Reviewed by Kristin Luna
ISBN: 9780692356920 (Paperback)
Igneous Books — 340 pages. Ebook also available.
When doorways between the mortal world and the Fae world begin popping up unpredictably, the responsibility lands on Nicole to figure out how to close them, and quick.
Nicole is a strong-willed 32-year-old woman living in Portland with a lazy husband and a high-paying but dead-end job. Life had been fairly normal for Nicole until she caught her husband, Owen, cheating on her with another woman, and she turned the woman into a mouse.
With the help of a Fae living in the human world (and also a super-handsome stud named Kailen), Nicole discovers that her Fae powers have manifested, making her half-human, half-Fae: a Changeling. And, as Kailen helps her to understand, Changelings are powerful. So powerful that they are outlawed. In order to avoid death, and for her status as a Changeling to be accepted in the Fae world, she must fight in the Arena to the death.
Meanwhile, someone has been opening doorways between the human and Fae realms. Fairy creatures make their way into Nicole’s work, hobgoblins attack her with regularity, and someone or something strange has been murdering people in Portland. As a Changeling, Nicole is the only person in the human world or Fae world that can close these doorways and figure out how to stop them from opening.
Loose Changeling is a fast-paced fantasy told by Nicole in first person. Andrea Stewart’s strong female protagonist is reminiscent of Jay Wells’ heroines, and she’s as competent and confident as the character Kate Beckett from the TV series Castle.
Andrea Stewart won first place in the Writers of the Future contest, and her short fiction has been featured in Daily Science fiction, Galaxy’s Edge, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She lives in Northern California with her husband and likes to tend to her suburban farm when she’s not writing or painting. Her inspirations include many contemporary fantasy and science fiction authors, including Brandon Sanderson, J.K. Rowling, and Jim Butcher. According to her website, Andrea is currently working on the second book in the Changeling Wars series, Spare Changeling.
My Rating and Overall Opinion
On an arbitrary scale of 90’s pop divas, I give Loose Changeling a full-on Mariah Carey. Mariah released nine albums in those ten years, and I can only hope Andrea Stewart can be as prolific so I can keep reading her books. Mariah Carey’s incredibly smooth voice shows off a wide-range. Sure, the lyrics are nothing too serious or heavy, but boy, does she make singing that well look easy. Similarly, Andrea Stewart makes writing a complex story seem carefree and conversational, keeping your interest piqued at every turn. While I see this series appealing more to a female audience, that doesn’t make it any less engrossing or page-turning as a Brandon Sanderson novel. I’m calling it now: Andrea Stewart is the 1990’s Mariah Carey of modern urban fantasy.
Merlin was also a Changeling and was Nicole’s predecessor.
“Mark [Nicole’s brother-in-law] had given me one of his belts, which I’d repurposed to hold the items I wanted to take into the Arena. I had the butter knife, the metal coaster, a rag from the kitchen, a few of Tristan’s toys, a spray bottle of old perfume, and the gun in a holster. I didn’t feel dangerous, but I felt prepared.”