Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat

Rating: WORTHY!

This was an advance review copy which I was happy to read. It's aimed at middle grade (eight to twelve-year-olds) so it's not for me, and parts of it were not to my taste, but for the intended age group I think it's absolutely perfect. Isabella and younger sister Henriette have moved to a new home (why goes pretty much unexplained - yes, grandma died and left them her home, but they didn't have to move into it!). Izzy learns that the woman next door, through the woods, is a witch! is she? Maybe! Izzy and Hen go to spy on her and shortly afterwards, Izzy sees Hen disappear into the forest, hypnotized by flute music!

Feisty and capable Izzy chases after her and ends up in fairy-land with three outlaw changelings. What's going on here? Izzy has to find out and pursue her kid sister before the evil queen can...what is she going to do with the little girl? I have to say that these characters were beautifully drawn with words. Both Izzy and Hen were strong female characters, self-motivated, strong at heart, and independent. The thee changelings were fun, interesting, and complex. I was particularly intrigued by Dree. Lug (from the name on down) was a bit of a cliche, but even he wasn't all trope and no substance. The evil queen was delightful and also self-motivated. She was just on the wrong side, unfortunately, but nonetheless very real and believable. And the enigmatic Peter? Did he really deserve the title "Good"?

I loved this story overall, and I recommend it for middle grade readers who like a good adventure, and are too old for paper-thin Disney Princesses. If I had any complaints, they would be about the claim that King Arthur was just a made-up character. He's really not! Yes, the shining knights at the round table are fiction, but there really was a man beneath the legend. One of the characters said this, however, and there's no reason a fictional character could not be just as ill-informed as a real person! The other thing, and this really bothered me, was when one of the characters said "Just don't make me a goblin or a fat lady." It is unnecessarily cruel to put this idea into young children's minds: that overweight people, females in particular, are akin to goblins? Not a good idea. Fortunately that as the only distasteful part of this book. Even authors with awesome names shouldn't be allowed to get away with dissing people because of their weight! And yes, I know a character said this, but that doesn't make it go away. For the rest of it - it was great!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep comments respectful and polite; trolling, abusive, and hateful comments will be deleted summarily. Constructive criticism, insightful contributions, and humorous observations are always welcome!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.