Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

SwitchedIf you love dark fantasy novels, but are sick of vampires and werewolves, how about trolls? These aren’t ugly little dirty things. They’re beautiful people with mind-bending powers… but they could use some work on their people skills.

Wendy always knew she wasn’t like other people. She doesn’t like wearing shoes, her hair is completely unmanageable… and her mom tried to kill her. She also has the power to make people do what she wants just by thinking about it really hard. But she’s on her last chance after having to move school’s yet again, an even though she’s not convinced that she’s all good her aunty and brother seem to being doing everything they can to protect her. That is until Finn comes along. He’s come to take her back to her real home, and it turns out that she’s royalty.

Even though we’ve been flooded with a lot of teenage angsty dark fantasy lately, I really liked this book. It’s one of the better ones of the genre.

It does begin like a lot of others, with the girl who doesn’t fit in meeting the mysterious guy. But I promise, if you stick with it you’ll enjoy it.

Wendy starts off as the usual grumpy teenager, feeling lost and annoyed, and she’s got a bit of the whole ‘damsel in distress’ thing going on. But I’m hoping that through the series she’ll turn it around, embrace her inner warrior-princess, and become the heroine of the story. We’ve already seen that she’s got some fight in her, so hopefully she’ll get a handle on her powers and start taking control.

The thing I love about this book is that it’s got a bit of the fairy tales I read as a child in. When you’re young you see trolls as scary monsters hiding under bridges, or at the end of your garden. Now they’ve been given a whole new look. Also, who hasn’t wished they were a princess at some point?

With fantasy novels, I believe the best stories are the ones that suck you into their world – and this one definitely does that. You can almost picture Forening (the Trylle town) as if it is a real place. This book makes the idea that there is a completely different world among the human one almost plausible. You don’t need to travel to a different planet or through a portal. It’s just hidden away.

This is a book that gets better and better with each chapter. As soon as Wendy gets to Forening, it’s almost a like different story. You can already see how she is evolving as a person and suddenly we are introduced to all these new, interesting characters.

Rhys the ‘mänkslig’ who she was switched with at birth is a great character. Amanda Hocking (the author) put a bit of humanity among the Trylle, when humans usually seem to get forgotten about in the fantasy genre.

I love when these new words are created for stories – Mänks (humans), mänkslig (human babies swapped for Trylle), changelings (the Trylle who are swapped at birth), Forening (which is actually Danish for ‘association’), etc. Sometimes it’s like learning a new language.

Even though this is YA fiction, this book would appeal to adults who want to get into fantasy books too. It wouldn’t be too overwhelming for a first-time fantasy reader. I know some sci-fi/fantasy books get a bit too technical, making the story hard to follow. But I found this one hard to put down.

Switched is the first book in The Trylle Trilogy, by Amanda Hocking.


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