18 Jul 2012

Review: Changeling by Philippa Gregory

Changeling (The Order of Darkness #1) by Philippa Gregory
May 24th, 2012 Simon & Schuster
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 272
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.


I hadn’t heard much about Changeling or read many reviews about it so when it arrived on my doorstep one day although I wasn’t overly fussed, I was intrigued about how it would pan out. Whilst this book wasn’t for me, if you’re a fan of Gregory’s other work or love to get your hands on anything historical, hopefully this will appeal to you more than it did for me.

There were a few interesting parts of the story where my interest was piqued but for the most part I really struggled to continue on and sometimes even found myself skimming. The pace isn’t slow nor is it fast; for the most part it just plods along. Even though I struggled with this, I actually moved through it pretty quickly.

Though I didn’t connect with Luca’s voice or care for his character, I had a better time reading from Isolde’s POV. I admire that the author has written such strong female roles instead of ditzy, damsels in distress which made for a refreshing read. Trust me when I say they could kick-butt (especially Ishraq who reminded me of a historical version of Rose from Vampire Academy).

Overall I’m not dying to get my hands on the sequel and don’t have much incentive to continue the series. I wouldn’t mind reading something else by this author in the future but only if it really sparks my interest.



  1. Aw no, sorry this didn't work for you! :( I love historical fiction and I have a friend who's obsessed with Philippa Gregory but every point that you've brought up has definitely made me wary. Sucks that you weren't able to connect with Luca since I think character relatability is the most important thing in a book. And the plot... well it honestly doesn't sound too amazing :/ But YAY for kick-ass female characters! I love your comparison to Rose <3 I think that might just be enough to get me to read it haha! :P

    Anyway, fabulous review, Rebecca! x) I guess this sounds like a book that I should probably borrow first? :S

  2. *ears perk* Did I hear mention of Rose from VA? I LOVE kickbutt heroines, so when you compare Isolde to a historical version of Rose... damn, I think I'm loving her already. Disappointing that Luca and the pacing let this down, though. Seems like a lot of people share a similar opinion.

    Sorry this wasn't really a hit for you, but still a fantastic review!

  3. I had some of the same problems and I am a HUGE Gregory fan.

  4. This one, I'm a little curious about. I haven't ever read any of this author's previous work and I've only read two other historical books. Still, I wonder about this one.