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The Waterborn (Children of the Changeling #1)

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  901 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
The River flowed through all the land, deep and unstoppable, a god in his own right. His head was in the mountains; his arms embraced the outlands; his body lay at the core of all the civilized realms; and his legs stretched on to the distant sea. Dark and sluggish, he rolled unchallenged, dreaming his own invincible might and glory into stark reality.

Everywhere he touched
Hardcover, 436 pages
Published July 23rd 1996 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,628)
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Althea Ann
Jun 15, 2015 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was introduced to Greg Keyes' work by the magnificent 'Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone' series. 'The Waterborn' was his first published novel, which I sought out after finishing those. It's not as polished as 'Kingdoms..' but it feels like the same author, also doing high fantasy. It's got some close-to-stock characters, but it's also intriguing, with appealing drama and a world with convincingly different cultures interacting.

It parallels the story of Hezhi [a sheltered, isolated princess coming o
May 20, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
**I got this from Netgalley***I was not entirely sure about this going in. Princess....Hero...a journey. It sounds like all the other fantasy novels out there. I resigned myself and began to read and to read and to read. I discovered a well written, well thought out solid fantasy story. And better yet, I could not put it down. I was taken away. I loved the world the author created, and I liked the characters and I enjoyed the journey. Don't let the silly cover scare you away. It was a most enjoy ...more
Jan Pospíšil
Apr 24, 2013 Jan Pospíšil rated it it was amazing
Waterborn is a gem, possibly plucked out of another bizarro dimension and very roughly shaped by a novice who didn't quite know what he was doing, but who managed to strike and polish exactly where needed.
Oxymoronical? Impossible? Especially compared to Keyes's other books like the Briar King etc. saga, Waterborn is a very fresh and quick read. Storylines don't drag, characters don't have time to bore me.
And while the whole plot setup is quite archetypal, as the characters seem to be, the sett
Okay, confession time: I don't care much for Perkar.

Sure, he's an okay dude, and none of the bits that make up his story are that objectionable: loves a goddess, kind of dim but essentially decent, guilt complex, moment of racism before he ~*becomes true friends*~ with the guy he was kind of a dick to, yadda yadda. If this book was just about Perkar, even his interesting setting (a sort of polytheistic proto-agrarian society) wouldn't have kept me from putting the book down. He's a callow youth
Jul 14, 2009 Sheldon rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I found myself very conflicted about this book. At first glance, it would appear to be a standard fantasy novel, with the farm boy who goes on a journey to be a hero, and princess in distress, and an incredibly powerful enemy that must be overcome. However, things are not what they appear to be. The "hero" turns out to have little to no idea what he's doing, nor does he have some set or prophesied destiny to fulfill. In fact, several other characters comment consistently about how stupid and unw ...more
Dec 22, 2007 Femmy rated it liked it
I remember enjoying this book when I read it a few years back, in part because it doesn't take place in a quasi-medieval-European setting like so many fantasy novels, so I recommended it to my husband. He liked it, too, and bought the second novel in this duology, The Blackgod. As I’ve already forgotten most of the plot, I reread The Waterborn before continuing to the second book.

Well, the second time around wasn’t as magical as the first time. The story takes a while to really take off. Nothing
Red Haircrow
Nov 30, 2010 Red Haircrow rated it it was amazing
The beauty of this tale is in it's searching quality. The hero is young, has heady ideals of what he wants to do with his life and which direction to take but not quite how to get there or behave. And there's an invisible line of fate drawing him forward to a meeting with a young princess who needs rescuing. Keyes books are immersive, and this one is no different. If you allow yourself you can sink into these waters and characters smoothly. World building and realization is also strong.

I love fa
Apr 17, 2008 Jordan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Young Adults and older
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This book was amazing, for those who don't a little polytheism thrown into the mix. Great story of a boys journey to become a man and help his people, reccomend the sequel too.
May 13, 2007 Janet rated it it was amazing
Just reread this--it's still terrific. Please ignore the hokey cover. A quest fantasy that isn't based on Lord of the Rings and its zillion offspring. It's got a hero, an enchanted sword, a heroine in jeopardy, but from there on out the novel takes its own path. The best part is all the gods, inhabiting just about everything, some friendly, some indifferent, some hostile. It feels like this is really how people used to view the world. I also liked the hero's realization that he hadn't been noble ...more
A Reader's Heaven
Dec 09, 2015 A Reader's Heaven rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, net-galley
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

Hezhi is a princess, daughter of a royal family whose line was founded by the god known as the River. Her blood is not only royal, it is magic, with a power that will not become known until she approaches adulthood. As she grows into her gift, she will take her place in court—or be judged unworthy and cast into the darkness below the palace.
When Hezhi's cousin D'en is kidnapped by the priests and taken below,
Jenn S.
Aug 14, 2015 Jenn S. rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with this book the more I read it. I can honestly say this is a gem in the fantasy genre. The writing is solid and intelligently devised with no glaring grammatical issues. I feel the plot is just this side of original with enough of a fresh take that it feels unique. The same can be said for the characters who while at first feel familiar take on a fresh feel with depth and well layered personalities. They are easy to connect with and to feel that emotional tug as you are along f ...more
Jul 29, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
A story that is full of gods, ghosts and magic including mischief. The Changeling is the river god of the city Nhol. There are no other gods nearby as the Changeling has driven off all the other gods. He is part of the blood of the royal family in Nhol. When Princess Hezi becomes a teenager, she will be tested by the priests, after which she will move into the royal apartments or vanish as her cousin did. Why did he disappear?
Meanwhile Perkar comes of age and falls in love with a stream goddess
Ian Wood
Apr 09, 2015 Ian Wood rated it did not like it
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-
Apr 27, 2015 Jaclyn rated it really liked it
You can see this review as well as other fantasy book reviews on my blog, My Life as a Bookworm

Not sure what I expected from this fantasy book but it wasn't a high fantasy story that is filled with Gods and Goddesses and a whole bunch of world building. Keyes is an amazing storywriter. I was blown away by the descriptions and the emotions throughout this book.

The story bounces back and forth between Hezhi a 12 year old princess living in isolation in a castle and a 17 year old barbarian named Pe
Oct 24, 2013 Michaela rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It took me a while to get into the story, bud then I was even surprised how good the book become to be. Good story about brave young princess and boy, who tries to do his best but always turns out to do the right opposite.
S.B. Santiago
Sep 02, 2011 S.B. Santiago rated it it was amazing
This was the first Fantasy novel I ever picked up. After reading his books, I didn't want to read anyone else. He is a great author. If you are looking for a really great novel try this one, and The Black God.
lézengő reader
Feb 14, 2013 lézengő reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-library, fantasy
Good idea, good characters and well-built world but the plot could have been a little less simple. Still I prefer simple to stupid, so am looking forward to reading the sequel.
Danielle Darrington
Oct 13, 2013 Danielle Darrington rated it it was amazing
Nobody knows about or will every read this book which is sad cause it's good.
Jan 23, 2014 SittieCates rated it it was ok
The Waterborn (Chosen of the Changeling, Book 1) by Gregory Keyes (who writes as J. Gregory Keyes and Greg Keyes) is a story of magic, fantasy and the gods that govern its land. I like its book description when I saw this at a bookstore. So, I immediately bought it and brought it home.

Its sense of anthropology is good. Its writing is simple and, at some parts, somehow confusing. While there were scenes in the book that do not do much in moving the story forward, its hold on its mystical essence
Lindsay Stares
Apr 17, 2016 Lindsay Stares rated it really liked it
New ebook release! I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review.

Premise: Perkar lives in a land full of gods: the little gods of things, the gods of places, the bigger gods of the old places that bargained with his ancestors. Hezhi lives in a city with one god. The River controls the city, controls the priesthood, controls the rules that govern Hezhi’s royal blood. They each set forth to change their fate, and so may change the fate of many more.

I really liked this. It’s been a dece
Casey Wheeler
Aug 10, 2015 Casey Wheeler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, net-galley
I received a republication copy of this book (April 28, 2015) through NetGalley with the understanding that I would publish are review on my blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google + pages along with NetGalley, Amazon and Goodreads.

I requested this book because I am interested in fantasy . This is the second book I have read by the author Greg Keyes. I will give you my overall impressions of the book without giving away too many of the details of the book. I hate it when I start to read a r
Apr 09, 2015 Lobo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nem szokványos fantasy háttér előtt működő történet ez. Anélkül, hogy elolvastam volna az író életrajzát a regény végén, tudtam, hogy a világépítésben az amerikai indiánok hitvilágának komoly szerepe van, s valóban Keyes antropológusként ezekkel foglalkozott is. Perkar és a népe eléggé természetközeliek ahhoz, hogy több istenben higgyenek, akik mindenfelé ott vannak, abban ami él. Ennek ellenpólusaként létezik Nhól városa ahol meg az egyisten hit tartja össze a népet, s a két különböző kultúra, ...more
Sep 29, 2012 Josh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and creative first volume of the fantasy epic. It does have a few "first volume" problems, however.

First off, despite the apparent level of action going on, the entire book is really only exposition/set-up for future volumes. It's a bit iffy to get 2/3 of the way through the book and realize that a) very little of significance has actually occurred, and b) very little of significance is actually going to occur for the rest of the book. Yes, the 2 lead characters are put on their p
Oct 06, 2014 Michi rated it it was amazing
Extremely well-written. The author manages to weave his worldbuilding neatly into the story, so the reader can understand the world without ever being distracted from the plot. The book always switches between the two main POV characters at just the right moment to make you want to keep reading, the protagonists are masterfully written and last but not least there is a refreshing lack of insipid romance subplots.
May 22, 2007 Christian rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers of fantasy genre fiction
Keyes does an excellent job of demonstrating his understanding of anthropology and "primitive" cultures. A little too much, at times. That being said, the characters are believable and very detailed, and the setting is amazingly complex and well conceived.

This is a good one -- a marriage of high fantasy and a more spirit-based religious system -- the novel has the basic fantasy tropes combined with a few new ideas.

The flaw? It reads a bit like someone transcribed their Dungeons and Dragons game
Mar 17, 2015 Jesse rated it really liked it
If there's ever a moment in Waterborn where the young Greg Keyes novice comes through, it doesn't detract from the quality of the book in the least. The world of Waterborn is rich with memorable characters in an imaginative and exotic fantasy world. It also carries with it that distinct style that Keyes' later works would carry on as well.

While not his greatest story, it is nevertheless a worthwhile read, and I look forward to the sequel, along with any other work Keyes may release in the future
Ramoths Own
Jan 24, 2016 Ramoths Own rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and didn't realize that it had a sequel until I had started it. I did order the next one and can't wait for it to come. It is a different type of fantasy story. It is not set in the "familiar" fantasy world and the description of the people and the magic of the world is excellent. I am looking forward to reading book two.
Sep 05, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it
This book is AWESOME. Perkar is kind of an idiot, and realizes that he's an idiot and that's awesome. Hezhi is just awesome from cover to end. You should read this book so you will be MORE AWESOME.
Jul 13, 2014 Maria rated it it was amazing
When I was 9 my teacher handed me this book to read during some silent time we were having. She never asked for the book back and I never returned it to her.

I have many, many favorite books from my childhood, but none are quite as special to me as this book is. The hardcover edition has maps and beautifully done drawings. Its pages aren't cut like a book normally is, instead they are rugged and choppy. I'm sure all of that played a part into falling in love with this book as a child, but I also
Jun 23, 2015 Desira rated it it was amazing
One of the most engaging fantasy books I've read in a long time. Good, strong, and well fleshed out characters, acting in an imaginative new world.
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Gregory Keyes is a writer of science fiction and fantasy who has written both original and media-related novels under both the names J. Gregory Keyes and "Greg Keyes".

Greg Keyes was born in to a large, diverse, storytelling family. He received degrees in anthropology from Mississippi State and the University of George before becoming a fulltime writer.
He lives in Savannah, Georgia.
More about Greg Keyes...

Other Books in the Series

Children of the Changeling (2 books)
  • The Blackgod (Children of the Changeling, #2)

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