Philippa Gregory
Simon & Schuster

So I was walking through my library the other day, and my eye caught the “Christian fiction” sticker on the side of this book. Pleased at having found a rare Christian YA novel (our library doesn’t carry many) I was instantly cautious when I caught the author’s name- I’ve never read any of Philippa Gregory’s books, but I know they’re not Christian. I could see why The Changeling might be mistaken for one, though- the plot is about an order of monks (based on a real order, actually) who go throughout Christendom searching for work of the devil- they believe the second return of the Lord is coming soon, and they’ve decided to outwit the devil’s schemes. Basically, The Changeling is the story of a young novice monk who is a detective of sorts: he investigates seemingly supernatural occurrences to see if it’s just a trick- or something demonic.

I thought the premise sounded interesting, and though this book is actually very much a historical, sometimes it reads a little like a fantasy, although all of the occurrences are shown to be either a natural occurrence or a trick.

I was also pleased, throughout the first half of the book, at how clean it was, unlike my last attempt at our library’s Young Adult section. There is a scene where a man comes into a girl’s room with the intent to attack her; however she hits him over the head and knocks him out before he can really do anything. Besides that, I was quite pleased- until I got to the middle. For some reason, there were three or four chapters in the middle of the book that had quite a bit of language. After that there really wasn’t any language, and before that there wasn’t any either. It was just three really random chapters grouped together in the middle of the book. It was completely unnecessary, and very disappointing, especially because if you’re going to read the book, you can’t really skip three entire chapters!

There was also a scene in the second half I didn’t care for. Two girls are taking a bath, and a young man catches their reflection in the mirror. He only sees their heads (seeing their hair down was provocative enough!) but still….I didn’t like it.

However, despite all these problems, I did find the storyline intriguing, and though there was a tiny hint of romance, they’re really wasn’t anything “mushy” in it.

Now, the theology of this novel is very medieval Catholicism. In fact, the main character is accused of heresy because he mentioned that he thought his monastery’s relic was a fake. So, all of the characters’ theology was definitely off. However, the two main characters were genuine  in their belief in God, and did trust in Him, which was nice in what I consider a secular book.

I’m giving this book a 6, although if it hadn’t been for the language and the scenes I didn’t care for, I would have given it an 7.

Rating: 6


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