Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Review: Changeling

Goodreads summary:

Italy, 1453.  Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.

     Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.

     Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.

     The first in a series, this epic and richly detailed drama is grounded in historical communities and their mythic beliefs. It includes a medieval map of Europe that will track their journey; and the interior will include relevant decorative elements as well as an interior line illustration. And look for a QR code that links to a note from the author with additional, detailed information about the setting and the history that informed the writing. With Philippa Gregory’s trademark touch, this novel deftly brings the past—and its salacious scandals—vividly and disturbingly to life.

My review:

I've never read any of Philippa Gregory's books before, so I had no idea what to expect from Changeling.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  It was a fast-paced, highly enjoyable novel.

Philippa Gregory is a skilled writer.  She flawlessly combines historical facts with paranormal aspects in Changeling.  Historical fantasy is quickly becoming one of my favorite genres!  Her writing style is simple and informative, and I liked that.

And the characters...I loved them all.  Each of them were unique in their own way.  I especially loved Ishraq!  She's mysterious but loyal, and her character is full of surprises.  She took awesome to a whole new level. :) Luca was a great character too.  Despite his inexperience working for the Order of the Dragon, he was clever and smart.  Isolde too was very fun to read about - she's bold and doesn't give up.  Lastly, Freize really brought the humor to the book.  He had some funny lines and was a very endearing character.

The plot was unique as well.  I thought the storyline was very interesting, and though the beginning is rather slow, things pick up once the characters start on their quest. 

All in all, Changeling was an entertaining read and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, short read.  Looking forward to the next one in the series!

My rating: 7 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

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