Book Review: Changeling by Philippa Gregory

The Order of Darkness #1
Author: Philippa Gregory
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Historical Romance
Released: May 24th 2012
Review Source: Simon Pulse
Available: Amazon

Summary: (from goodreads) 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 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.

(2.5 Trees)

Changeling is my first book on historical fantasy and also my first book from Philippa Gregory. Although I have seen one of her movies, The Other Bolen Girl" – which I loved, Changeling didn’t really capture me like that story. Changeling, was a little predictable and slow at times, but it did have enough mystery to capture my attention and continue reading. Philippa takes us back to Italy during the 1400's. A time where kings and queens ruled the world. Also a time when people didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t and people believed in witches, vampires and werewolves.

Luca, has been recruited by the Pope to investigate paranormal occurrences. For his first quest, he is, a priest and his servant, Frieze are sent to a nunnery to investigate why some of the nuns there are all showing signs of being possessed. Some of the nuns have been seen running out in the middle of the night and screaming and later not remembering any of it. I have to admit that there were times when I was a little spooked. Don’t get me wrong, the story isn't scary at all, but there were parts where I was like "oh creepy!" I am not going to say more because I don’t want to spoil it.

Isolde was forced into that position by her brother. Her father raised her to be strong but still a lady and was under the impression that he would leave everything to her after his passing, but that wasn’t the case. Well, at least that was what her brother told her. Her brother is now the king and ruler of Lucretili and has left his sister, Isolde, penniless. I don’t understand why she believed him when she was clearly their father's favorite. The characters were well developed and of course I had my favorite, Frieze. He was hilarious! I love characters with a little spunk and a smart mouth. LOL The love story to me fell short. I could tell that there was something between Isolde and Luca, but nothing that was heartfelt or amazing. I would have liked to have seen more between them. The one thing that confused me a little is that Philippa didn’t get into changelings much. She mentions who might be one, but that was it. Maybe Philippa will develop that character more in her next book. I just wish she would have elaborated more on it. It was brought up once and never picked up again. Even though Changeling left me a little empty, I would still like to know where Philippa takes the story.

Here are some more favorable reviews from Goodreads:


  1. I have trouble with slow reads. I tend to start skipping. But I must admit, this one sounds intriguing enough that I think I'll give it a try.

  2. It sounds like this one lacked some magic for you. It always makes me sad when that happens!

    It does seem odd that the book is titled "The Changling," but has only a small piece about it.

  3. Heather, let me know what you think after you read it :)

    Megan, it was really weird. I kept reading hoping that the author would bring it up again, but nothing. It was really disappointing. I hope that she elaborates more in the second book.


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