Friday, 23 November 2012

Review: Changeling by Philippa Gregory

Changeling (Order of Darkness, #1)Date Read: July 24th, 2012
Date Published: May 29th, 2012
Publishers: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardback
Pages: 261
Blurb: Dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance populate the pages of the first-ever teen series from #1 bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl
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.

This is the first book I’ve read from Gregory and I thought it was good. Nothing amazing, but just good and I will tell you why in this review.

I’ve never read a historical YA book before so it was odd to read a book set in the 1400s but I enjoyed it. The writing is amazing and kept me interested in the events taking place. There was everything I like in a book, which includes danger, adventure and a bit of romance, but I never connected with the characters and I have no idea why. Maybe it was the religion that came with them and considering I don’t believe in that stuff it bored me a little. Although I did enjoy the bit about the crazy nuns (you’ll know it when you read it).

It was nice to learn about a different era but it was a little short. I felt that the interesting bit was near the end and I just wish it had been a little longer. Maybe then I could have connected with the characters. I liked Luca and wanted to know more about him. I guess I’ll just have to wait until the next one though. Especially about the whole Changeling thing. I also like his servant/friend Frieze, who often made me smile and laugh and who had his moments in this novel that made him stand out.

I loved the descriptive writing, really made me visualize the settings so that was good but one thing that got to me was how the men treated the women. I really wanted to grab them, pull them out of the book and slap them silly for being so sexist. Especially Isolde’s brother, he got under my skin a bit.

In a way I liked that there wasn’t a lot of romance in the book, like a typical YA novel. Towards the end they were hinting at it which made it realistic because people don’t really fall in love quickly in real life. It takes time. I think Luca and Isolde would be good for each other and Luca disobeying his vows for her would be kinda cute as it would show his strong feelings which I’m sure he will get.

But I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Overall it was a good book and I will read the next just to see what happens to them all.


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