June 29, 2006

Wolf? Man? Wolfman?

Though this novel by Vivian Vande Velde is now out of print,
The Changeling Prince can be found in the library in paperback version, and if you have an hour or two to kill, it's dark and grisly and entertaining. It's also loosely connected to another Vande Velde novel called The Conjuring Princess.

Weiland is sixteen... he thinks. He knows that he's a wolf who has been changed into a human. He knows he lives in a mountain hall full of other changed animals by the will of Daria, who is an evil woman. But that's all he knows for sure.

Weiland has been trained as a highwayman, and all he knows is fighting - hand to hand, tooth and claw. Being a man is painful and confusing, but Weiland hates being a wolf. He can remember nothing in wolf form, though Daria once told him that the wolf pelt on her bed used to be his mother. Weiland is terrified of eating one of his housemates, or a human, and being unable to remember. Being a wolf brings on mindless animal instincts. Being a wolf also means sometimes stumbling into traps. Weiland must be wise and canny, or Daria will let him be killed. Her punishments are merciless. So, when Daria moves them to the town below their mountain hall, Weiland knows she's got a reason... but what?


DaviMack said...

The thing is, though, that the character is somewhat of a cipher - I mean, I somehow feel that she doesn't really know him enough to write him. His reactions just don't ring true, entirely. Don't get me wrong - I really liked the book, it was a good read, and was a great idea - but I just didn't feel that he was all there, you know?

The other thing is that I wondered what happened ... after all's said & done, who gets all of the stuff she left? I'm guessing that's what his friend's all about - going back up to the fortress & stealing the treasure - but ... well, what about it? We get no inkling as to what's going to go on later, and it left me unsatisfied.

And WHY is he a prince?


tanita s. davis said...

Vande Velde actually addressed that Prince thing. Seems her editor did that. She was a wee bit annoyed...she said that she knew that Weiland was neither a changling nor a prince, but with an editor, whaddya gonna do?