You've probably heard that historical fiction author Philippa Gregory decided to try her hand at Young Adult fiction this past fall with the release of Changeling: Order of Darkness. Despite our long-standing disagreement with this author over what actually constitutes HISTORY (hint: however you define history, trust us, it's not going to be found in a Gregory novel....no matter how much you liked The Boleyn Girl), A Reader's Respite was actually pleased to see this release.
In the first place, it's Young Adult. Given that Gregory's previous books geared towards actual adults tend to slip into a See Spot Run dialect, the Young Adult genre seemed like it might work well for her. Additionally, the genre is just plain fiction. That means that Gregory can make
Changeling is primarily the story of Lucas, a teenager in the mid-15th century who finds himself accused of heresy. In order to save his butt from a good old fashioned heretic burning, Lucas accepts a mysterious task which leads him to wander about Europe in order to document various mystical happenings and, in a nutshell, de-bunk them. With us so far?
It shouldn't surprise you, given this storyline premise, that Gregory is gearing up for a series here. This first novel (clearly marked "Book One") leads Lucas and his side-kick (you knew there had to be a witty sidekick, right?) to a reportedly haunted abbey where the beautiful Isolde has been locked away as abbess by her naughty evil older brother. Now, A Reader's Respite is pretty sure you are thinking "PREDICTABLE" right about now. But we have two words for you here that might change your mind:
Okay, so ultimately the introduction of the Zombie Nuns only changes our thoughts from "PREDICTABLE" to "KINDA STUPID" but there you go.
All in all, this wasn't a bad effort and we'd much rather see Gregory experience wild success in the YA market than dip her toes back into adult historical fiction. So if you know of any teens into the 15th century zombie nun thing, please encourage them to buy a copy.
Title: Changeling: Order of Darkness Book One
Author: Philippa Gregory
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Library Copy
Rating: We'll call it 3 stars for good measure.