Review: Changeling (The Oddmire #1) by William Ritter (Spoiler-Free)
This review will be spoiler-free, but if you want to hear all of my spoilery thoughts, check out my review on Goodreads instead.
Thank you so much to Alonquin Young Readers for providing me with an ARC of this for review as part of the blog tour! I think that this is a perfectly good book for a middle-grade reader. Was I particularly blown away by it? No, I can't say that I was. However, that does not mean that there weren't any aspects that I particularly appreciated.
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, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task of laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Not knowing which to return to the goblin horde, 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. When 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 to discover who they truly are. I loved Ritter's discussion of identity throughout this novel. Both Cole and Tinn struggle with their own identity and what potentially being part goblin could mean for them. I found this to be particularly applicable to children split between two cultures in today's world. I could see many kids relating to the feelings of Cole and Tinn as they try to fit in to the many identities that they believe they must embody. His whole life, he had only ever been a reflection of his brother. Tinn's stomach turned. He had no idea who he really was. The bond between brothers was also something I really enjoyed in this story. They stood by each other through thick and thin no matter which one of them wasn't fully human. They always considered themselves fully brothers. To add on to this, Annie Burton, their mother, was my absolute favorite character. She never once doubted the legitimacy of either of her sons, even though she knew one of them wasn't biologically hers, or even fully human. She also never gave up on finding either of them, and really gave off some strong Joyce Byers vibes. Besides these two characters, I felt like the others could have been fleshed out a bit more. The only things I really knew about them were that Cole is the troublemaker and outgoing, while Tinn has always wanted to be more brave. I never felt very connected to the boys in this story, which is unfortunate considering they are the protagonists. I understand that it is a middle-grade book, and that they usually don't require a huge amount of character-building, but I do feel like it was missing a little something. To sum everything up, I thought this story was charming, and a good pick for a typical middle-schooler, but I don't think it was anything groundbreaking.