Wednesday, 5 February 2014

(Review) Changeling (Order of Darkness, #1) - Philippa Gregory

Title: Changeling (Order of Darkness, #1)
Author: Philippa Gregory
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 256 pages
ISBN: 9780857077301
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date Published: May 29, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads)
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.

I dove into Changeling expecting the same thrill and excitement that I had when I first read her The Cousins' War series but I never really got the same feelings. Nonetheless, I managed to finish the book with enough enthusiasm. 

It tells the story of young Luca and Isolde, although their paths don't cross until much later. There wasn't so much to go on with these two characters, and the relationship-aspect seemed a little too early to tell. I think it's a good way to showcase their individual values to the series instead of being immediately paired from the get go. 

The whole book was pretty much an exploration into their backgrounds with Luca being some sort of Inquirer sent by a secretive order that aims to get rid of evil in the world and Isolde's quest to claim what she thinks should be hers instead of of her brothers. It's said to be an alternate look at the confusion caused by the apparent fall of Constantinople that happens during the setting of the book. It was historically accurate, the way Philippa Gregory presents Isolde as an obedient lady of good standing who behaves according to 15th century traditions and beliefs. I have never doubted Gregory in this, but in a way Isolde was a headstrong lady as well in that she has honor in her words and actions. 

One of my favourite characters would be Ishraq, Isolde's mysterious female companion of Moorish descent. I think she provided a good comparison with how differently women were being treated during the time. We have Isolde, trained as a lady of high standing and Ishqar as a woman of physical and mental strength. They fit each other really well. 

All in all, the book fell a little boring that I almost put it down at times but interestingly enough, I just couldn't. It wasn't an easy read but it wasn't that difficult either. It just has enough potential that I may as well grab the second book. 

Rating: ♚♚♚

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