Changeling by Philippa Gregory | Book Review

Changeling by Philippa Gregory (Order of Darkness #1)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Paperback (courtesy of Big Honcho Media)
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA
Publication Date: 24 May, 2012
Dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance populate the pages of this first in a four-book teen series from the #1 bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl.

The year is 1453 and all signs point to it being the end of the world. Accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery, handsome seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is recruited by a mysterious stranger to record the end of times across Europe. Commanded by sealed orders, Luca is sent to map the fears of Christendom and travel to the very frontier of good and evil. Seventeen-year-old Isolde, a Lady Abbess, is trapped in a nunnery to prevent her from claiming her rich inheritance. As the nuns in her care are driven mad by strange visions, walking in their sleep, and showing bleeding wounds, Luca is sent to investigate and driven to accuse her.

Forced to face the greatest fears of the dark ages—witchcraft, werewolves, madness—Luca and Isolde embark on a search for truth, their own destinies, and even love as they take the unknown ways to the real historical figure who defends the boundaries of Christendom and holds the secrets of the Order of Darkness.

“Luca saw her bloodstained hands as the clerk bound them with a rope, and Luca realized that she was a thing of horror, a beautiful thing of horror, the worst thing between heaven and hell: a fallen angel.”
-Luca, Order of Darkness: Changeling by Philippa Gregory
As a big fan of Philippa Gregory, I was so excited when I found out she had written a YA book. I've always admired the way she can bring people from history back to life, and give new meaning and explanations to their actions. She's done no different with this book, although this time, her characters are completely fictional and not based on actual people.

Changeling is a book that really captures the dark hysteria of the 1400's. It's full of superstition and the fear of the unknown, leading problems caused by the conclusions that are drawn because of this lack of scientific understanding. While I wouldn't classify it as historical fantasy, I'd say that it's as close to fantasy as reality can get...while still hinting at a little something yet to come.

The downsides:
It starts off slowly and doesn't pick up until well into the story. I think part of that is because that first part is pretty predictable, leading to a long wait until the characters figure out what the reader already has. It also doesn't deliver on what I assumed to be a promise of the paranormal. I adore pure historical fiction, so it wasn't something that detracted from my reading (in fact, I really like how it was all handled), but I think it's good to know not to read it expecting that.

Those things aside, it's an enjoyable read. Gregory's descriptive writing brings the setting to life, and makes it easy to slide into her characters' personas. I admired the main characters and understood their positions. I also fell in love with two of the side characters, and found myself rooting for them in their troubles.

I eagerly look forward to whatever adventures are yet to come!

Temp. Guide
Read this if:
...you like to feel like you're living history as it happens, and you're not spooked easily.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Some sexual references, death, and some violence.}

I'm giving away two copies of Changeling! 
Click here to stop by and enter the giveaway.

Other Books in the Series:
Book 2:  Stormbringers

Purchase Changeling:
Philippa Gregory:
Website  /  Twitter  /  Facebook


  1. I need to read this one. I like Gregory's books.

    1. If you like her books, you'll like this one. It's a bit different because it's not based on someone who was once alive...but still just as good. :)

  2. I am a new fan of Philippa Gregory. I am a new follower of your site. Thanks for your review.

    1. Thanks, Pat! I'm happy you stopped by. And I'm REALLY happy you've discovered Philippa Gregory! I love seeing history through her eyes. :)

  3. I also love Freize and Ishraq :) I felt closer to them than the main charcters.


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