February 22, 2013

Changeling - Philippa Gregory

Changeling book cover
Changeling by Philippa Gregory
Series: The Order of Darkness #1
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Source/Format: Big Honcho Media (Thanks!) || Paperback
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

The year is 1453 and all signs point to it being the end of the world. Accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery, handsome seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is recruited by a mysterious stranger to record the end of times across Europe. Commanded by sealed orders, Luca is sent to map the fears of Christendom and travel to the very frontier of good and evil.

Seventeen-year-old Isolde, a Lady Abbess, is trapped in a nunnery to prevent her from claiming her rich inheritance. As the nuns in her care are driven mad by strange visions, walking in their sleep, and showing bleeding wounds, Luca is sent to investigate and driven to accuse her.

Forced to face the greatest fears of the dark ages—witchcraft, werewolves, madness—Luca and Isolde embark on a search for truth, their own destinies, and even love as they take the unknown ways to the real historical figure who defends the boundaries of Christendom and holds the secrets of the Order of Darkness. (from Goodreads)

Philippa Gregory is one of my favorite historical fiction authors. She simply knows how to take important personalities in history and weave their stories into something easy and enjoyable. With her novels, it feels like we get the story behind the story and that's what I've always found fascinating about her work. Changeling is completely different from anything I've ever read from her... and I'm unsure whether that's a good thing.

While there are certainly still historical facts sprinkled into this book (especially about the time period and the crusades), the focus of this book is what's entertaining. The reader gets to see supernatural encounters, and the darkness of the paranormal that Luca takes on for his mission. The paranormal aspects are really what make this story pop, and make it stand out from other historical fiction.

Honestly, if I hadn't read a lot of other supernatural/paranormal YA, I probably would have enjoyed this one more. While I thought the basic set-up and plot was really interesting, it merely ended up being good. I was entertained as I read it, but I certainly wouldn't call this one a favorite. Plus, the fact that there were apparently two separate story lines (one at the nunnery and one with the werewolf in the village) was slightly confusing.

Luca didn't really strike me as a character I loved, but I do find Lady Isolde slightly more fascinating. I liked learning more about her origins as a rich man's daughter, and what happened to put her in her circumstances. Apart from these two, I enjoyed some of the secondary characters - particularly Ishraq and Freize, who were definitely different from everyone else included in this book. 

While Changeling was certainly fun to read, and I honestly enjoyed it, I still prefer Gregory's adult historical fiction novels to her YA series. I admire her for writing for a completely different audience, but I'm unsure as to whether or not I will be continuing on with this series.


  1. I have this on my TBR list so thanks for the review, it definitley sounds like an interesting read and I haven't read any of her other work so I won't have the comparison like you do

  2. She is also one of my favorite historical fiction authors :) I adore her Tudor series <3 I've won a copy from this book, but I haven't got the time to try it yet. I like the idea of the paranormal aspects.


    1. It's very different from her historical fiction, which is probably what through me off. I want to read more of her stuff!

  3. As I haven't read any of Gregory's books but I do enjoy reading historical fiction with a paranormal twist, so this sounds like something I could really enjoy.

  4. Supernatural with a pinch of hist fic sounds AMAZING. If I haven't read anything by Gregory yet (I KNOW), do you think I'd enjoy this? You said you prefer her adult hist fic so I wonder without having that under my belt if this one would be a fun start to her writing style...

    1. Honestly? This one can linger a while on your TBR list. I'm not against you trying it, but I don't think it would quite be the thing you'd enjoy.

  5. Glad you enjoyed this one. I couldn't get through it and sold it back for store credit.

  6. I think I'll probs just end up sticking to The Other Boleyn Girl since I have that one! (and it's been sitting on my shelf for forever). I have a feeling I'd probably enjoy her adult stuff more (I'm finding that with historical fiction..I much prefer adult than YA).

    Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for your honesty because I had been wondering about this! I'm being super picky historical fiction-wise when it comes to YA.

    1. YES. Please read The Other Boleyn Girl because I loved that book so, so much! It was one of my random reads before I started my blog, and I still think about it.


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