A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{February 14, 2012}   Changeling by Delia Sherman

Plot: Neef is a mortal changeling, switched with a fairy as a child and raised in the Central Park of New York Between. She loves her home and her fairy friends so she is devestated when a trespass causes her to be exiled. She sets out on a heroic quest with her own fairy changeling to get valuable items from three of the most powerful beings in New York Beyond and return home.

Happy Valentines Day internet! Now, you may think that Neef’s adventures, while a pleasure to read, are not particularly romantic. You would be right, there isn’t a hint of romantic love, but today I also finished listening to the very romantic Swordspoint audiobook written and read by her wife Ellen Kushner. I wish both of these wonderful authors much love today.

Changeling is a perfect modern fairy tale, both following and playing with the conventions of the genre. Neef commits a mistake, is sent on a quest which she resolves through wit and courage. Having grown up in the park with only fairies for company, she has a quirky view of the world. She’s clever and gutsy; she was a real joy. I also liked Changeling who probably presents in the human world as an autistic child. She is if anything smarter than Neef and saves the day as often as she does.

What added to the pleasure for me, personally, is that I bought this book on my second trip to New York so all the places that Sherman describes so well were still fresh in my mind. The touch of magic that she adds seems so plausible that I’ll be checking over my shoulder for moss women and giants next time I visit the city.

The book ends with Neef’s Guide to Supernatural Beings, a witty little glossary writen in Neef’s voice. It nicely complements Neef’s Rules for Changelings that head up the chapters and provides a lot of interesting information to boot.

This was a great middle grade fantasy novel, enchanting and skillfully written, but it ends so neatly that I cannot imagine where Neef’s adventures might lead her next. Fortunately I already have the second book, The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen, waiting to be read.

2012 (#17)


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