The Last Changeling by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple Book Review

The Last Changeling (The Seelie Wars #2) by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 28, 2014

In book one of the Seelie Wars, Prince Aspen and midwife's apprentice Snail tried to prevent the Seelie War, not realizing that they were starting one instead. Chased by two armies, both of which will kill him, one slower than the other, Aspen and Snail are forced to seek refuge with Professor Odd's traveling troupe. However, safety is an illusion because trouble seems to find these two wherever they go. A hungry troll, Border Lord berserkers, drow, boggles, and a cloaked spy to name a few. As if those weren't bad enough, there is something rather odd about Professor Odd, something more than magic tricks and acting. Something that could be just as dangerous as an army.

What I love about this series is that the authors do not spoon feed their readers. Although a knowledge of Seelie and Unseelie mythology is helpful, this information is also slowly revealed throughout the books, making it a great introduction to the myths. Although it probably obvious to most readers even in the first book, Snail is a changeling, as if the title didn't already let us know. Snail is completely blindsided by this news too, although Prince Aspen is not at all and is rather miffed that Snail didn't know. Isn't she aware that no Seelie or Unseelie has red hair?

What I dislike about this series is the absolute volatile nature of both Snail and Prince Aspen. One wrong word and the two are at one another's throats. Their miscommunications were okay in the first book, but I expected a deeper connection to have formed by the second and was constantly surprised when Snail in particular, treats her companion so poorly. It made her a hard character to like. At least Prince Aspen is trying to learn and grow.

I also felt like the pacing was a bit slow on this one. Although a lot happens, there were sections that felt unnecessary and I wasn't rushing to finish it. In fact, I started and finished two other books while still reading this one because I needed more. I wasn't willing to give up on it completely though because I was intrigued enough to see where the plot was going. I am not sure when the third installment will arrive, but I am interested enough to want to finish the series in its entirety.