Victor LaValle has written a story that manages to mix old world monsters with present day horrors. The title implies a paranormal flavour and it is reflected in the melding of reality and fantasy in this modern horror fantasy fiction book.
The story starts slowly as you are given time to get to know the characters and their lives. In particular, you meet Apollo Kagwa, a person of mixed-race parents and who has a love for books. The first half of the book is grounded in reality and sees the reader becoming comfortable as the tale unfolds. Then, almost without warning, you are thrown into a quest that sees Apollo dealing with enchanted forests, trolls, secret islands, haunted graveyards and amongst monsters both real and magical.
Without giving too much away, The Changeling is a violent, often gory tale set in New York City that has a social commentary illuminating contemporary issues of online predators and stalking, race, social media, parenting, and family. It is a modern-day fairy tale (almost a dark fable) and as such, embraces modern technologies and their evils within the plot. At the heart of the story though, is that constant assurance that no matter what, a parent’s love will push them to do anything to save their child.
A change from my usual reading and an author I commend to you, but a warning: I would not give this book to first time parents or pregnant friends.
Reviewed by Leanne Caune
Rating out of 10: 7
Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: August 2018