Book Review: Changeling (The Oddmire #1) by William Ritter (eARC)

Changeling (The Oddmire #1)

Author: William Ritter

Publication Date: 16 July 2019

Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy

Pages: 272

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind—a newborn changeling. But when the fateful night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart. Not knowing which to bring back, he leaves both babies behind.

Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. Then when they are twelve years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic. The boys must leave behind their sleepy town of Endsborough and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, crossing the perilous Oddmire swamp and journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and discover who they truly are.

There’s something about Changelings that always piques my interest. The idea of goblins swapping human infants for these creepy little terrors than can wreak havoc upon the parents, and sometimes leave them for dead, is utterly chilling.

When I first read the synopsis of Changeling: The Oddmire #1, I was immediately drawn to the idea of changelings in a middle grade setting (I just want to clarify, don’t understand middle grade horror because it is still equaling as chilling). However, this is not your ordinary changeling story. When Kull attempts is in the process of swapping infants, he is interrupted when Annie (the mother) hears his racket and immediately goes to the nursery when her newborn son is fastly asleep. To her surprise, Annie is no longer a mother of one healthy boy. She is now a mother to identical twin boys.

As Tinn and Cole grow older, the townsfolk tend to keep their distance since they know that one of the boys is in fact a changeling. The problem is that even the boys are unaware as to which one of them isn’t entirely human. One day, they receive a mysterious letter that claims that the changeling is to return to Wild Wood or face a most certain death, but the changeling is to go into the woods alone since it is a guaranteed death sentence for a human. Since the boys don’t know which one is the changeling and refuse to leave each other behind, they venture off into the dangerous Wild Wood where they encounter unlikely friends and plenty of foes.

One of my favorite things about this book was how strong the sibling bond between Tinn and Cole was. Even though both boys were aware that one was entirely human, that never affected how much they loved each other. Each of the brothers secretly wished that he was the goblin instead of the other to save his brother from despair. Additionally, I also enjoyed the bond between the boys and their mother Annie, whom they loved unconditionally and vice versa. Even though Annie only gave birth to one son, she made it clear when she ran off in to Wild Wood to find her boys that both sons were in fact hers.

Overall, this is a great story packed with adventure, magical beings, mystery, and most of all, love.

Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers, Edelweiss, and NetGalley for the eARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

Pre-order Changeling: The Oddmire #1 from Amazon.

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