Sunday, August 12, 2012

Order of Darkness #1: Changeling Review

Title: Order of Darkness #1: Changeling

Author: Philippa Gregory

Date of Publication: May 29, 2012

Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-Book

Synopsis: After being accused of heresy Luca is given the opportunity by a mysterious man to investigate good and evil and map the fears of Christendom. His first mission sends him to an abbey where the nuns are going mad, having visions and being injured during the night. There he meets Isolde, forced by her brother to join the abbey she is trapped in a life she hates. As Luca investigates he learns startling secrets about the abbey, and all the clues seem to point to Isolde as the culprit. With the help of his clerk Peter and his servant Freize Luca must discover the truth behind what is happening at the abbey and give justice where it is deserved.

My Review:

While Changeling was by no means an awful novel it wasn't a great one either. Low on action and heavy on world building I found both the plot and characters to be rather flat and boring. For a historical novel there were a large amount of modern references, taking away from the accuracy of the story.

A boring and cliché plot dominated the majority of the novel, while there were some exciting moments I found it a struggle to stay interested in Luca merely talking the nuns and his friends. The plot also relied on a lot of coincidental events to propel it forward, such as Luca having a dream about a certain plant that solves the whole mystery. The ending of the story is utterly ridiculous and has nothing to do with the rest of the novel, leaving me confused and unimpressed with the novel.

The characters did nothing to make the story any better; while none of them were repulsive none of them were likable either. All of them were flat and boring; from Isolde's greedy brother to Luca's stony clerk none of the characters had a personality. Ishraq, a Middle Eastern girl who was raised as Isodle's sister, is probably the most interesting character, while somewhat unrealistic. In a world where women are dominated by men I find it hard to believe that any woman, much less one considered a heretic, would be taught about medicine and fighting.

All in all while Changeling was far from the worst novel I've ever read I was not particularly impressed. For the majority of the novel I was bored out of my mind, making this book a struggle to finish and it's a mere 256 pages. I would recommend fans of historical fiction to skip this novel in search of something a little more exciting and original.


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