Release Date: Out now!
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance populate the pages of the first-ever teen series from #1 bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl.
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 to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurences 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.
A big thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!
CHANGELING is the first book in Philippa Gregory's new YA historical trilogy, The Order of Darkness. Set in Italy, 1453, it follows the characters, Luca Vero and Lady Isolde, two seventeen-year-olds whose fates cross at the Abbey of Lucretili, a Roman nunnery and whose lives will intertwine and change forever.
Having read a few of Philippa Gregory's adult historical novels in the past, like many readers are already aware of, this author is the Queen of Historical Fiction and she will remain so in the future. However, when it came to her very first young adult novel of a new trilogy, which surprised me as I was so used to her adult books, sadly I found this book right here turned out to be not what I was expecting it to be. While I love a good old historical book whereas others do not so much, especially in the young adult genre, but what I struggled with, in this book, was having so much to take in from the storyline and there were far too many religious aspects involved that often prevented me to get hooked on this book. You see, I'm not exactly a fan of religious things that can overwhelm a story. But moving past that, the good thing is both the storyline and the pacing itself eventually got better as the book came together towards the end, so there's some bonuses in that.
Concerning all of the characters, some were likable enough but what they lacked was a reader's connection to them. Personally for me, I found the supporting characters were much more well developed compared to the primary ones which is quite unusual as the main characters are the ones that are supposed to shine. Still . . . every character was likable in the end. More so Lady Isolde whom was the strongest among them all and highly intelligent. Although, I expected something more from her character and perhaps a romantic interest to be seeked through the other main character, Luca, however I think this will be further explored in the next sequel which I guess leaves readers to only wait, hope and see what happens in the future.
Overall, CHANGELING was very entertaining but it lacked in certain strengths that would've make me fall in love with this book and its historical, fantasy elements. While I do prefer Gregory's adult novels to her first young adult novel, however many readers will love this book and it's the perfect introduction to a new historical trilogy!