Friday, February 7, 2014

Review: The Changelings - Elle Casey

The Changelings
Elle Casey
Series: War of the Fae
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: What is This I Don't Even. So good.
On Goodreads

What's so scary about faeries? What could be? They're cute and pink and wonderful right? Even if you're clever and have read Artemis Fowl . . . well, you ain't seen nothing yet.

First of all, the diction is so sharp it could tear down the YA industry's general 'teenage voice'. It's extremely clear and no sentence is at all fluff. Casey is never ambiguous, never too florid, chooses precisely when to rain down her more poetic voice and most of all, she never infodumps, even in the beginning . . . instead, there's a bit of a pattern:
"I write and eat with my left hand but do just about everything else with my right. My body is confused with what it's supposed to do."
That's in the context of having a mini existential crisis in a history class. Very fluid, very helpful feel of what the narrator thinks of herself . . . plus we now have the tiny fact that our narrator is multidexterous. This pattern is brilliant and Casey uses it throughout most of the beginning to paint a brilliant internal and external picture of the main character, Jayne. This is such a rarity . . . in the introduction of even the best books I've read, there have been infodumps out of utter necessity (or in the case of City of Bones, a clever trick to make you think certain things are important when they're all lies). So I commend Casey for being able to wriggle out of that convention.

Now let's talk about Jayne. This girl. Oh gods. There aren't enough curse words in the English language for her, I assume she'll learn a few more languages to sate her thirst. She's just angry, and confused, and generally you do not want to piss her off. She's Percy Jackson if he'd stayed in the public school system, a little bit of a 'glutton for punishment'. She's relateable, in that most teenagers have felt like she has about parents, school, their bodies, and life in general. After all, I've always felt the itch to tell off my worst teachers. But what I like about her most is the absolute downplay on the romance. I mean, really? THANK YOU. In any YA, even friggin YA's that don't have a smidge of romance tag on it, there are still romantic conventions just looming around. But Jayne's not having any of that nonsense. She's tough, independent, and she shows her emotions like her skin, despite being inclined against both. Jayne also handles situations quite . . . wonderfully:

"Shhh, Jayne, not so loud," said Tony, Panicked.

"What?! Those assholes put us in this forest with humanoid creepers that like to suck the life outta people! You know what that means, Tony? Vampires! And not the hot, Twilight kind either. How am I supposed to remain calm about that?"
I don't think I need to talk about anything else because the word choice and Jayne literally just make the novel. This girl will have you laughing constantly because she does not just accept everything, she acts like her inner ten year old and loses her marbles. She clings on to her friends when she's desperate. She faces her enemies after deliberation and you have no doubt she's going to rip them a new one. When stranger things start happening to her, she doesn't just take that either. She rampages. I love it. This girl reacts. Percy Jackson reacted like any regular kid would. That's why I fell in love with that series. Jayne is just brilliantly portrayed as not just someone you could be, but more along the lines of someone you're actually rooting for and you don't want to be because she's so clearly getting screwed over. I wish I knew her in real life.

Oh gods read this book for the tree hugging. Seriously, you'll know what I mean.

(Also every secondary character bar Tim is fabulous and you sort of hope no one dies but you realize they're all probably going to die. The plot and tonal shifting are on point and easy to follow. Jane is stubborn and doesn't develop much until the end where she's forced a bit out of her skin. The enemies were frightening, just about every conventional beast is thrown in . . . werewolves, vamps, etc, but it doesn't stop there . . . everything is an enemy in the "challenge", which takes up most of the novel.)

Tree hugging, though.

- Marlon

What mythological monster have you been dying to read about?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. Love this series! Yeah, tree hugging :3 Gets even better in book 2 ;)

  2. Alright, can't wait! I'll be reviewing that for the 17th I think.

    Jayne is Donna Noble.