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(The Changeling Saga #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  2,149 ratings  ·  91 reviews
In Changeling, the people had long suffered under Det Morson's power. When at last, the wizard Mor joined the fight, Det and his infamous Rondoval castle were destroyed. But the victory was not complete, for the conquerors found a baby amidst the rubble: Det's son, Pol. Unwilling to kill the child, Mor took him to a world where the ways of magic were considered mere legend ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published January 28th 2003 by iBooks (first published June 1980)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,149 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Jan 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: zelazny
Upon the death of Det Morson, the wizard Mor takes Det's son Pol to a world dominated by technology and switches him with baby Daniel Chain. Pol is raised as Daniel Chain and Chain becomes Mark Marakson, a youth with an extraordinary aptitude for technology. When villages kill Mark's father and attempt to kill him, Mark vows revenge and begins building an army of war machines. Who can stop him? None other than Pol Detson, the boy raised in his place...

While a fantasy story, Changeling is more ab
Apr 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is one of Zelazny's openly comic efforts, poking some fun at fantasy novel cliches but also showing a number of more serious themes that will be familiar to readers who have read Zelazny more widely than just the Amber series. For example, opposites seperated and in tension (magic and technology, as in Jack of Shadows) and arch-villians who don't start off intrinsically evil. The latter is perhaps the more interesting in this case; the development from mis-understood well-meaning kid genius ...more
Dec 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is the first of two books Zelazny wrote in this series. I'm sorry he didn't complete any more. From the dedications, at least one more was planned (one to each kid). Again, he's mixed Fantasy with SF into a very interesting tapestry that's a quick, fun & interesting read. He's put a somewhat unique spin on well worn subjects & brought them into conflict & out again.

A world chooses magic over technology & then circumstances lead a well meaning sorcerer to exchange babies between the two worl
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I can't believe this book was written by the same author as Nine Princes in Amber (a series that I adore and have been re-reading every few years since high school). The plot was ridiculous, the dialogue was wooden, the characters were one-dimensional, and the writing was choppy. The book seemed like something a teenage boy who admired Zelazny would write as fanfic.

The only reason this dud is getting two stars instead of one is the entertainingly cheesy illustrations. (Although I'm not sure why
Aug 11, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zelazny fans
Recommended to Chris by: Jim
This was a great quick read. It was done in a simple style, yet was very layered as a story. In this book you have the two switched at birth, now grown up young men finding their places in their alien worlds. They are both outcasts of a sort.

A great tragedy causes the wizard Mor to realize it was an error to switch the babies at birth, and to try to rectify the situation, brings back the one from the modern world into the wizard world. The two meet, and at first seem like they might be friends.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful tale about the conflict between magic and technology.
Gilbert Stack
Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here’s a Zelazny novel where it’s not clear for several chapters which of the main characters is the hero and which the villain. An evil sorcerer is killed at the beginning of the book leaving his infant son alive behind him. The victors are reluctant to kill a baby but also terrified of leaving a child alive knowing he is the heir to great magical power and could reasonably be expected to seek vengeance on those who killed his parents. Their moral conundrum is resolved when the wizard who aided ...more
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I hadn't read this book since the mid-80's, and decided to give it another whirl. I liked it. Zelazny is so good at mixing worlds of myth and of tech (Amber, Jack of Shadows, etc.), although this feels like one of his more rushed efforts, where the plot drives along, and characterization sort of jostles along in the back seat. The "thread" magic is enthralling and wonderful to read. If you haven't read it in awhile, go for it. ...more
Dec 25, 2019 rated it liked it
A thing I've always loved about Zelazny is his ability to write short novels with plot and worldbuilding other authors would stretch out into a trilogy. Changeling is a pretty good example. ...more
Dec 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
A random book I picked up at a thrift shop recently - couldn't pass up classic 80s fantasy (in hardcover!). It was more than I really wanted to pay (I want to say ~$7) and it wound up being a book club edition - which bummed me out more than a little - BUT it's still a pretty neat find. Circa 1980, cool, retro cover:

...with the obvious notable exception of the "cover babe". More on that in a few sentences.

Another quirky thing about this is that is' an "illustrated" book. Sort of. Once or twice p
Mark Muckerman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book started out SO good, had so much potential, and to be honest, the actual story isn't that bad but fuck is the dialogue awful. And the one female character is so one-note, she may as well have been a stick figure. maybe she was.

So i got about 60% of the way through, which is about 20% more than I wanted to read but I was determined to continue, obviously it got so .... cheesy, kinda cliche, that I just couldn't read further.

I'm not going to judge Zelazny on this title alone, I'll chec
Fred D
Oct 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim Schmelter
May 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Saying that Changeling isn't Roger Zelazny's best effort is like saying the Arctic can be a bit nippy. The characters are paper thin and forgettable, the writing stilted and amateurish, and the plot something that clearly fell out of the editing process during the writing of one of his far superior Amber novels. Being unfamiliar with the series, I started reading the much better Madwand before I realized that this book preceded it. A happy accident, it turns out; if I had started with Changeling ...more
Bonnie Hutton
Jun 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
I thought the concept behind this book was unique, but the execution was lacking in depth and creativity. Everything was rushed. There was no character development so much as awkward leaps. The dialogue was cheap and contrived. The characters were not in the least bit relatable. The author clearly had a story he wanted to tell that had the potential to be compelling, but it feels like he didn't take the time to flesh it out fully. Overall would not recommend, and I'm really not that picky of a r ...more
Erik Graff
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans maybe
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I rarely like fantasy books. Despite its being by a favored author, this one was no exception.
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, 1980
I think Zelazny really wanted to write a rock opera.
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's far from Zelazny's best, but it can be taken as a light satire on '70s sic-fi/fantasy - including his own. ...more
I have read probably half a dozen Zelazny books now and I'm at the point where I starting to read some of his lesser known titles (one of these days I will get around to Amber, but I prefer to dance around everything else first). Hence I decide to read Changeling which follows two men, Mark and Pol, both from the heritage of the evil Det but living on different worlds with no knowledge of their past.

Mark is a tinkerer of machines while Pol is a musician. Pol eventually ends up in the same world
Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy, zelazny
This is my third time (at least) reading Changeling, as I make my way through the Zelazny canon. I've seen other reviewers refer to the novel as "comic" or a bit of a parody of the sword-and-sorcery aspect of fantasy. I really didn't see that; the novel doesn't strike me as comic or satirical. It's a pretty straight-up fantasy: magic, griffins, basilisks, demons, dragons, harpies, and werewolves are all mentioned on page one. Granted, most of these, with the exception of dragons, don't really co ...more
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
"Please. Let me finish. It's not just a sermon on good behavior. You're young, and I got the impression on the way up here that you had just come into your powers. I've a feeling that this may be a pivotal point in your life. Looking back on my own, I see that there were a number of such occasions. Everyone seems to have a few."

Changeling doesn't stand the test of time. The story follows two men swapped between their home worlds at birth. One world is a place of magic. The other is Earth. The wo
Douglas Milewski
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Changeling (1980) by Roger Zelazny is popcorn fiction at its finest. It's not only popcorn, it's buttered popcorn with garlic salt, still warm from the popper. There's no real substance here, only guilty pleasure as sword and sorcery comes into conflict with rayguns, two of my favorite popcorn genres.

The setup is simple and easy, in a good way, because that's what makes a good sword and sorcery. Two children are swapped with each other, each from different worlds, and pretty soon, each is findin
Mar 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
I am a life-long science fiction fan. I like hard science fiction (think Benford, Bear, Reynolds, the Expanse) allowing for concepts that are far enough out there to allow a whole lot......except "magic". My Jesuit instructor in English (Lit) at a Boston prep school assigned The Hobbit and the LOTR when I was a freshman, that would be 1966. I loved it then and I love it now, having read LOTR at least four times. I also loved Zelazny's Lord of Light, which I still regard as science fiction.
William Leight
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This book flops because it lets itself be driven by its scheme, rather than by its characters. The early sections, before things get too schematic, aren’t bad. Cleverly, Zelazny upends expectations by starting the book with the final, climactic confrontation between good and evil, getting things moving with a bang. The scenes of Mark and Pol struggling to adapt themselves to worlds that they just don’t fit into are also decent, although it’s quite insane to think that Mark could even conceive of ...more
Anthony Bracciante
It has been over 30 years since I last read anything by Roger Zelazny and I had forgotten what a master of the SF/Fantasy genre he is. Changeling is no exception. This is a quick read that I found hard to put down. I'm looking forward to starting the sequel Madwand tomorrow. Both books have been gathering dust since I bought them decades ago from the SF Book Club. I'm glad that I now have time to read them. ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it liked it
A true product of its time when an acoustic guitar is the weapon that wins the war between technology and magic. And the voluptuous woman in the skimpy costume is nothing but the pawn between two powerful men. Wait. That might be today.
George Stephens
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: zelazny
Very inferior Zelazny. Started with promise but characters have little depth and action repetitive. I had previously read many years ago and quite enjoyed it at the time, but thought sequel was much better.
Will read sequel again to find out.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
A book from my childhood that I was happy to find I enjoyed even as an adult.
I think the plot is a little simplistic, but still a fun read.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm not sure why I had picked this book up and why I had paid full price for it, I only have a vague memory of it but I got through it pretty quickly so it wasn't terrible? ...more
This is so delightfully Seventies. A fun romp that is a sci-fi fantasy. The illustrations are cool, but kind of ridiculous at the same time. But the characters are fun.
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. character who plays guitar and has magic tattoos [s] 9 204 Aug 17, 2014 10:06AM  
Roger Zelazny: Changeling - spoilers 30 28 Dec 05, 2009 03:54AM  
Roger Zelazny: Changeling - No spoilers 17 20 Nov 19, 2009 08:17AM  

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Roger Zelazny made his name with a group of novellas which demonstrated just how intense an emotional charge could be generated by the stock imagery of sf; the most famous of these is A Rose for Ecclesiastes in which a poet struggles to convince dying and sterile Martians that life is worth continuing. Zelazny continued to write excellent short stories throughout his career. Most of his novels dea ...more

Other books in the series

The Changeling Saga (2 books)
  • Madwand

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