Monday, September 7, 2015

The Last Changeling by Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple, 2015

This is my review of the second book in the Seelie Wars series. Click here to check out my review of the first book, The Hostage Prince.

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This on Goodreads 
In The Hostage Prince, Prince Aspen and midwife’s apprentice Snail tried to prevent the Seelie War by making a perilous journey to Aspen’s father’s kingdom. Their journey started the war instead. Chased by two armies, Aspen and Snail find refuge with the actors of Professor Odds’ traveling troupe, dodging soldiers, Border Lord berserkers, a hungry troll, and assorted dwarfs, drows, lycants, boggles, and a cloaked spy. Will they make it out? Is any place safe for the two of them? And who, exactly, is the mysterious Professor Odds, who seems to have his own hidden powers and agenda? Fast-paced and funny,The Last Changeling, the second book of the Seelie Wars trilogy, is the perfect way to introduce newly fledged readers to fantasy.
(304 pages)

This book . . . was not what I went into it expecting. No, it was much more original than that.  I thought it would be a kind of cliche sequel focusing on Aspen and Snail as they snuck around, joined a circus troup, did performances . . . kind of like this one great book that I read ages ago and can't find back (click here to see if you can help me figure out what it's called!). Instead, even though we did get quite a few of those elements to a certain extent, it's still pretty unique. I can't say that I enjoyed The Last Changeling quite as much as the first book, because I definitely spent most of the middle of the book scratching my head a little bit going "what on Earth is going on? And, um, why should I care?" But the ending really picked up a lot, taking the story in some pretty cool directions - and leaving me desperate to read the third book.

In The Hostage Prince, I didn't really have a favorite character. That has now changed: I can say with absolutely certainty that Aspen is my fave. And that's not because I don't like Snail, but because I do love Aspen - more than I love Snail. Not that Snail is bad or anything, but I didn't think her big "plot twist" was nearly as powerful as it could have been. Aspen's, on the other hand . . . yikes. I need to get my hands on the third book as soon as possible!

Snail and Aspen's relationship was one of my favorite things in the first book, and I think it went through some interesting phases as their story continued in The Last Changeling and they faced all the challenges/experiences thrown their way. Aspen has mostly gotten over his snobbishness toward Snail, and now it's more of the push and shove that goes along with being true friends (and maybe the beginnings of a little more than that). I think the third book will be when things really take off, though.

And really, that's the meat of it. This was a pretty good book, though not as good as the first one, but a lot of it just felt like filler. Filler that's setting up for the third book, yes, but still slightly drawn-out filler. That's a common second-book-in-a-trilogy problem, though, so I'm not really holding it against The Last Changeling. I just need the third book. Like, now.

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