When a mysterious new threat emerges in the World Below, Cinder must call on Ed and their older sister, Alexis, for help. But nothing can prepare them for the family secret that awaits at the end of their perilous quest.
With over two hundred pages of gorgeous watercolor paintings, The Changeling King invites readers on an epic journey through a magical world—one they will not soon forget.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Thank you Wunderkind PR for sending me these copies of Estranged and Estranged 2: The Changeling King in exchange for an honest review.
Although many of my students read graphic novels, I'm not often drawn towards them personally. However, when Wunderkind PR reached out regarding this children's series, I was really excited to read them, specifically the newest book in the series: The Changeling King. Following up on the switched-at-birth story of Cinder and Edmond, Cinder is now the king of Below (magical land) and Ed is living with his birth family above (but he was trained as a knight in fairy world). They are quickly brought back together and that's where the story begins.
Story About Personal Growth and Understanding
I love that all the characters in this series continue to grow and develop. From book one to two, we've seen Cinder go from hiding his identity to becoming the king of Below and learning what that positions means for him; meanwhile, Ed is trying to find his place Above as he is reunited with his original family but struggles to say goodbye to his adoptive one. These are really deep and tense problems that are addressed in an approachable and child-friendly way, which is really wonderful to see.
Gender and Sexuality are Openly Accepted
One of my favourite things about this series is that characters genders and sexuality are not discussed, but rather understood and accepted without question. This is genuinely brilliant. Wick's pronouns are "them" and at no point does another character question this or make them uncomfortable. Likewise, Cinder is gay and his family is incredibly supportive and we get to see his feelings for another character grow without judgement. I love that this series includes non-cis characters in a judgement-free way. I truly hope that this will be our world in the near future.
Strong Family Values
One of he major themes of this book is the bond and importance of family. I love that readers are given the chance to see all the different dynamics and relationships within a family. There is the discussion around natural families and adoptive ones and the different relationships children might share with each. There's Alexis, the amazing older sister who welcomes both brothers into her life and heart regardless of DNA (I'm obsessed with her. This is the older sibling we should all want and want to be). And there's Ed and Cinder themselves who have a lot of resented towards each other, but come to see the other as a brother, which is a beautiful transition for two boys who have been il-treated by the fae world. There are some stumbles along the way for this family, but ultimately it's a beautiful adventure to watch.
Overall, this is a really great graphic novel series to introduce to young readers and suggest to reluctant readers. It was an easy-to-follow story line that also introduces and deals with intense issues like family relationships and who someone is supposed to be. With multiple characters to connect to, I felt that this was a very strong and wonderful journey for children to go on. I'm so happy I had the chance to read these books and look forward to introducing them to some of my students who are struggling with reading.
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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