Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Review: Changeling

Delia Sherman. Changeling.

This book is delightfully clever. Sherman's vision of New York Between, in which fairly tale creatures from all sorts of countries and mythologies mingle with new urban fairies native to New York City. The setting and ideas in this novel bring new pleasant surprises on every page. The novel tells the story of Neef, a mortal changeling girl raised among the fairies of Central Park. When she snoops into a forbidden fairy dance, she is exiled from the park and must go on a quest to be allowed to return to her home.

I love the ideas of this book. The characters and setting are excellent. Even better is the portion of the book set in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I would love to see whole adventures set in this fairytale version of the museum in which the exhibits act as docents and the Curator maintains order. Neef is a darling protagonist and her adventures are daring and clever in perfect fairytale storybook fashion.

However, twice I started this book and stopped around page 50 before I finally managed to get engrossed in the story and read it all the way through. I wonder if perhaps that would not be true for someone of the reading level intended for the book (12 and up according to Penguin). Once I got through to page 55 or so, where the real adventure starts, I very much enjoyed the book, but overcoming the inertia of putting it down and not picking it up again was a serious problem for me and one that I don't understand. Intellectually I enjoyed this book very much, but for some reason it just didn't keep me coming back to it.

Anyway, this is a great book for young urban readers who will love and understand the magic of that lurks in the City. I now want to read The Good Fairies of New York for comparison purposes, and re-read From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler for more Metropolitan Museum action. What is it about the Met that I love so much?

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