PUBLISHER: Tor Books
RELEASE DATE: 5th January 2012
FORMAT: Paperback, 335 pages
GENRE: Paranormal, Young Adult
What if your entire world was built on a lie? Wendy Everly knew she was different the day her mother tried to kill her and accused her of having been switched at birth. Although certain she’s not the monster her mother claims she is – she does feel that she doesn’t quite fit in… She’s bored and frustrated by her small town life – and then there’s the secret that she can’t tell anyone. Her mysterious ability – she can influence people’s decisions, without knowing how, or why…
When the intense and darkly handsome newcomer Finn suddenly turns up at her bedroom window one night – her world is turned upside down. He holds the key to her past, the answers to her strange powers and is the doorway to a place she never imagined could exist. Förening, the home of the Trylle. Finally everything makes sense. Among the Trylle, Wendy is not just different, but special. But what marks her out as chosen for greatness in this world also places her in grave danger. With everything around her changing, Finn is the only person she can trust. But dark forces are conspiring – not only to separate them, but to see the downfall everything that Wendy cares about. The fate of Förening rests in Wendy’s hands, and the decisions she and Finn make could change all their lives forever… (Goodreads)
**May contain spoilers**
I first came across Amanda Hocking’s Trylle series when she was self-publishing, even though the original series was flawed with editing errors it didn’t detract too much from the flow, and I enjoyed the entire series. With SWITCHED now in a professionally edited format, I jumped at the chance to re-read it, even travelling up to London to meet and purchase a signed copy from Amanda Hocking herself.
The version of trolls Hocking creates is not the usual creatures you find lurking under bridges waiting to jump out on the billy goats gruff. These trolls are beautiful, magical creatures who have a connection to the earth, constant bad hair days, are fussy eaters, short tempers, and hate shoes! I like this unique spin on trolls and it’s a refreshing change in the young adult market.
SWITCHED instantly grabbed my attention as the main protagonist, Wendy Everly, describes an incident that happened eleven years ago when her mother, Kim, accused her of being a monster and tried to kill her on her sixth birthday. I can understand why Kim felt that way. Wendy comes across as a fussy, demanding, self-absorbed, tantrum throwing brat. However, this is not the only reason Kim wanted to kill Wendy, as she recognized that Wendy was something other than her child.
“I was pregnant, Wendy! But you’re not the child I gave birth to! Where is my child?”
Now with Kim locked up in a psychiatric hospital, Wendy is left in the care of her Aunt Maggie who is the most considerate patient woman you could imagine. Wendy lives with both her Aunt and her older brother Matt who both dote upon Wendy, giving in to her every need because of her traumatised childhood. Hence the attitude!
Wendy never quite fits in with her peers and I can understand why, as I also disliked Wendy initially. Sullen, selfish, ungrateful are not endearing characteristics.
Due to frequent expulsions, Wendy’s family have recently moved and there is only one person at school who is newer than Wendy, his name is Finn. The new comer, Finn, can’t keep his eyes off Wendy and at first the attention he gives Wendy makes her think he is a little creepy, but soon Finn intrigues Wendy with his cryptic and evasive answers.
At a school dance Finn runs hot and cold with Wendy, one minute Finn’s dancing with her, the next he’s insulting her. Wanting to escape Wendy manipulates a class peer to drive her home using an unexplained ability.
I’d discovered that if I thought about something and looked at somebody hard enough, I could get that person to do what I wanted.
This ability is called Persuasion and it allows Wendy to control some people around her, but we are yet to see its full use or limitations. It is a power of the Tyrell and is the start of her powers manifesting, which leads me to believe she may have more powers to come.
After upsetting Wendy, Finn turns up outside Wendy’s bedroom window requesting a chance to explain. Finn tells her she is a troll, a changeling and part of the Trylle tribe, Finn explains he is a tracker, someone who finds and brings the changelings home.
In Förening, the home of the Trylle tribe, Wendy learns that the Queen of the Trylle, Elora, is her real mother, which makes Wendy a princess, placing a huge responsibility on her shoulders. Elora is a very powerful gifted Trylle and often appears aloof. It’s Elora’s indifference, and Wendy’s new responsibilities, that help break her spoilt attitude and you start to see a slow positive change in Wendy’s character.
The middle part of SWITCHED is about Wendy meeting humans and trolls who reside in Förening and is a little slower in pace. Wendy meets Rhys, the human baby she was switched with at birth, Tove, a quiet reserved noble Trylle who would be eligible for the crown if Wendy seemed unsuitable, and Willa, another recently returned changeling who becomes Wendy’s friend. Wendy quickly learns the hierarchy that exists and how your position has a huge significance within the Trylle community, there is a distinct class divide.
Even though the introductions of these characters is a little slow, it does allow you to connect to them. I like Rhys, he’s cheeky, happy and very friendly and helps to soften Wendy’s bratty immature nature. Tove is an exciting magical Trylle and Willa comes across as your normal fun teenager who keeps checking out the men and we definitely can’t forget dark mysterious Finn who is completely selfless, unpredictable and creates a sexy presence in the palace.
Wendy admires Finn a great deal however, she is uncertain of his feelings towards her as everything he does seems to be connected with his job. The sexual tension increases as she waits to see if her feelings are returned. I love the chemistry that builds between Finn and Wendy and I’m looking forward to see if their relationship develops in Torn.
Many of the Trylle’s powers become evident when the Vittra attack the palace at Wendy’s coming home ball as the Trylle seek to protect Wendy. Vittra is an opposing Troll tribe who want to kidnap Wendy. Tove is amazing in this battle and I became a huge fan. However, once the attack is over, Wendy feels useless and thinks Tove would be a better leader. For the first time Wendy shows maturity and thoughtfulness in her final decisions in this book, this decision sets the scene for Torn.
At the end of SWITCHED there are a few chapters from Loki’s point of view, Loki is a Vittra who is responsible for obtaining Wendy for the King. Although Loki was not mentioned during Wendy’s story I am sure she will be meeting Loki in the future. Loki gives us an insight to the Vittra people and the ruthlessness of their King. Loki sounds an intriguing character who I hope we will hear more from.
SWITCHED held my attention from the offset. Although I found Wendy selfish, immature and spoilt, there were other characters that carried the story through namely, Finn and Tove. I liked the unique twist on trolls, and Wendy started to show admirable qualities towards the end indicating growth and maturity she lacked earlier in the novel. I’m looking forward to Torn and seeing how Wendy’s character develops further.
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