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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Can Amanda Hocking's Switched be the next big troll thing?

In Amanda Hocking's first of three YA fantasy novels called the Tyrlle Trilogy,Switched, Wendy Everly is your typical moody teenager who has never felt like she belonged anywhere in the world.

That gloomy outlook is enhanced by the fact that her mother tried to kill her on her sixth birthday,claiming that Wendy was an inhuman monster who stole her true son.

Despite reassurances from her older brother Matt and Aunt Maggie,Wendy holds a nagging doubt about whether her mom was right about her all along in the back of her mind.Many factors point to her not being like everyone else,with her strange habits of selective eating and constant need to go barefoot,plus a growing ability to make others do her will,makes Wendy consider the worst case scenario.

A new boy in her new school,Finn Holmes,seems all too aware of how different Wendy really is. After some time together,Finn reveals to Wendy that she is a changeling(a child of magical beings who replaced a human baby at birth)and it is time for her to rejoin her people. That news is both a shock and a relief to her but that doesn't make the choice to leave the only family she's ever known any easier:

Wendy does go off with Finn to meet her real mother,who happens to the Queen of the Trylle(more commonly known as trolls)which makes Wendy the heiress to her throne.

Even though her birth mother Elora is a formidable and far from warm hearted figure,Wendy is eager to know more about the ins and outs of their world. While many questions are answered on that front,more crop up and plenty of secrets are still being kept from her.

To distract her from learning too much too soon,as well as establish her royal status amongst the Trylle,a "christening" ceremony is planned for Wendy and a complete makeover of her manners and appearance is in order. The transition from ugly duckling to revered princess overwhelms Wendy emotionally yet some of these new changes are to her liking:

Making new friends,such as Rhys,the human boy she was exchanged for,and fellow changeling returnees Willa and Tove,is truly helpful to Wendy's adjustment but what really makes her want to make things work is her bond with Finn.

He's assigned by Elora to be her personal bodyguard but his birthright as a tracker is a social boundary that prevents them from pursuing a real romance,at least on his side.

The main danger to all of them comes from a rebel tribe called The Vittra. They are out to capture changelings and recruit them as soldiers in their increasing army. With Wendy not only being a Princess but possibly one of the most powerful Tyrlle to come along in a great while,the Vittra are heedless to risk and exposure in claiming her for their side:

Author Amanda Hocking originally released her Tyrlle Trilogy in e-book form and their popularity grew to the point where she was offered the chance to turn them into print books. Each one will contain a especially written short story(my review copy from Library Thing doesn't have that bonus feature)and the second title,Torn,is set to be out in February.

While Switched is an entertaining read,so far this young adult series doesn't have the emotional resonance that a saga like Twilight or The Hunger Games possesses in abundance. However,Hocking does have a strong narrative voice and a sure knack for engaging the reader into wanting to see what happens next,no easy thing to do.

Switched is a charming delight and for a light and lively read,you can't go wrong by picking up the physical version at a bookseller near you. The Tyrlle Trilogy is a welcome treat for genre weary folks to simply curl up with and enjoy,so have at it then!:

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