One of my favorite historical fiction authors is Philippa Gregory and oddly enough, I haven’t reviewed much by her on my blog. Most of her books I read before I ever started blogging but I do plan to reread and review them. One of her books that I had never read, however, was Changeling. It is book one of a four book, YA series called Order of Darkness. Most of Gregory’s books are geared toward a New Adult/Adult audience but this series was her first foray into the Young Adult genre. Let’s get into the synopsis and review! This review will be spoiler free.
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.
It took me a long time to read this book because the synopsis just didn’t pull me in. To be honest, I thought it sounded cheesy and I wasn’t sure how well Gregory could write fantasy, which is what I thought this book was. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s not fantasy and is just historical fiction that deals with the common superstitions of the 1400’s; the synopsis is honestly very misleading. I really enjoyed this book. It is slower paced but enough happened to keep me interested and there were quite a few shocking and mystery filled events. This book definitely reads like the first one in a series, however. It’s more of an introduction to the characters and the setting and while stuff does happen, it’s not necessarily action packed. I really liked all of the characters but I don’t feel I know much about them because again, this book felt like more of an introduction. My only real complaint with the story is that it’s written very simply. It is YA, however, and I suppose I’m just used to the more mature style Gregory has written her other books in. Overall, it’s a quick and entertaining read that I do recommend if you like historical fiction.
I’m looking forward to starting the next book in the series, Stormbringers, and that review will be up next week. I’d love to know if this book and series sounds interesting to you or if you’ve read it before! Thanks for reading and have a great day!