International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Young
by Steve Feasey
Publisher: Macmillan (Jan 2009) pages: 2711
A Jen Ames Review
a growing teenager I can remember being fascinated by the world
of vampires and daemons, witches and fairies, sorcery and the bizarre,
as a fairly grown ex-teenager I have not lost my appetite for them.
Changeling, with its host of underworld nasties, promised to give
me something to sink my teeth into, be they vampiric, lycanthropic
Trey Laporte, like
most adolescent horror-fiction heroes, is your average everyday fourteen
year old orphan that nobody likes and whom nobody understands. One morning
when he awakens in the childrens home he is distraught to find
his room completely destroyed and his possessions scattered and shredded.
Naturally he is blamed for the carnage and denounced as a troubled and
out of control hooligan. He is about to be frogmarched to the psychiatric
unit when he is rescued by a pale faced stranger posing as his uncle.
Whisking Trey away in a blaze of mystery and intrigue the stranger reveals
himself to be not only a vampire, but the best friend and confident
of his late father, he also reveals Trey to be a werewolf, and the last
of his kind. In grave danger from both formidable foes and himself,
Trey moves in with the vampire and becomes part of the family, as he
struggles to cope with his new powers, and the truth about his parents
death. A real coming of age battle ensues as he struggles with the beast
within, and the beasts around him. Will he find his place in this strange
new world? Will he avenge the death of his parents? Will he even survive?
The story incorporates pretty much everything you expect to find in
a teenage fantasy fiction; adventure, rebellion, magical powers, the
first stirrings of sexual and romantic feelings, a need to belong, a
need to stand out, and accidental nudity. Ok so the last one is a little
unconventional but you get the idea, many of the ingredients are there.
I have to say this makes the plot a little bit predictable in places,
but then again if it ain't broke dont fix it. The story remains
fresh and exciting through Feaseys use of imaginative description
and vivid scene setting, not to mention an extraordinary talent for
seeing the world through a fourteen year olds eyes. There are some beautiful
descriptive passages that just leap off the page, "He sank back
onto his pillow with a groan and stared up at the ceiling, which shifted
and swirled slightly under his scrutiny" being one of them from
the very first page.
I found "Changeling" extremely easy to read, each passage
seemed to flow steadily into the next and the fast paced action required
no effort to follow. The only criticism I had was that sometimes the
language seemed a little complex for the target audience. However, for
the best part the language was simple, so maybe the odd smattering of
more complicated words would encourage the reader to look them up and
to relish their being there. On the other end of the scale though, a
couple of times Feasey explains his metaphors as if he doesnt
expect the reader to understand the imagery, which I think is unnecessary,
if the audience can cope with the style of writing and the language
I think they can understand a few simple metaphors.
Overall an enjoyable read and one I can imagine having picked up when
I was fourteen, I hope there will be more books to follow, as Treys
character is worthy of a Darren Shan-esque development over a series
© Jen Ames March 2009
Jen is studying
Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth
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