Sunday, June 22, 2014

Book Review: The Word Changers

The description of the story had me intrigued; the first chapter had me hooked. Posy finds herself drawn into a book - literally. For a book lover like myself, this is the perfect plot.

Following that, throughout the book there are references to words, pages, margins, and other book-related terms. The word play around these is delightful. The author has a writing style that is creative and flows naturally. It never felt either too simple or too complex. 

There were very a few grammar mistakes in the book, but they were minimal (i.e., "Oh." The king said. It should be "Oh," the king said.) As an editor, I'm nit-picky, but they didn't trip me up as I was reading and there were only a few instances. (I actually debated mentioning them here - especially since, as I was given a pre-release copy, they may have been caught and fixed already.)

For the most part, the characters are unique and believable. Posy has a mixture of faults and positive traits, and felt easiest to relate to. Our situations may not be the same, but the feelings behind them are. The other characters are a mixture of believable and slightly flat (meaning, mainly good traits or mainly bad traits). There weren't any that stuck out to me as a problem, but some that could have been fleshed out much more. The way the story is written, though - mainly from Posy's perspective - there wasn't much chance of that and the author did a good job with the characters that were shown more. I did feel the change in Kyran was a little too abrupt, however it worked within the plot.

The romance was sweet, but I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it. I'm a hopeful romantic, so it definitely didn't bother me - aside from their ages. (Okay, as older teens, romance is natural, but I prefer it when characters are older. Old fashioned? Perhaps.) Near the end it started to bother me for a different reason, but I won't say more to avoid spoilers.

The overall plot is imaginative and kept my interest. The story begins almost immediately, and it brings the reader right into it, in the same way Posy is brought into the book. There is adventure and pain, goodness and mercy, evil and joy.

Other reviewers have called this an allegory, and it is one. The similarities to Christianity came through clearly even at the beginning of the book, but especially as it nears the end. From the perspective of a Christian, it wasn't preachy or overdone, and it was great to see the Truths throughout the book. More than once, I had to stop and reread a sentence to truly take it in and commit it to memory. The wording is that beautiful.

There is magic throughout the book. Magic brought Posy to the story, and magic guides many things within it. Although I am sometimes against magic in books, it didn't bother me in this one. I think the reason it didn't is because it wasn't shown as a positive thing. It wasn't necessarily shown as a negative one, either; it was just there.

Ashlee Willis is a talented author and I look forward to her next books. Although this book wraps up naturally and works well as a standalone, I would love a sequel! 

I was given a copy of the book in exchange for this unbiased review.

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(Available as an ebook now; in paperback tomorrow, June 23rd)

There's a Goodreads contest to win a signed copy of this awesome book - but it ends tomorrow, so hurry! Click here to enter.

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