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The Changeling by Sean Williams
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Nov 29, 2011

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bookshelves: australian-author, junior-fiction

It was the title of this book that first caught my attention: The Changeling. What a beguiling word ‘changeling’ is. No wonder there are four other books listed in my library's catalogue with the same title. It’s a word which conjures up visions of magic and fairies. Together with the appealing picture of a boy, a camel and swirling yellow lights on the cover I knew I had to take a closer look at this one.

The story begins in what I first thought was a typical Australian setting, a farm in the outback gripped by drought, but the fantastic element soon kicks in when a mysterious invisible entity called Escher befriends our badly mistreated hero, a boy called Ros. Thus begins a vivid, exciting tale of mystery and surprises. Along the way it asks some big questions like who can we really trust? When is a friend not a friend?

There’s a lot of darkness in The Changeling which may unsettle younger readers. The crabblers’ warren is the stuff of nightmares, Ros believes his family want him murdered and unhappily he learns that in the end there’s no one to rely on but himself. There are two more books in the series so perhaps his fate improves. The author, Sean Williams, is a prolific, talented writer of sci-fi for adults and The Changeling was shortlisted for Best Young Adult novel and Best Children’s novel in the 2008 Aurealis awards.

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