Rating: 3 stars
Source: Leant to me by my mother (yes, really…)
Genre: YA fiction
Published: by Simon & Schuster Childrens Books in January 2011
The Synopsis (taken from Waterstones.com)
The story is a modern take on the mythical changelings, the offspring of magical creatures who secretly replace human children with their own. It’s a reasonable attempt at modernisation that doesn’t sacrifice all of the traditional elements, for example, the characters hang iron scissors over their childrens cradles to deter those that would steal their children. Add in some allergies to iron and hallowed ground, a rock club and some kooky friends and you’ve got yourself some passable YA!
Mackie, however, didn’t always endear himself to me – he’s dying in the human world and I’m sure that’s very unpleasant for him but does he really have to go on about it so much? He also has a tendency to mention how alone he is and how there’s nobody he can talk about his situation with all the time. At the beginning of the book, this kind of introspective narration that helped set up the characters and a tone for the mysterious town of Gentry.
I really enjoyed the first third of the book and the last third of the book but in the middle my attention waned slightly as it became a little too teen-angsty for my tastes. I know that’s a risk with any YA but there was less story progression and more and more teens with issues. Once the true underworld of Gentry revealed itself, however, the plot really picked up and I ploughed on at a much faster pace.
Some of the more “sinister” members of the cast reminded me a little of The Morrigan from Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job (that I reviewed here) – all flaily limbs and decomposition! After all, how frightened can you be of a half-decayed maniacal child in a frilly dress?! It was, I hope, tongue-in-cheek because the answer? Not very…
If you fancy a more ‘serious’ and haunting book about changelings, I would absolutely recommend The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue – I read it years ago but still remember it as a fantastic story!