Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1)
By Amanda Hocking
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Paperbck, 336 Pages

When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She’s not the person she’s always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel—all because of Finn Holmes.

Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken…though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she’d ever admit. But it isn’t long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth—and he’s come to take her home.

Now Wendy’s about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that’s both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she’s meant to become…

This edition includes the bonus story "The Vittra Attacks".
-- Goodreads

3 Stars

As obvious as this is, trolls aren't featured often enough in entertainment. The only trolls known to man are the big, ugly ones that smell like dung and eat horses in Ella Enchanted. The extremely original Amanda Hocking has a created a fantasy world in which the trolls aka. trylle exist in a similar fashion as the court of Louis XVI before the French Revolution. The resemblance between the two is uncanny, creating a unique story, even among the dozens of YA fantasies published in the past decade.

Even though the premise of Switched one of a kind, Switched as a novel fell flat for me. The characters were flat, the plot was dragged out and the whole society of trolls was so messed up. I cannot enjoy a book that portrays trolls as the "good guys," while they steal money and the children of humans and party like it's nobody's business. No sign of remorse, not even Wendy, the main character, doesn't seem to really care too much. She does show signs of believing that the changeling business is wrong, but beyond that, her thoughts are still as self-centered as always.

The characters of Switched were all extremely flat to me. You can only see characters that are defined by one characteristic. No one seems to have any other emotion besides the one that was first introduced. If the characters do not feel genuine, the story will not reach its full potential, which is Switched's problem. Wendy was an unconvincing protagonist who frequently whined about how nothing went her way in the world of Trylle. Most YA novels show some change in the protagonist from the beginning to the end, but Wendy is still the same brat at the end, causing me to dislike her immensely.

I will not say that Switched was a terrible novel. It was simply mediocre in terms of plot, characters and premise. However, it was an enjoyable read that left a lasting impression because of its emphasis on family and loyalty. There were so many characters in Switched who showed powerful familial ties and incredibly loyalty, it's almost too good to be true, yet I still fell for it. Switched may not be the best read, but it is a remarkable tale that will leave you dying for more at the end.

P.S. The short story, "The Vittra Attacks," that was added to Switched was totally misplaced. It prepares the reader for the next installment, Torn, but leaves the reader many questions because of its confusing and unclear purpose, unless the reader has already read Torn, which is impossible if the novella comes directly after Switched.

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