July 24, 2013

Recently Read: Changeling, Helen & Troy's Epic Road Quest + Daddy Long Legs

Having to read a book a week (for FYA) means less time to devote to my personal to-read pile, but on occasion the books I read for review end up being awesome. And sometimes ... they're not.

What have I been reading lately?

Changeling (Order of Darkness #1) by Philippa Gregory

Here's the book's synopsis:
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 from 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 driven to accuse her.

Forced to face the greatest fears of the dark ages—witchcraft, 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.
Sounds awesome, right?

You'd be surprised at how not awesome this book is. Dry, boring and way too much telling rather than showing. I had high hopes, considering the synopsis and Gregory's reputation, but pretty much nothing about this book was appealing. The characters were poorly written, 2/3 of the book is one plot and 1/3 is another, and the "love" in the book is yawn-tastic. In addition—SPOILER ALERT—none of the "paranormal" business is actually paranormal. (You can read my FYA review of this book here.)

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction
For fans of: 1950s history textbooks, sleeping aids


Helen and Troy's Epic Road Quest by A. Lee Martinez

Here's the book's synopsis:
Witness the epic battle of the cyclops!

Visit the endangered dragon preserve! Please, no slaying.

Solve the mystery of The Mystery Cottage, if you dare!

Buy some knick knacks from The Fates! They might come in handy later.

On a road trip across an enchanted America, Helen and Troy will discover all this and more. If the curse placed upon them by an ancient god doesn't kill them or the pack of reluctant orc assassins don't catch up to them, Helen and Troy might reach the end their journey in one piece, where they might just end up destroying the world. Or at least a state or two.

A minotaur girl, an all-American boy, a three-legged dog, and a classic car are on the road to adventure, where every exit leads to adventure. Whether they like it or not.
Unlike Changeling, this book I adored. The characters—a nearly 7-foot-tall Minotaur named Helen and her friend, the gorgeous and popular Troy—are both people I'd love to hang out with. The story is silly (à la Monty Python) and filled with action, monsters and sarcastic remarks. Plus: There's a motorcycle gang filled with accountants, dentists and Wall Street moguls ... who just so happen to also be Orcs. (You can read my FYA review of this book here.)

Genre: YA/Mythology/Fantasy
For fans of: The Percy Jackson series, Greek myths with a twist


Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

Here's the story's synopsis:
Jerusha Abbott grew up in an orphanage but was sent to college by a mysterious benefactor she calls Daddy-Long-Legs. In college she falls in love with a young man who wants to marry her, but she refuses because she is an orphan. Finally, after Jerusha—now Judy—graduates, she asks to meet her benefactor.
This super-short novel I read for book club. It's a sweet story, set (and written) in the early 1900s that tells the story of a girl before her time. Judy is brazen, spunky and educated—and the better for it all. The story is unique in that it's told entirely through letters Judy writes to her mysterious benefactor, and through these letters, the reader gets to know her and her life.

Genre: YA/Realistic Fiction
For fans of: Main characters with moxie, snail mail

What have you been reading lately? Anything I should add to my to-read list?


  1. Changeling sounds awesome! I feel like if it was that bad then someone else should be allowed to take the synopsis and write their own book from it.

  2. But I want Changeling to be good! D,: I've really enjoyed some of her other books and think I'm just in denial that this one is bad, but you're not the first I've heard that from. Bummer

  3. I've heard good things about some of her others, but this one has tainted my wish to read any of them. At least in the near future.

  4. Do it up, TGG! I know you're a gifted writer.