Audiobook YA Review: Changeling (The Order of Darkness #1) by Philippa Gregory (Check It Out)

Posted June 12, 2012 by Felicia S in 2012 Read, 3.50 Wine Glasses, Audiobook / 22 Comments


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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.

Received for Review in Audio
Overall Rating: 3.50
Story Rating: 3.25
Character Rating: 3.75

Audio Rating (Not part of the Overall Rating): 3.00

First Thought When Finished: This was an enjoyable quick read but the pacing was a little off.

What I Loved: The setting in Changeling is so vivid that you can’t help getting sucked in immediately to these characters lives. The setting, time, and general atmosphere were as critical to the story as the characters. I really loved both Luca and Isolde! They were such strong people who were a nice combo of smart and strong. Their companions were all strong characters too and the story just shined through their dialogue and interactions.

What I Liked: Initially I wasn’t sure if I would like the multiple stories but in the end I think it worked perfectly to flush these characters out more. Luca’s “job” was both fascinating and unusual. Though there is a throw out to paranormal, you quickly realize that there was a very real-time where people believed and feared these things that were unusual. I really liked this piece of history being thrown in.

What made me go huh?: This is being touted as a Historical YA book but to be honest if you were 17 or 18 in that time period you were clearly already an adult. I thought the characters were a little too naive and sheltered at times. This however is just a quirk of mine.

Audio Specific Review: Charlie Cox did a wonderful job with all of the characters! However, the pacing was a little slow to me in certain areas of the story. I am not sure if that was due to the narration or the story itself.

Final Thought: If you are a fan of Historical Fiction I think you will enjoy Changeling.

Felicia S
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22 responses to “Audiobook YA Review: Changeling (The Order of Darkness #1) by Philippa Gregory (Check It Out)

  1. Ive not read any of her books……Im always so picky when it comes to the historical stuff. I love that cover though!!!!

    • I love her books (adult) but they do have to be read with a certain amount of allowing for twisting history. She is very accurate with actions and such but she sometimes fudges the corners of the “famous” people to fit the story.

  2. I’ve started realizing I often feel the pacing even more slow with audiobooks, and if that would turn out to be your reason too, it’d definitely be interesting.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, even with the ‘huh’ reasons! I think it sounds like a really fascinating world and I’m definitely intrigued. I’m glad you liked the audio overall too! Maybe worth a try for one of my walks… Hm!

    Great review. 🙂

    • Rebecca-I feel the same way. If there is a pacing issue in the book it becomes more pronounced in the audio. I don’t think it is always the narrators fault but sometimes they compound the issue 🙂

  3. Jennifer

    I need to give historical fiction another try, I think I’d like it in audiobook. I just dislike actually reading it. But listening to it/watching historical fiction shows, I love.

  4. My mom recently picked up this book. I think she’s in the middle of it, but I’m pretty sure I can read it when she’s finished. I’m a little curious about this book, since while I’m a fan of Philippe Gregory’s, I’ve only read the adult fiction type stuff.

    • This didn’t have the same “pull you in” thing that the Tudor series that she wrote did. That being said if there is another one in this series I think it will be up to par just because I felt like she got her pacing/flow towards the end.

  5. I have been wanting to try a Gregory book for awhile and just haven’t gotten around to it. I was excited about this one but so far the reviews are just average. I do like that it is a historical novel with a supernatural twist. I agree about the charcters being adults at 17 and 18 and acting like teens would bug me, too. I still want to check this out but may move it down a bit in that pile…

    • I think this one would actually be up your alley! Oddly enough I think it was written more towards the YA crowd than the Historical Fiction crowd which is why the little huh moments for me won’t necessarily be there for someone else.