Title: The Oddmire: Changeling
Author: Will Ritter
Release Date: July 16th 2019
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 4.31 (of 99 ratings)
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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, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart. Not knowing which to bring back, 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. Then when they are twelve years old, 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, crossing the perilous Oddmire swamp and journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and discover who they truly are.
🧚 Excerpt of Chapter One 🧚
Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Algonquin Young Readers. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book.
The moment I saw that William Ritter was writing a new book, I knew that I had to get it. Ritter wrote the Jackaby series, and if you haven’t read it yet, I totally recommend getting it on your TBR. It’s a quirky little series that brings together Sherlock, the supernatural world, and empowering females in a unique way that still gets me every time.
This book brings a bit of the Jackaby world together but instead focuses on middle grade, family, and more. Two boys – Tinn and Cole – who discover one of them is a changeling that was accidentally left at birth. When they receive a note from the goblin who failed to steal the human boy, they discover that magic is dying in the woods, and they must go into the Wild Wood to save the forest and magic. This book blends a fairytale feeling with adventure, coming of age stories, and more.
What I loved the most about this story was that fairytale feeling. The atmosphere was perfect. I felt utterly immersed in the Wild Wood. It was a creepy but still intriguing forest filled with unexpected turns at each bend of t he woods. Ritter created a captivating world inside this book, and it honestly felt straight out of a Grimm’s fairytale – although far less creepy and people cutting off their toes (hello, Cinderella). It was even complete with morals that were great – about learning to accept yourself, family love, there is a story behind every story, and more.
The writing was good as well. Ritter always has an easy breezy writing, and this book is no exception at all. I sped through this book in about two or three sittings, and I probably could have done it quicker if I wasn’t so tired each time I was picking it up. Despite the complex world he created, it was always very easy to read.
The pacing – despite the ease of the writing – perhaps went a bit slow at times? I’m not quite sure how to explain. Everything went pretty fast, but I wasn’t as invested in it? I felt my investment dropping at times besides everything moving really fast and effectively.
What I also really loved in this novel was the aspect of family. When Tinn and Cole find out that they’re not blood brothers, it doesn’t matter to them at all, and nothing changes. Their mother fights so hard to get her boys back – and throughout the story, she makes it plain and clear that it doesn’t matter who the changeling is – both are her boys. The group in the forest really became a family as well, and I loved these dynamics.
I also found a bit disconnected from the characters? I enjoyed them all, and I did root for them, but I wasn’t really in deep deep with them. I think the story got so focused on the story so much that it kind of veered away from the depth of the characters as much as I wanted it to be. I mean, they were great from the surface level, but I wanted much more.
Overall, this is a fun, light middle grade novel that is perfect if you would like to dive deeper into if you’re looking for a book about family, fairytales, and heart. It has a few slight bumps with disconnection but overall, a solid, fun read.
rating: Jasmine because while I loved being part of this world, I still had some slight bumps on the magic carpet ride
content warnings: n/a
🧚 About the Author 🧚
William Ritter is an Oregon author and educator. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark.The Oddmireis Ritter’s first series for middle-grade readers. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling, award-winning Jackaby series for young adult readers. Visit him online at rwillritter.wordpress.com and find him on Twitter: @Willothewords.
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