Changeling by Steve Feasey
|Changeling by Steve Feasey|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A winning combination of junior horror and urban fantasy that will appeal to fans of Darren Shan. It's pacy and direct and the central character is wolfishly attractive. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: January 2009|
Trey wakes up one morning to find his room at the children's home in tatters. Even his precious designer trainers have been ripped apart. The window has been forced, but this looks more like the work of a wild animal than burglars. Besides, apart from his trainers, Trey's got nothing worth stealing. Before he's carted off for a spell at the Adolescent Pyschiatric Unit, a mysterious man appears at the home, claiming to be Trey's uncle. And before he knows it, Trey has absconded with Lucien and finds himself in a classy London apartment - with someone who says he's a vampire...
... and Trey is the last living hereditary werewolf.
And we're off, on a high-octane supernatural action adventure in which Trey and Lucien - together with his rather large organisation of other netherworld creatures - try to prevent the evil vampire Caliban (I know Caliban is a Shakespearean baddie and a Marvel mutant, but I really wish Feasey hadn't picked something that rhymes with Taliban) from using the Ring of Amon and turning the entire human race into a subject population.
I rather enjoyed Changeling. It's moulded some of the more comfortable niches in current children's fiction and found something that will appeal to a wide age range, but probably mostly boys. We have a lot of magical urban fantasy a la Buffy, but a lot of it is rather girly. We have a great deal of fighty, gadgety action stuff for boys. And we have such a plethora of all things lycanthropic and bitey that I shan't even begin to mention them. Changeling adds some magical glamour to the superhero genre for boys. We have designer brands and loft apartments. We have shopping. But we also have magic, chases, and blood and guts galore. It's an exciting and pacy blend and everything is tremendously visual. It will film well.
Darren Shan dominates the UK horror market and Changeling does lack some of Shan's underlying nihilism. While Trey is clearly going to inhabit a recognisable emotional landscape to most of his readers and there's going to be some familiar adolescent angst amidst the swashbuckling and fighting against evil, I don't get that sense of inevitable and impending doom that pervades Shan's books, however subtly. I think this series is all about breathless glamour. And I think boys aged from ten to fifteen are going to love it. As, clearly, do Macmillan, who paid a five-figure advance, and Waterstone's, who have longlisted it for their 2009 children's prize before publication.
My thanks to the nice people at Macmillan for sending the book.
Changeling by Steve Feasey is in the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2009.
Changeling by Steve Feasey is in the Top Ten Books For Children Who Love To Be Scared Silly.
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