical figures this story is based on. And while I did have access to the audiobook, I kept putting it off without even realizing that it was perfect for one of my readathon prompts. Glad I finally figured that out in time, because this book couldn’t have been read at a better time. 

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this series is “pure fun”. And at a time when I need some lightheartedness in my life, this was a delight to listen to. The plot is wacky, but I’m assuming atleast some parts of it are based on real incidents involving the characters during the 19th century. And as always, I thoroughly enjoyed the authors breaking the fourth wall to engage with us readers directly. I’ve really found it to be such an interesting way to satirize the story. And I can’t not mention how effectively the authors include some current pop culture stuff in, and one of those Marie Kondo moments really made me giggle endlessly. 

I think the humor of the story really comes through in the audiobook. The narrator Sophie Amoss is hilarious and her different tones and accents are pitch perfect, bringing so much life to this story. And however wild a story about the Wild West, gunslingers and werewolves might seem, there was unbelievable depth and emotion here which I really appreciated. The pace was steady throughout, never letting us get bored and I really found it hard to put down. 

The characters are a very enjoyable bunch and I found it so easy to get invested in their lives.

Jane loves living life on her own terms and has come a long way from the tragedies of her childhood, but sometimes the sadness still lingers and she gets to explore it more when her life takes an unexpected turn.

Annie wants to support her family, but her idea to do that is to be impulsive and go on an adventure – she really talks too much but I was awed by her supreme confidence in her abilities and never backing down in the face of unfavorable odds.

Frank is the third of their trio, a kind and compassionate young man who loves his show business, his adorable dog George and his whole family.

And the leader of this group is Bill, the popular gunslinger and a father figure to all of them – I never thought I would fall in love with a typical old gun toting hero of a western. 

We also have an ensemble of side characters, some good and some bad, some mysterious and others just going along with the flow. Amongst all this are some adorable romances, beautiful friendships, necessary second chances,  and so many heartfelt moments. And I loved that we have an amazing sapphic couple who are just adorable. And the epilogue with everybody was just perfect. 

It’s easy to dismiss this series as just fun, which it unmistakably is – but it also explores so many important and relevant themes. Found family always has a special place in my heart and the bonds that the characters form with each other in this are beautiful and it emphasizes that sharing blood doesn’t make one a family, choosing to love, support and respect one another does. Another major point I felt this book was trying to make was about stereotypes – how harmful it can be if you stereotype/discriminate a whole group of people based on just the actions of a few instead of giving every person an equal chance to live their lives on their own terms and judge them based on their individual character. 

And the last point was about the cult of personality; how a single person with enough power or charisma can harm scores of people, especially when they are supported by other folks who love the proximity to power; and how this personality cult can then be used to incite mobs, deny justice, and gaslight the ones who are trying to bring the truth to light – if all of this seems very similar, it’s because it’s the America we are currently living in. 

In the end, I had such an amazing time listening to this audiobook. If you’ve already read the previous books in the series, then I hope you’ll continue with this as well. If you are new though, but would love to read a satirical series about historical figures with supernatural elements, and lot of hilarity and hijinks – then this is perfect for you. And do give the audiobooks a try because they really bring out the laughs. 

11 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Add yours

          1. Ohh I completely understand. I don’t think I’ve ever even read a western before… but for the prompt, I picked up Upright Women Wanted which was a fun little fantasy novella.

            Liked by 1 person

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