Saturday, July 14, 2012

Changeling by Philippa Gregory

Published: May 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 256
Copy Provided by: Simon and Schuster Canada
Summary: Goodreads

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.

I always find it interesting when a popular adult author takes the reins of the YA genre and decides to jump in.  Do they continue with with the same themes or try something completely new?  I've only listened to one Philippa Gregory title but the story was rich and captivating.  Ms. Gregory has a gift for writing history and placing the reader right into the pages of time.  I was eager to read Changeling, thinking I'd feel the same way.  Unfortunately, I didn't. 

I sometimes hate to write this kind of review because what I'd really like to do is gush over every book I've ever read but that just wouldn't be realistic.  For me, Changeling was a bit of a disappointment.  I kept waiting for something exciting to happen and it never did!  I felt like the story was leading up to something that was going to be wonderful and thrilling but then it was a bit of a let down.  I do have to say that I was surprisingly amused by Freize, a side character in the book.  He had some great lines and quite a bit of cheek.  He was the highlight for me.  However, as in all reviews where I don't gush, I do recommend that you try it for yourself.  I wasn't thrilled with this title but I DID finish it after all.  Don't walk in expecting something similar to The Other Boleyn Girl or The Red Queen.  If you do, you'll just be disappointed.

If you are interested in historical fiction, this one might pique your interest because of the author's previous work but you might want to try it in audiobook format.  It may be more interesting that way!

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