Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Changeling King (Estranged #2)

Aldridge, Ethan M. The Changeling King (Estranged #2)
Published October 1st 2019 by HarperCollins
Copy provided by the publisher and Wunderkind PR

After the events of Estranged, Childe has returned to his parents in the World Above and has gone back to being called Ed, and Edmund has returned to rule the World Below and is now called Cinder. Things are calm enough that Cinder invites Ed, his sister Alexis, and their parents to visit the kingdom. The parents find it a lot to take in, and when the father is kidnapped by a troll and the mother must go to rescue him, they are not thrilled about leaving their children there. Cinder knows that the kingdom is his responsibility, and Alexis and Ed find the World Above to be very boring after the adventures that they have had. When the magic starts to weaken in the World Below,  they rally their forces to try to figure out how to restore the kingdom. Ed has to deal with the former queen, who has returned, and still treats him more like a bauble than a son. Alexis is glad to finally learn some magic, although it doesn't always turn out well. Cinder has to navigate the difficult role of ruler while fighting against traitors and figuring out his feelings for Fawntine. Working together, the siblings manage to restore the magic, but in a very unusual way that will make the next book, should there be one, VERY interesting.
Strengths: Like the illustrations in Estranged, these are very beautiful, and even the scenes that are supposed to be dark manage to be light enough to see details, something not all graphic novels can manage. I like the sibling relationship that Alexis has with both of her brothers, and having the parents involved in the beginning adventures was especially welcome. Alexis learning magic made the plot of magic disappearing seem more urgent, and the supporting characters helped to flesh out the story. 
Weaknesses: Poor Ed. He's clearly suffering a lot more than Cinder, but there's too much going on for him to really process all of the abuse he received at the hands of the queen, although it is touched on. That would be a whole book in itself!
What I really think: My graphic novel fans are not as fond of fantasy books, and my fantasy readers don't go for graphic novels, so this series hasn't circulated constantly like Raina Telgemeier's books, but it has found enough readers to make it worthwhile. This just means that the books won't fall apart quite as quickly, which is fine with me!
Ms. Yingling

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