Changeling by Philippa Gregory

This book was just weird.  I LOVE Philippa Gregory and have LOVED all of her books…this was just NOT a book that I liked.  I don’t know what went wrong!

Title: Changeling (Order of Darkness #1)

Author: Philippa Gregory

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Summary (by 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.

First Sentences:

The hammering on the door shot him into wakefulness like a handgun going off in his face.  The young man scrambled for the dagger under his pillow, stumbling to his bare feet on the icy floor of the stone cell.  He had been dreaming of his parents, of his old home, and he gritted his teeth against the usual wrench of longing for everything he had lost: the farmhouse, his mother, the old life.

My take:

So I don’t know where to start with this review…

Thanks Leo…I knew it was going to be rough…

So the book just didn’t hold my attention for some reason.  Ms Gregory is trying her hand at YA fiction…and maybe had I known that before I read the book, I may be more forgiving.  But the book was jumpy, it should have ended sooner, an additional story seemed to be an afterthought…it just was poorly put together.

The story starts with Luca. His parents disappeared when he was eleven and he was given to the local monastery to live his life with the Brothers.  His life soon changes as he is questioned by an Inquisitor and is recruited to go out into the country to find works of the Devil, doubts that need reassurance of faith, or signs of the end times.  Along the way he meets a beautiful girl named Isolde.

Isolde is the daughter of a lord who seemingly on his deathbed decided to completely change his mind.  Instead of leaving the palace to his daughter, he has willed that she either marry a Prince (who is a pig…by the way) or leave to become a nun.  Aka: leaving everything to her brother…who conveniently wouldn’t let Isolde see her father while he was dying.   She takes the road of becoming a nun and soon things go from bad to worse.

While living at the convent, the Devil seems to be possessing the women there as many of them have started seeing visions, sleepwalking, or having strange marks show up on their bodies.  Luca is called in to investigate and figure out exactly what is going on and if there is witchcraft being practiced.  The main issue is the fact that the acts started happening when Isolde showed up, making her the main suspect for the investigation.

Again, I wish that I had enjoyed this book.  I LOVE Philippa Gregory.  The characters didn’t seem to use common sense and would frustrate me, there seemed to be an afterthought of a story added, and the book overall just seemed “dumbed down”.  *sigh  I hate giving bad reviews.  There’s nothing that I really even liked about the book to save it; unless you count the fact that I like ALL of her other books.



2 responses to “Changeling by Philippa Gregory

    • I totally thought about giving up, but then I feel like maaaaaaaybe there’s a redeeming quality somewhere that I might miss towards the end. Also I feel weird thinking that I’m going to post a review on something that I haven’t even finished…but that’s just me!

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