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Estranged #2

The Changeling King

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After years of pretending to be human, the changeling Edmund Carter has assumed his rightful role as Cinder, king of the World Below. But not everyone at the royal palace is happy about his return.

Meanwhile, Ed is adjusting to human life in the World Above. His birth family treats him with a kindness he never knew growing up in the Fay court, but Ed misses the sense of purpose he had as a knight.

When a mysterious new threat emerges in the World Below, Cinder must call on Ed and their older sister, Alexis, for help. But nothing can prepare them for the family secret that awaits at the end of their perilous quest.

224 pages, ebook

First published October 1, 2019

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About the author

Ethan M. Aldridge

8 books295 followers
Ethan M. Aldridge is a bestselling author and illustrator. He is the creator of the fantasy graphic novel ESTRANGED (a Junior Library Guild selection, Indie Bestseller, and YALSA Great Graphic Novel For Teens), and its follow up THE CHANGELING KING.

Ethan was raised in a small town in Utah. Growing up, Ethan’s favorite things to draw were monsters and whatever dinosaur he liked that week. He now does more or less the same thing for a living. Ethan lives in New York City with his husband, Matthew, and their dog, Kitsune.

Ethan has had the pleasure to create work for HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Random House, and EA Games.

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5 stars
467 (42%)
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461 (41%)
3 stars
144 (13%)
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26 (2%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 190 reviews
Profile Image for Nicholas Perez.
374 reviews90 followers
December 2, 2021
4/5 stars

A great sequel and an improvement over Estranged. I think the pacing's a bit fast in a few places here and the ending wraps up a bit quick, but I really enjoyed this graphic novel. I would love to see more in this world!

Estranged: The Changeling King takes places some time after the events of Estranged, Cinder is now the king of the World Below and Edmund is trying to adjust to his life as a human under his birth parents. However, things cannot stay peaceful and simple for long. Many higher court fae are unsatisfied with Cinder's rule and believe that magic should remain for the elite. Not only that, but it is time to pay the royal tithe so magic can remain in the World Below. But usurper in the fae court is about to quicken things that will lead to utter turmoil.

All of my favorite characters are back! I love Cinder's struggle with being a king and trying to discover whether he is apart of his human family or not. And the crushes between him and Fawtine as so adorable! Edmund gets his own character arc too as he tries to find his own place between human and fae. Also, Alexis is back! She's trying to be a better fighter and learn magic and trying to be a bridge between Cinder and Edmund. I loved Alexis so much here! I'm glad she was back. Edmund and Alexis' parents are a nice addition too. They were so funny in their dopey-ness. Fawtine and most of the other side characters were great additions too.

I love that we got to see more fight scenes, magic, and more of the World Below. Ethan M. Aldrige really expanded upon the world here. Everything wraps up nicely, albeit a bit quickly, although I can't help but feel that there's more instore for this world. Especially after the ending. I feel that Alexis' plan was just kind of last minute, but hey it was a nice turning point.

I want to return to this world! It should be adapted into an animated TV show.
Profile Image for Cassie.
338 reviews65 followers
December 22, 2019
This is such a sweet graphic novel series. The family theme is so strong in this one, and it’s beyond precious. There’s so much more drama and magic in it. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this series, it’s definitely one I want to keep up with. And with this ending, it’s nice to know that it’ll continue. I was afraid it wouldn’t, but it definitely will. I just can’t wait to be back with these wonderful characters!

If you’re looking for a graphic novel that’s all about friends, family, magic, and drama, then let me present the Estranged series!
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 29 books5,609 followers
June 3, 2021
Such a fun idea, and such gorgeous art! I like how this one addresses the weirdness of a human and a fae going back to the lives they were born into, but know nothing about.
Profile Image for Owly&HerBooks.
374 reviews70 followers
December 19, 2019
Right in the beginning of this second novel, we are thrown into a dispute between those that are not of the court, giving us a further look into Cinder's new reign and duties over the realm below. And it's  such a doozy. So much is jam packed in this volume and I'm living for it. Especially with character's like Fawntine that make this an even more enjoyable read. Along with all the beloved characters from the first book Estranged.

All of that absolutely includes more of Ed and Alexis, their new life routines, everything that Ed is trying to deal with and adjust to in the world above. There is so much that goes on in the mind of Ed and Cinder and both of the roles they have now been placed into. Also, the craziness that has come from all of the changes that have arisen from the first novel.. That's what unites all of them even more in this volume.

We get to see more of Whick again, which is always a plus, then more of Ed and Cinder's earthly bound mother, that I can't get enough of, and the rest of the realm below that are out to take over the court at any cost necessary. I found all of that to be more of a connection for the reader, as we got to see more of the emotional side of all the characters' involved and what all these changes meant for them.

If you choose to go into this book, it's a definite must to read the first novel to get all of what I've mentioned above. Plus, those illustrations make this an even more fun read to get into, making the reader want to know more about all things fey and the realms (and creatures) that exist outside of the human world above ground. I'm glad I was able to get a copy of each of these books to share with my kids, as I'll definitely be passing these on to them.

***I received this copy from HarperCollins, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***
Profile Image for Toya (the reading chemist).
1,099 reviews95 followers
October 24, 2019
As soon as I finished Estranged , I couldn’t wait to pick up The Changeling King and re-immerse myself into this beautifully rich fantasy world that Ethan Aldridge has created.

King Cinder is still trying to adjust to his royal obligations as king of the Fae in the World Below. As to be expected, he must oversee the council meetings, which usually end in the goblins and Fae wanting to slaughter each other on site. While these meetings are utterly frustrating, one thing has become clear…magic is getting weaker and Cinder must find a way to keep magic from disappearing.

Ed is trying to navigate the World Above. He���s the epitome of the perfect son and brother. However, his parents and sister Alexis are worried about him since he’s struggling to find his purpose in the human world. When a royal letter from Cinder requests the help of Alexis and Ed, they spring into action to go help their brother with their parents in tow.

I found The Changeling King to be so much more emotionally charged than Estranged , and I absolutely loved it. Here we see the internal struggle that both boys face when it comes to finding the answers that they desperately seek. Ed battles with his purpose and why the Fae Queen chose him. Cinder struggles with being abandoned and is frightened of losing the one family he’s ever known to Ed. There were several heart string tugging moments.

I loved that this story gave us an even greater insight into the World Below especially with Whick getting a promotion to royal cartographer. Whick’s upgrade in sass was much appreciated. He’s definitely one of my favorite characters. I also loved watching Artemis’ and Alexis’ friendship reach new levels as well. Honestly, the character development in this story is just incredible. I appreciated all of their complexities and how each character added a layer of depth to the story rather than just being a side character.

Overall, Estranged: The Changeling King is an incredibly beautiful coming of age story that focuses on self-discovery and the importance of family and friends. I absolutely cannot wait for the next adventure that Cinder and Ed take on next.

Thank you to Wunderkind PR and HarperCollins for providing a finished copy for review. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
3,035 reviews10 followers
October 1, 2019
I'm not as enamored of the artwork as some readers are, but the story was excellent. I was a tad concerned about the royal lineage, based on what was shown in the story. I mean, if the young king is both gay and involved with a different species, there might be problems, based on the way the elite fay react to everything else. That is not a criticism of the story, but is something that this volume, at least, didn't mention or resolve.
Also, what the heck was that shield? Wishes in this world really do come out rather strangely.
There's also a whole bunch of plot threads dangling from the resolution of the story, and I hope the author goes back and tells some of those stories.
I really liked the human mom, but didn't care as much for the human dad. He was just too much of a wuss for the situation, but I can see being overwhelmed by what was going on.
Profile Image for Annabel G.
124 reviews9 followers
June 3, 2021
I didn't like this one nearly as much as I did the first one. The first one was really cool and really fun, but this one, not as much. The story ends very abruptly, The Wild Hunt are still out there and still have a hold on Ed, and there was this weird relationship between Cinder and Fawntine that I just did not enjoy reading through. Despite all this, though, I really am hoping for a 3rd book, and I still think the art is the coolest art I've ever seen in a graphic novel (and I read a lot of graphic novels)!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sandra Stedge.
154 reviews2 followers
October 6, 2019
Wow, I’m totally enamored by this world below and all the beautiful (and ugly) creatures. I’m so happy to see the storyline isn’t complete and can’t wait for more.
Profile Image for Nicole.
289 reviews44 followers
October 22, 2019

I know I rhapsodized repeatedly about Estranged last year–it���s still my favorite graphic novel of all time. The sequel is just as spectacular as the first. I read it in one gulp and then went back immediately and reread it in sips and savors. I almost can’t write a review because what can I say other than I just love this book so much? So much.

After swapping places again at the end of Estranged, Ed (the former Childe) and King Cinder (the former Edmund), are having trouble adjusting to their respective new lives as a normal human boy and the king of the World Below. When the boys’ human parents decide to take a vacation and visit Cinder, the two join forces with their sister Alexis and their golem friend Whick once again to stave off a threat to the kingdom of the World Below. Magic is disappearing and causing much unrest between the High Fay and the lesser goblins and witches and fauns and–well, everyone else. And it’s up to the King, his Knight, and his Enchanter to save the world.

The theme of family runs strong through this one, as well, in a beautiful continuation of the first book. But there’s also a new, gorgeous thread of each character figuring out who they are, where they belong, what they can do. Ed’s need to fill a role and Cinder’s nerves over being in charge and fitting in are both huge stumbling blocks that Aldridge manages to make small and personal, intimate and relatable for readers. If the first book was about discovering family and who is important to you, The Changeling King is about discovering why you are important to other people. If the first book is about who matters to you–this one is about why you matter to others.

And the art! is! stunning! Again, Aldridge manages to evoke the characters’ personalities in their designs, in the lines of their art. The watercolors bring a dreamy softness to the World Below that instantly identifies it as Fay, as magic, as other. It’s transporting, and for the time that I was reading the book, I was entirely absorbed by the details.

Anyway, there is nothing I don’t love about these books. The end is wide open for more story (Alexis, what have you done, you amazing girl!), and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the World Above and Below. As far as I’m concerned, Aldridge can keep writing and drawing these gorgeous books for the rest of forever and I’ll be happy. I could never get tired of these. They’re just…wondrous.
Profile Image for VL.
1,020 reviews23 followers
August 14, 2019
First of all, the art is just perfect. I mean I read comics all the time but this art is beautiful. Second, the story is also fantastic. If you haven't read the first Estranged, get to it and then order this one.
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,386 reviews419 followers
February 10, 2020
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.75 stars

This book is a direct sequel to Estranged, with maybe months passing — I doubt it’s more than a year — after the events in the first graphic novel. Ideally, you’d read the first book before jumping into this one, otherwise the story will be a bit harder to get into, and the twist at the end won’t have as much of an impact. Plus, it’s a beautiful book and deserves your attention.

Cinder was raised human, with human parents and a sister who loved him. And now he’s shown them that … well, that he’s not theirs. That he never was. Instead, he’s the son of a man and woman he’s never met, heir to a kingdom that doesn’t want him, and he’s trying to do his best. Unlike the other high fay, Cinder has no reason to hate the lesser creatures, goblins and gnomes and whatnot, and no reason to treat them cruelly. Instead, he treats them like people, which causes many high fay to look on their young ruler with contempt and hostility. Cinder isn’t having an easy time of it, trying to find himself in a world that even he doesn’t want to be in. But even if they don’t like him, they’re still his responsibility.

Read Elizabeth’s review in its entirety here.

Profile Image for Kylie.
753 reviews20 followers
October 20, 2019
4.5 stars!
This was a wonderful sequel. I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to like it as much as the first one. Parts of it felt kind of forced and I was hoping it wasn’t going to be like that throughout the whole book. I was pleasantly surprised.
The storyline picked right up after the first book and it was pretty action packed through the whole book. I liked learning more about the Below and it was told in a way that didn’t feel like information dumping. I liked the new characters that were introduced and the old characters that came back.
A lot of the time I feel like graphic novels are rushed and almost don’t feel complete. I’m always wanting more storyline, more character development (which I know is hard for graphic novels), but this one hit both marks so well with such a small amount of story. I felt what the characters were feeling and the storyline felt complete.
I absolutely love how this one ended and I’m hoping there are more installments to come!
Profile Image for Babsidi.
372 reviews
October 12, 2019
I adore this series. Book two is lovely--great character progression, freaking gorgeous art, and a continuing storyline that both gets me psyched for what's to come and manages to give a comfortable sense of conclusion that's not a cheap cliffhanger. Extra points for the parents being told what's happened with their kids, not just left to guess about the sudden 180 degree shift in their son's personality. Extra, extra points for depictions of the Queen and Ed's relationship as something messed up and damaging, but also important to him because she is, after all, the person who raised him.

There were panels I kept flipping back to over and over again just to stare at the emotion in the panels. The parents' reactions to Cinder's face shifting to fae-mode was just heartbreaking and I couldn't get past it.

I cannot wait for book three. And I already have four people waiting on the hold list to read this at my library.
Profile Image for Panda Incognito.
2,897 reviews53 followers
October 17, 2019
This book's family focus is unique for a fantasy graphic novel, and I appreciate its unusual take and positive messages. Even though I finished this last night, I still can't think of any other story where parents go to a fantasy world with their kids, and I love that element of this book. Even though parts of this story have too much frenetic action for my tastes, this book is well-plotted, has good twists, and ties up the book's adventure by the end, throwing in a stunning cliffhanger twist while still resolving the central story arc. I will definitely be back for book three!
Profile Image for Ally.
342 reviews20 followers
August 10, 2020
Absolutely adored this book! It was so nice to revisit the story of Cinder and Ed. Aldridge’s artwork and painting were perfect as always. I also appreciated how he touched upon the topics of not feeling loved or accepted by your parents in a subtle way without making the whole story about that. I really hope there a third book because that ending was essentially a cliffhanger and I need to know how the world will react to the actions made at the end.

Please give me moooooore.
Profile Image for Elevetha .
1,748 reviews166 followers
January 15, 2020
3.5 stars.

Thoroughly enjoyed this second installment in the series, with a couple reservations .

Wasn't thrilled, though hardly surprised, at the gay romance burgeoning between . Being MG, it's fairly light, but also being MG, it's not necessary to include.

Someone makes a very monumentally stupid decision which is treated as not that stupid, and that irritated me a fair bit.

Profile Image for Kerri.
1,028 reviews15 followers
July 8, 2022
I had some time with my tiny human distracted so I figured I may as well finish this one up too. The artwork was even more beautiful than the first, somehow. The characters have some good growth and the story continues alone well. There is definitely room for more stories here, but I also feel satisfied with how it stands as is.
Profile Image for DJL.
373 reviews
June 6, 2020
Pretty good continuation from Estranged Volume 1. There's also been a few loose threads not tied up by the end, which makes me wonder if there will be a third book. Family is truly the most important thing.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 190 reviews

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