The Changeling by Victor LaValle | Hobby Mania

I’m going to be honest, I bought this book while I was in a hurry, so I didn’t read the blurb on the back. Instead, I looked at the cover and read the recommendations and decided it would be worth my money. We are talking about a book that was nominated for several prizes after all.

I’m not sure I made the right choice.

The blurb (spoilers)

The story is about Apollo Kagwa whose father leaves him and he is all alone with his mother. He asks for magazines, books and anything that can be read and this quickly turns into a passion, then later a career. As a dark skinned person he has a hard time reselling, because at the time racism was still pretty current.

He meets Emma, who goes to Brasil for a year, then comes back and Apollo gets her pregnant. She literally gives birth in a metro. After that Emma begins to feel off about their child and does something ridiculous. Murders the baby, while Apollo is chained up then flees.

After that Apollo begins a journey to find his wife and take revenge.

The Changeling by Victor LaValle review

My humble opinion

Okay, so the blurb that I just scribbled up? That’s way too short, but it’s all the info you might need to know. Besides these events the book is absolutely filled with fuzz and random crap. The first few pages are about the parents of Apollo. How they met, what they did and all those things, all of which are completely irrelevant.

The Changeling is 450 pages long in Hungarian… To me, this length is not a problem at all, I actually love longer books. But with all this filling and unnecessary info it gets quite boring. Especially after the big twist at the end.

The characters have depth because of this though, which I can appreciate. I would have loved if we got more backstory about Emma, after all she is the most interesting person in the whole entire book. Yet we don’t really know much about her. Same about her sister.

(Spoilers ahead. Tons of them.)

But the fact that she’s a witch? How did that come up? There is literally no mention of her using magic or helping herself through difficult situations. Even while they are fighting the… Excuse me while I roll my eyes… The troll. She glows once, but that is basically it.

Because yes, it turns out that some dude stole the kid, exchanged it for the troll’s offspring and gave the human child to the troll. So it can try raising it.

And do you know how that is explained? 240 years ago some Norwegian families arrived in America and one of them made a deal with a troll so they could survive the journey. Somehow that translated into each generation having to sacrifice a few of their kids, which turned into other people’s kids because they didn’t want to handle the fallback.

Mind you, this troll is in a random park in the middle of a city. Talk about unrealistic story.

(Spoilers over.)

Anyway, I recommend this to anyone who wants to wind down a little bit. It’s great if you have an open mind and don’t search for flaws (like me). Just make sure you don’t think too much into it.

One thought on “The Changeling by Victor LaValle | Hobby Mania

  1. Thank you for this really honest review – I’m just like you, I look for flaws in every book I pick up! It sounds like an interesting, but challenging read with it being so long. xxx


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