Friday, 15 June 2012

12+: Order of Darkness 1: Changeling - Philippa Gregory

Release Date: 24/05/12  
The first book in the thrilling YA sequence, Order of Darkness. The year is 1453, and all signs point to it being the end of the world. Accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery, handsome seventeen-year-old, Luca Vero, is recruited by a mysterious stranger to record the end of times across Europe. Commanded by sealed orders, Luca is sent to map the fears of Christendom, and travel to the very frontier of good and evil. Seventeen-year-old Isolde, a Lady Abbess, is trapped in a nunnery to prevent her claiming her rich inheritance. As the nuns in her care are driven mad by strange visions, walking in their sleep, and showing bleeding wounds, Luca is sent to investigate and all the evidence points to Isolde's criminal guilt. Outside in the yard they are building a pyre to burn her for witchcraft. Forced to face the greatest fears of the medieval world - dark magic, werewolves, madness - Luca and Isolde embark on a search for truth, their own destinies, and even love as they take the unknown ways to the real historical figure who defends the boundaries of Christendom and holds the secrets of the Order of Darkness.  

 This has been a hard book to review, not because of the subjects tackled within but because I felt that the book was below what I expected from Philippa’s writing skills. Don’t get me wrong it’s a complete story but one that I’ve noticed with her adult writing is that when it’s based on a well-documented person it works wonderfully, yet when left to writing based on the authors imagination, it sadly falls apart and as with the recent Cousin’s War series a lot of repetition between each title. What this book brings to the table is a farfetched story with so coincidences alongside flaws that had it not had the authors name attached I’m not sure it would have made it to the shelves. The characters are confusing, there’s no real direction with them and events seem to have been woven by strength of author rather than feeling natural. Add to this a story that feels like the pace is all over the place, characters that don’t feel rounded but thrown into a different timeline to suit the authors purpose and with a convoluted plotline that feels that additional ideas have been wedged in to fit the word count and all in I was disappointed with the overall product. Don’t get me wrong; had it been a debut author, a lot of the errors within could have been forgiven as over zealousness alongside lessons that needed to be learned, but from a multi title writer these should never have occurred. 


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