Berkley, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-425-21629-3
Changeling is the second book in Yasmine Galenorn’s Sisters of the Moon series, coming after Witchling. I’ll direct you to read the review of Witchling to get a primer on Ms Galenorn’s alternate universe and the background of her main characters because I’m lazy that way. However, this book can stand alone so you don’t have to read the previous book in order to enjoy this book. However, reading this book before Witchling will spoil that book for you, since there is an ongoing story arc that span across books in the series.
Which brings me to another point: this is not a paranormal romance. This book has even less romantic elements than Witchling. You’ve been warned, folks.
Changeling is narrated by the middle Halliwell D’Artigo sister, Delilah. She’s the one who is half-Fae and Were, although she can only transform into a tabby cat at the moment when the moon is full. In this story, our PI heroine is approached by the hunky werepuma leader of the Rainier Puma Pack, Zachary Lyonnesse, to help him investigate and stop the systematic murder of his people. Delilah as well as her sisters Camille the witch and Menolly the vampire are coming to the rescue, hurrah. Alas, the bad guys are working with a demon so our heroines and their hangers-on will have a considerable fight on their hands.
I have to say, Changeling is even more messy than Witchling, which already has a kitchen sink feel to the world-building. Here, the author has added more items into the kitchen sink this time around, most of them don’t make sense to me, such as Delilah, a Fae, paying homage to Bast, the Egyptian goddess of cats. How did we go from Sidhe to Egypt again? Also, the pacing of the story is often ridiculously slow, with most of the exciting events taking place only towards the end. Needless to say, these more happening moments feel rushed and compacted together.
I’m also confused by the author’s tone. As with Witchling, Ms Galenorn tries to insert cutesy-hee-hee things into her story to exist right alongside the more adult (sexual and violent) elements of her story. Perhaps it’s because Delilah is supposed to be this boyish Mary Sue kitten character but Changeling exhibits an even wider disconnection between the cutesy and sober elements in the story. For example, pages after pages can be filled with cute scenes of the Sisters with the gargoyle baby Maggie or their assorted boyfriends until, wham, out of the blue a genuinely creepy murder scene happens. I wish the author will stick to one coherent voice instead of alternating between wanting to script the new Sailor Moon cartoon (when Delilah shifts from cat to woman or vice-versa, her clothes transform with her so she’s never naked when she shifts back into human form) and trying to write a more sober urban fantasy story. Don’t get me started on the names of the characters in this story. Zachary Lyonnesse, my goodness. Ms Galenorn seems to get them from the giant handbook of Mary Sue pen names.
I should probably also point out that Ms Galenorn has decided that the Fae by nature are not monogamous, so like Camille, Delilah collects boyfriends who love her so much that they don’t mind sharing her with other guys. After all, Delilah is such a girly Powerpuff Girls-type character here. How can those boys resist, eh?
I cannot say I am fond of the repetition of details here. How many times do I need to be told that Menolly has “copper braids” like Bo Derek, for example? I’m also not too thrilled with Ms Galenorn’s preoccupation with describing what the characters are wearing. It’s the norm here for the author to begin a scene by describing clothes and shoes. Perhaps one can argue that maybe it is Delilah’s personality to notice what the people around her are wearing but after a while, enough is enough. I am not keeping track of what these people are wearing day by day so spare me the details. With the pacing of this story being as slow as it is, the last thing I need is redundant details.
I’ll ride out this series for now, but if Changeling is any indication, the author should really try to settle on one coherent voice and style when it comes to her writing. Is her story a kiddy cartoon or a tale for adults? She needs to make up her mind on this.