Second Look: CHANGELING, Book 1: Order of Darkness by Philippa-Gregory

I’m back!  And I bring with you the first book I’ve read since finishing my reading list for class.  I hope this summer will bring lots of book updates for you from yours truly. :)

changelingTitle:  Changeling
Series: Order of Darkness
Author: Philippa Gregory
Age: Young Adult, 15+
Genre: Medieval Fantasy

What It’s About
Set in the mid 1400s, Luca Vero is a young priest-in-training who is called to serve the Order of the Darkness.  He will travel the known lands of Christendom and make reports on the evils of the world.  The Order of Darkness is preparing for the End of Days.  He travels with his servant, Frieze, and the cleric, Brother Peter.

Isolde’s father has just died.  Instead of fulfilling his promise to give his daughter the inheritance of his castle and the lands, he orders Isolde to either marry an undesirable prince, or take her vows as the Lady Abbess of the lands’ abbey.

Luca’s first mission is to investigate the Abbey where Isolde has been forced to live.  There is talks of witchcraft and evildoing.

If you like GAME OF THRONES, this is a definite read for you!  It moves quickly in plot.  The characters are likable, even Freize who likes to talk everyone to death.

The plot was easy to figure out after enough information was given, but Luca’s revelations are easy to follow for the reader and realistic.  However, the investigation at the abbey only takes up about half of the novel’s plot, which is nice because it allows for the reader to be caught up in more of the storyline for the series.  The fact that Gregory adds to plots (one large, one smaller) shows the ability to engage readers and connect them to the characters.

One of my favorite things about this book was the strong feminist overtones.  Isolde and her companion, Ishraq (a Moor) are strong, independent woman – extremely strange for the time.  Isolde’s father raised her to take over the lands – which doesn’t happen.  The fact that he raised his daughter as such, and had her companion so thoroughly trained, shows the obvious fault in her brother’s decree of his final wishes.  This book is great for young women, even though it’s historical.  It gives women a strong voice and shows them to stand out, even when all the men around them think they should be subservient.

10/10 stars.  Go read it now!

The paperback edition has a decidedly plain cover, but just so you don’t get confused when you’re looking on the shelf: changeling2


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