“I felt as if the path was going to continue winding through the trees forever. Never again would either of us see the sky or the loch or our families.”
I had the most amazing chance to read this book WAY before the release date and since I finished the last page I have been wanting to do this review. No matter how many times I have tried to start this review, I failed in even writing a few sentences. But I am just so proud of Christine, so now it’s finally time to 3 months after I read the book. So let’s get this review started!
‘Ailsa is dead. Leaving Morven the last surviving changeling in the village. Everyone knows it is only a matter of time before she too is dead. Desperate to find out why the fairies steal human babies, and to save her own life, she leaves her family behind, travelling north into the fairy kingdoms with her best friend.
They soon find that making their way through vast magical forests, across kelpie-ridden lochs and over seemingly endless mountain ranges is more than they were prepared for. Despite the countless evenings spent listening to stories about adventures, fairies and magic, they find themselves out of their depth. Fighting to stay alive.
Meanwhile, in the fairy kingdoms, Princess Freya of Culhuinn struggles to cope with life now that her love has been taken from her. Whilst Queen Euna of Norbroch spends more time lost in her memories that she does ruling her kingdom.
One changeling’s journey to save her life will alter their world forever.’
If you are looking for a YA novel that is unlike anything like the books that are currently out, then here is that novel. It doesn’t follow those YA tropes that are in EVERY SINGLE YA novel that is out there. The main characters aren’t annoying, they have their own flaws that are relatable to the reader and they go through their own trauma that actually affects them in real life expressions. They don’t see themselves ugly and they don’t need a handsome guy to tell them they actually or if that they are special. They are all strong INDEPENDENT women!
The main thing I love about this book is that there are no stereotypical Scottish accents or words in this entire story. I have heard so much criticism about books that are set in Scotland about how American/English authors right their Scottish characters only because they don’t truly know how they talk. Don’t get me wrong, I love Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and The Falconer by Elizabeth May. They both created a Scottish environment and Scottish characters that were both well written and well researched. But there are just some books that are written in Scotland that just lack that true understanding the way Scottish people actually talk. That’s I love the way Christine has added her own culture and upbringing into the way she writes. It certainly made the world feel more magical and truly Scottish in the way it can be viewed.
The whole setting of the fairy kingdoms is the home to 2 main characters. I can honestly just tell you that I LOVED the setting of where the Fae live. I love how beautiful it is but also how dangerous it is. Like you don’t really know whether it is safe or deadly. I feel the fairy kingdoms that Christine has wrote shows a true representation of how the Fae are. For example, they are these beautiful creatures but they are tricksters and you don’t know whether to believe them or not. That’s really what these kingdoms are, it is just a true representation of the Fae and what they really stand for. When reading the descriptions of the world, it instantly made me feel homesick. The world Christine wrote about just makes me think of Scotland and the true beauty of it. If you have ever been to Scotland or live in Scotland, you will definitely see the true Scottish beauty in the words Christine write.
I loved the way the folklore was written in a YA novel. I feel like there need to be more YA novels that follow Scottish folklore than myths and fairy tale retellings. I think I have read only one other book about Changelings and it was an adult novel. That novel was an instant favourite but I just wish there were more YA ones. I feel like Scottish folklore makes a story feel more original and more unique when most authors are trying to do stories that include a certain fairy tale in the themes within the story. The way the Changelings story was written bought this story to life and just made me want to learn more about the whole Changeling story.
I really enjoyed the addition of the LGBTQ+ relations in this book. I don’t think I have ever read a book with a character that belongs in the LGBTQ+ community before and I wasn’t expecting it. I loved it. I think think book has opened up all of those books that have characters that belong to this community.
If I had to choose between Morven, Freya and Euna, I would have to say Morven and Freya because I can’t choose between them. I loved how Christine wasn’t scared to have her debut novel have 3 points of view. She made all three of these characters have dissimilar personalities and traits and having them go through many different events that adds to their character as the story goes on. The combination of all three of these characters made the story more engaging and each of the characters add something extra to the story itself.
I find myself more drawn to Morven when saying I feel like I’m her. Her friendship with Glen is honestly GOALS for friendship. They both can joke about things, the amount of banter between them in their chapters are just endless. I know if I could meet two fictional best friends, I will definitely say Morven and Glen, you would never be bored with them. I’m so happy this was a friendship that wasn’t ruined by one of them like the other person. Another one of those tropes that this book doesn’t include.
Freya is just the type of person who always speaks their mind. I love it how even though she knows things the things she does will cause pain for her, she does what she believes is the right thing to do. I love it how Freya fights what she believes in and for the people she loves. There were some points in Freya’s chapters that I was honestly sad for her. Like her life as the Princess most have kept her sheltered and didn’t allow her from talking to anyone who could be a possible best friend.
I really love how Euna’s character is so different from the other two. Morven is searching for answers and Freya is fighting for what she believes in. Yet Euna is just existing. I honestly think that’s the perfect way to describe all of the main characters. I can’t really say anything else about Euna’s character without really spoiling anything, but I really admire Euna. Her character goes through a lot of things yet, in the end, she hasn’t really forgotten and when something happens for the good, she starts to get back onto her feet and starts living her life. I think out of the three characters, Euna is the most I admire out of what she does.
After the end, I can definitely see how Christine can write another book that is set in the same world. The way she can twist other folklore tales in this world would be a great addition to the world as the lack of folklore tales within YA. I’m anticipating Christine’s next book as I know that there is so much more she can offer by doing Scottish folklore tales. Definitely highly recommend this to anyone interested in Scottish folklore and just Scotland in general. Would be a great addition to anyone with a wide range of books on their shelves!
I also highly recommend you follow Christine over on Instagram, you can find her over on @weereader! Her Instagram feed is absolutely gorgeous and all of her pictures are goals for anyone for needs inspiration!
The Changelings Journey is NOW OUT! and is available to buy from Amazon, Book Depository and soon Wordery. I honestly believe all of you should go out and buy yourself a copy of this book, because it has everything you need in a YA book and more!
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Till then readers!