Book Review: The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat — An Imaginative Fantasy Retelling That Provided Me a Refuge from the Harshness of Life

Hi guys! Last semester, I met the amazing Christina Soontornvat at the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival when I asked David Arnold (who I met for the second time) for a picture! We talked a bit and she was so kind and even gave me a copy of her debut novel The Changelings to read. If you haven’t seen it in the #kidlit world, Christina is going to write a nonfiction book depicting the cave rescue of the Thai cave rescue, using her knowledge of STEM from her background in the field and her knowledge of Thai culture and geography since she is Thai herself. I am so happy and excited for her, and today I am reviewing her debut novel The Changelings, an MG fantasy! Hope you enjoy!

And if you want to check out my LILbooKtalk with Christina Soontornvat and K. E. Ormsbee on “Finding Your Narnia: Transporting Readers to Fantasy Worlds,” check it out here!

About the BookThe Changelings

Izzy’s family has just moved to the most boring town in the country. But as time goes on, strange things start to happen; odd piles of stones appear around Izzy’s house, and her little sister Hen comes home full of stories about the witch next door.

Then, Hen disappears into the woods. She’s been whisked away to the land of Faerie, and it’s up to Izzy to save her. Joined there by a band of outlaw Changelings, Izzy and her new friends set out on a joint search-and-rescue mission across this foreign land which is at turns alluringly magical and utterly terrifying.


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4 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a free signed copy of this book from the author for review consideration. This will not affect my review in any way.

A great fantasy novel will provide me a special refuge from the outside world. I want to become immersed in the magic, the adventure, the characters, and the world-building to the point where I do not want to leave. Once I picked up The Changelings, I became dazzled and awestruck by the fantastical world of Faerie; and the story was brimming with action, adventure, magic, creatures, family, and friendship! The Changelings is an imaginative retelling based on a classic tale that will enchant and warm the welcome hearts of readers regardless of age. Faerie is a world that I didn’t want to leave, and I really want to revisit it in the sequel.

Honestly, I wasn’t very familiar with the lore regarding changelings before I read Soontornvat’s clever spin on the tales, but The Changelings keeps the legend’s very essence while placing a unique spin that is enlightening yet refreshing. I was able to learn a lot about the original tale (along with that of the Pied Piper). In addition, the world of Faerie was very fascinating to trek through! There was so much magic flowing from the pages that I became enchanted with the book from page one. I loved learning more about the inhabitants of Faerie along with their history, including the thriving connection between Earth and Faerie to their eventual separation and the reign of the evil Queen. I felt very comforted as I was swept up and transported to this mystical world.

Like every good fantasy, The Changelings provided me a comforting refuge from the harshness of reality. As Izzy often feels like an outsider and goes to her favorite fairy tales to escape her loneliness, I was able to undergo through her same emotions and struggles—when I feel excluded by my surrounding peers, The Changelings welcomed me warmly, allowing me to become immersed in a magical adventure and to forget the negatives of life.

About ChristinaChristina Soontornvat

Christina Soontornvat is the author of the middle grade fantasy novel, THE CHANGELINGS, the story of an 11-year old girl who teams up with a group of shapeshifting children to rescue her sister from the clutches of a cruel witch. She is also the author of the forthcoming picture book, THE RAMBLE SHAMBLE CHILDREN.

Christina grew up in a small Texas town, where she spent most of her formative years behind the counter of her parents’ Thai restaurant with her nose in a book. After pursuing a career in mechanical engineering and working in science museums, she decided it was time to get serious and write stories. She still hangs out in Thai restaurants. And she still has her nose in a book most days. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas.

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Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Have you read The Changelings? Do you like MG fantasy?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

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