Saturday, June 23, 2012

Changeling by Philippa Gregory

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 

(From Goodreads)

Genre: historic fantasy

Rating: 3/5

This wasn't a bad book, just sort of disjointed. First off, we have a pretty, almost romance novel-esque cover going on here. And the placing of the female into the forefront is oddly appropriate as the main hero Luca is really fairly one dimensional. He tends to not be forceful and allows everyone around him to seemingly push him one way or the other in his investigations, possibly because if he didn't there'd be nothing for the minor characters to do and the mysteries as they are would be wrapped up too quickly. As it was, there are actually two separate plots of mystery in this book, short though it may be, the first one involving Isolde, the second a werewolf. In both cases it was the secondary characters who seem to actually know what's going on. Luca and Isolde seem rather doomed to wander around being pretty and not actually doing all that much. There's some underlying nonsense about Luca actually being a supernatural creature since he's so pretty and accused of being a "changeling", but it never really goes anywhere. There's also an unexplained indication that Isolde or her servant Ishraq (who we are reminded is not a slave every three paragraphs) can actually use magic. 

Any way around it, the book is harmless and unoffensive but forgettable, which is a shame considering the premise and the fact that there is a definite undercurrent that the author knows something about the time period, or at least enough that the book could have had a Tudor-esque historical fantasy flair.

1 comment:

  1. I've been wanting to read this one, so the review is a little disappointing to read. But while there are several Greggory books I've loved, there's several I haven't really gotten into, so I guess your review isn't really a huge surprise to me.