I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Changeling by William Ritter
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on July 16, 2019
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Jackaby, The Unready Queen
Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind—a newborn changeling. But when the fateful night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart. Not knowing which to bring back, he leaves both babies behind.
Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. Then when they are twelve years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic. The boys must leave behind their sleepy town of Endsborough and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, crossing the perilous Oddmire swamp and journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and discover who they truly are.
Here is what I thought
Changeling is a fantasy story about twins who have been growing up knowing that one of them might be a goblin. It’s about family and the things you would do for your family.
Cole and Tinn are twins but not just ordinary twins, one is a changeling, but since they look so much alike nobody knows which one. Annie remembers quite well that she only gave birth to one boy, but now she has two. It happened when the little goblin who was trying to steal her baby gets interrupted and by then the changeling has already changed and he can’t remember which one is which and has to leave them there.
Now the boys are almost thirteen and Kull needs his changeling as the magic is disappearing in the wild woods. There is also something in the deep dark that is waiting for them as well. Kull leaves them a message to come to the woods so he can get his changeling or all the goblins will die including the changeling. Cole and Tinn decide to go because they are curious and want to know but at the same time they don’t. While they are on their way following the map they hear a cry and find a bear cub in the Oddmire (a very nasty lake) and decide to help it out, then they are almost attacked by the mama bear and so they run. This vears them off the trail and of course they lose the map. They meet up with a young girl in the woods who says she knows the way over the Oddmire and shenanigans ensue as they try to figure out how to find Kull.
Meanwhile, Annie wakes up to find her boys gone and finds out they have gone to the Wild Woods and starts after them because she finds the note with a map. She ends up finding Kull but not her kids and has to work with him to find them.
I really liked the characters in this story. Cole and Tinn are brothers who knows one is different but that has never stopped them from being best friends. They do everything together and the reason it was so hard to tell which is which is because they both get up to no good and when one is hurt the other one gets hurt in the same spot. So poor Kull could never figure it out was he watched them grow. Annie is fiercely protective of both her boys and doesn’t care that one might be a goblin, she raised them so they are hers. Even the mama bear and her cub which I won’t say any more about show a great family dynamic.
Speaking of families I think that is one of the reasons I enjoyed this so much as it shows that you don’t have to be blood to be family. Annie knows one of those boys is not really hers in the sense that it’s a goblin, but she raised them and to her both are her boys. She couldn’t unlove one because he ends up being something else. The protectiveness she has towards her family was great and the same goes for the mama bear ( who not only is protecting her family but the forest) and cub.
It was a little slow at the beginning but it has some backstory to build up to the fun adventure side of it but overall I thought it was a fun Middle Grade book that I am sure any young reader would love to read. I can’t wait to see what happens next!