Monday, January 13, 2014

Case Study No. 1170: Ben Tyson

Harvest Of Changelings - Warren Rochelle
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Harvest Of Changelings - Warren Rochelle
Although the familiar themes of fantasy are present in this novel, the characters are not princes or sorcerers but ordinary people with seemingly ordinary lives. Ben Tyson, a librarian, met and loved Valeria, a fairy woman; but her death left Ben to raise their child, Malachi, alone. The two of them lived a quiet life until Malachi turned 10 and began to manifest previously unknown powers. Now the lords of Fairy have called home the changelings they left in the universe generations ago, waking up long-dormant DNA and fay blood. More than a straightforward fantasy novel, this tale's underlying current deals with people that are different-physically, mentally, and in their choice of lifestyle. The fairy children are seen as outsiders to mainstream culture, and as they become aware of each other they must unite to overcome the apathy and prejudice of humans, as well as the evil Fomorii, before it is too late.Author: Rochelle, Warren Publisher: Golden Gryphon Press Illustration: N Language: ENG Title: Harvest of Changelings Pages: 00000 (Encrypted PDF) On Sale: 2010-01-27 SKU-13/ISBN: 9781930846524 Category: Fiction : Fantasy - Contemporary
Although the familiar themes of fantasy are present in this novel, the characters are not princes or sorcerers but ordinary people with seemingly ordinary lives. Ben Tyson, a librarian, met and loved
warren rochelle, fiction, fantasy, contemporary
Tags: warren rochelle fiction fantasy contemporary
Added: 1 year ago
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"Harvest of Changelings"
by Warren Rochelle
Golden Gryphon Press (2007)

Rochelle delivers an excellent traditional fantasy that draws on centuries-old Celtic fairy lore. Fairies, notably infertile among their own, have long interbred with humans, often leaving behind orphaned or abandoned children who never fit in and who develop magical powers and magical vulnerabilities, seeking self-knowledge as they evade their enemies, the evil Fomorii. A crisis is brewing. Librarian Ben Tyson, who lives in Garner, N.C., is concerned about his son, Malachi, whose late mother was fey. Like other half-fairy children, Malachi must heed a strange destiny. The book's strength lies in the sensitive characterizations and the texture of its contemporary reality. Some Wiccans may be upset by depictions of black witchcraft (though Rochelle is clearly aware of white witchcraft), but otherwise this should be a book with wide appeal, as it touches so sensitively on basic emotions, recognizable by anyone who remembers childhood.



In Harvest of Changelings Warren Rochelle introduces the reader to a modern day fairy tale. Or, perhaps that should be a modern day faerie tale. Ben Tyson is a librarian from Garner, North Carolina. In the prologue (set in 1981), Ben met and loved a fairy named Valeria. She loved him back and together they had a son named Malachi. When Malachi was still an infant Valeria was murdered by the Formoii, an offshoot branch of faerie intent on destroying Valeria's Daoine Sidhe faerie. The first chapter moves ahead ten years and it is now 1991. Malachi is ten years old and beginning to exhibit his magical heritage which Ben has not mentioned or prepared him for.

Harvest of Changelings uses Ben Tyson as a framing device for the story. Excerpts from Ben's journals are used to give an adult perspective which gives shape to the story Rochelle is telling. But, while the story is told mostly through Ben Tyson's eyes, Harvest of Changelings is not about Ben. Harvest of Changelings is about Malachi and three other children who are discovering their identities as magical beings in a mundane world and dealing with the ever increasing threats against their safety.

This is a different kind of faerie tale. While the prologue sets up the idea of a war amongst the faerie, the first third of the novel (or more) is little more than a coming of age story. The prologue, which is very much out of place with the pacing of the rest of the novel, is necessary because it tells us what we need to know about these children and their powers. The reader will not spend chapters wondering what exactly is going on here. Unfortunately, the reader will spend chapters wondering when exactly Rochelle is going to get to the point. The early chapters, or viewpoint segments as there are only eight chapters in the 300+ page novel, introduce Malachi, Jeff, Russ, and Hazel to the reader and they each have their own story which needs to be addressed. The construction of the novel in this manner makes sense, but it is frustrating because the prologue tells us a war is coming but the reader must then face page after page of bad parenting, misunderstanding teachers, and outcast children finding out who they are.

With that said, once these children do find out what they can do, Harvest of Changelings starts rolling. The danger starts to build, the viewpoint of a black magic user begins to hint at the stakes introduced in the prologue, and when strange events begin to happen around the children, in the town, and in North Carolina at large, the novel becomes more imperative. Now the reader begins to truly care about what is happening and now we wonder where Rochelle is taking the novel.

The fact that Harvest of Changelings focuses on children does not make this a children's book. There is darkness here and it isn't the darkness of Harry Potter. This is adult darkness, adult violence, and adult themes. It only gets darker before daylight.

What is the bottom line here? Warren Rochelle has created a very interesting and compelling look at a world where faerie is just outside our perception and knocking at the doors of our reality. This is not a perfect creation. If we turn too quickly some of the construction still clunks a little bit. There are rough edges here. The pacing is a bit off. With all that said, Harvest of Changelings is a worthy entry as a modern day fantasy where the light is in hiding and the darkness is barking down our door.

Harvest of Changelings is a interesting story and well told. There are flaws, certainly, but not enough to suggest that this should be avoided. Rather, this is a good introduction to an author who is working with some good ideas and just needs some more polishing on the execution of those ideas. Certainly, Harvest of Changelings is worth the time spent reading the novel. This novel is not enough to create Warren Rochelle as a brand where every publication is met with eager anticipation (not as, say, The Atrocity Archives did for Charles Stross). It is enough, however, that when the last page is turned and the cover is closed we can sit back and know that we enjoyed the journey Rochelle guided us through.

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