Google+ Reading Teen: Changeling: Order of Darkness, Book 1 by Philippa Gregory: Book & Audiobook Review

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Changeling: Order of Darkness, Book 1 by Philippa Gregory: Book & Audiobook Review

Changeling: Order of Darkness, Book 1
by Philippa Gregory
Narrated by Charlie Cox
PUBLISHER Simon & Schuster Audio
Buy the audio:  Audible
Buy the book:  Amazon
Romance, mystery, and intrigue populate the first-ever teen series from the number-one best-selling author of The Other Boleyn Girl.

The year is 1492. Eighteen-year-old Luca De Vere is brilliant, gorgeous - and a heretic. Cast out of his religious order for using scientific knowledge to prove that a divine revelation was faked, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, headed by none other than Pope Nicholas V, investigates strange occurrences across Europe, and Luca is now part of the Order.

Isolde is a 17-year-old girl who’s been shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her deceased father’s estate. Because of mysterious happenings at the nunnery, Isolde is accused of witchcraft - and Luca is sent to investigate her.

Despite the conventions of their time, an attraction grows between Luca and Isolde, and, traveling across Europe, they encounter alchemists, poisoners, inquisitors, and purported witches as they head toward a real-life historical figure who may hold the power of the Order of the Dragon.
At A Glance:

Changeling was a slower read, but it was one I thoroughly enjoyed.  Full of mystery, suspicion, betrayal, and bizarre happenings, this story fully captivated my thoughts.  If you like historical fantasy, you will be captivated too!

Audio Awesomeness:

 I loved this narrator!  Listening to Charlie Cox was kind of like listening to Ed Westwick (from Gossip Girl & reader of Clockwork Prince).....only not so hard to understand.  I loved that he had a British accent, but I didn't have to strain to understand some of the things he said.  Do you Americans get what I'm talking about?  You should really just go listen to a sample of his reading.  Really.  Go now......did you do it?  I felt like the tone that he set was just perfect for this story.  Very calm, articulate, and BRITISH :D  And the way he switched from a formal way of speaking to the peasant voice of Frieze, then to the Moorish accent of Ishraq, was fantastic!  If you're trying to choose between audio or hardcopy, I'm going to highly recommend the audio.  If you're looking for a new audiobook to check out, this is an awesome one!

Historical Fantasy:

This is fast becoming one of my favorite genres.  I love diving into stories of the past where you feel a sense of history, but there's a subtle paranormal flair.  This was captured perfectly in Changeling.  I've never read Philippa's other books, but I did watch The Other Boleyn Girl, and really loved it.  This had a totally different feel to it, though.  It was a lot less history, and a lot more fiction, but I enjoyed it just as much.

Too much Summary:

If there was one thing I wish I could tell people before it was too late, it would be DON'T READ THE SUMMARY!  I feel like it spoiled so much of what was going to happen.  I know, I put it up at the top, but if you haven't read it, don't do it!  Just go into this book not knowing what to expect.  I really think you'll appreciate it more!

Engrossing Characters:

One thing I loved about Changeling, was the diversity, and intrigue surrounding each of the different characters in the book.  They were all so mysterious and fascinating.  I wanted to know each of their back stories, and you never quite know what to think of any of them.  From Luca, to Isolde, to Frieze (who I adored), to Ishraq, to all the strange supporting characters (NUNS), they were all so bizarrely intriguing! 


One thing I didn't expect was the creepy factor.  No, it isn't scary at all, but there are parts that just give you goose bumps.  Like, I might have actually had a nightmare involving some of the characters.  I can't say which ones, because I don't want to spoil it, but......*shivers*  I felt like the whole book just had this creepy, strange feel to it, and I loved it!


I did like the romance in this book, though if you know me, you know I'm a sucker for the slow build.  That being said, I would have liked just a little more out of these characters.  There are two possible budding relationships, and I'm excited to see what happens in the future.  One of them, in particular, just made me smile so many times.  Again, I just love Frieze......
Sometimes I just wanted to yell, JUST KISS HIM ALREADY!!

Book Doppelgangers:

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.  It also reminded me of Kingdom of Heaven (the movie) with Orlando Bloom

  • Profanity: Minor* (possibly 2 "S" words- I couldn't tell from the audio)
  • Sexual Content:  Mild
  • Violence:  Moderate
For more details, check out Changeling on


  1. Great review. I can't wait to read this one. Wish I could get it on audio version.

    1. You should definitely check out the audio if you can. It's worth it, IMO.

  2. I'm not very big on historical books, but this actually does sounds really good. I enjoyed Grave Mercy so I might like this one too. It sounds like it has everything that a good book needs. Awesome review!!

    1. Thanks, Amy! I didn't feel like the history part was really played up. It was set in that time period, but there wasn't really a lot of explanation of historical facts or anything. Hope you like it!

  3. I really enjoyed this one, too. I couldn't really decide whether to call it historical fiction or historical fantasy, though, I'm actually leaning away from fantasy.

    1. I was wondering if the "fantasy" part would come into play more in the following books, since he's supposed to be a changeling. Then again, maybe it's all just superstitions. Did you listen to her author's note at the end? That's kind of why I thought there might be more of the paranormal, but again, who knows.

  4. I love this review! I finished Changeling a couple days ago and agree with everything you said! And you said a bunch of stuff better than I did when I was explaining it to my friends. Grave Mercy definitively seems like a doppelganger; All through this book I was reminded of how much I wanted to read it!

    The book summary - and summarys in general! - always annoy me by giving too much away. I want a general idea of what the book is about, not plot twist and character background spoilers via a casual mention of contracting cancer or an introduction of Bob the onetime pirate, which we shouldn't find out until 2/3 into the book. This concludes my mini rant. Thank you.

    Seriously, great review!

    1. Thanks Lyddz!

      *Spoiler- Yeah, I think if I hadn't read the summary then I would have questioned what Isolde and Ishraq were doing with the nun's body more. But, the summary basically tells you that Luca rescues her. I wish I hadn't known she was going to be accused of witchcraft and that I hadn't known they'd be on the run together.

  5. Great review! I loved Grave Mercy, so now I want to read this one even more! I had won an audiobook for audiobook week and this was on the list and now I'm kicking myself for not picking it!

    Thanks for the head's up on the summary ... I haven't read too much of it yet and now I'll stay away!

    Can't wait to read this one! :)

    1. GRAVE MERCY!!! I loved that book SO much! Too bad you missed this one on audio! Maybe they'd have it at your library?

  6. Warning about the summary didn't work because sometimes that's all I read. If I read the info and think I will enjoy the book I SOMETIMES avoid the review until I've read it.
    Sounds good :)

    1. Aww....well, just try to forget what you read, haha! :P I agree about avoiding reviews. I really try (in my reviews) to just talk about why I liked the book, and the characters, without giving anything away. It's hard, though. When I read other reviews, I usually just read their "wrap up" paragraph, which is why I started doing "At a Glance", so people could just read that, if they didn't want to know anything about the book other than if I liked it or not.

    2. Don't worry, you're doing pretty well. Haven't read a book yet where you've spoiler it :)

  7. I loved her The Other Boleyn Girl and I hope I'll like Changeling too.

    1. I should read that, I really liked the movie a lot!

  8. This is not up to Phillippa Gregory's standards. I have read many of her books and they are well researched and display a knowledge of the times. The Order of Darkness is trite, the characters are from the 21st century as are their thoughts and actions. Maybe fifth grade school level. Please don't continue this series.
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