In a world where magic is something only a select class have the capacity for, Sarah Smith is just a young girl who serves a higher class family with her mother and sister. In Changeling, she finds herself thrust into a new way of life that she had never thought was available to her. As the first book in the Sorcery and Secrets series listeners are introduced to a magical world set in an alternate past that is full of surprises.
In the world remade by the Guardians’ Restoration, which takes place following the Industrial Revolution and has made an alternate world with limited technology in use, non-magical people known as Snipes serve magically gifted Guardians. Sarah has been under the guardianship of the Winters for her entire life and has never thought she could become anything more than a servant. Beyond that she also suffers from a variety of medical issues that make it difficult for her to complete her daily chores. While she’s 14 she believes she looks even younger and beyond that she suffers from weakness following an illness that struck her when she was three years old. After a chance encounter with a young man, Sarah experiences magic directly for the first time and later that day she is shocked when she manages to levitate a vase in the parlor of her Guardians home. This leads to her being enrolled at Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladies under a new name, Cassandra Reed, for if anyone learned a common Snipe could do magic it could mean a complete change to society.
Amanda Ronconi narrates Changeling wonderfully by shifting between a variety of voices for each of the characters. For the main character Sarah she actually provides two separate voices, which provides an element of duality to the character. When she speaks aloud as Sarah to other characters she uses a slightly different accent, which is similar to those used to denote a lower class in British works, from the one used for Sarah’s internal voice, which is more like the accents used by Guardians throughout the book. The author of this series, Molly Harper, is a prolific writer with a variety of series on Audible, though Changeling is her first Young Adult work. When Sarah begins to put together the fact that she actually has magic powers the reveals are exceptional. The magic within this universe are seemingly so natural and how this magic begins to present in people is something remarkable. As a fan of the Harry Potter series and also books like The Little Princess while growing up and the more adult Parasol Protectorate series, I found Changeling to be a fun combination of elements that I enjoyed from all of these works. You can listen to Changeling on Audible, as well as other books in the Sorcery and Secrets series, today.