Switched: read our review and win a signed copy
There have been great rumblings in the literary world recently, all fuelled by that self-publishing powerhouse, 27-year-old Amanda Hocking who is now unofficially titled the ‘Ebook Queen’. A former struggling writer receiving nothing but rejection letters, she made one last stab aimed at the fast-paced world of ebooks by posting her unpublished novels on Amazon. Within six months, she’d sold 150,000 copies and after 20 months that figure expanded to over a million.
This makes reviewing her books, which are shrouded in hype, inherently difficult. It’s hard to talk about the substance of a book without getting caught up in the frenzy of exactly how phenomenal Hocking’s success truly is, and what this could mean for the future of internet publishing. The Wall Street Journalhave called her “A Tolkien for our times”, and her impact has drawn comparisons with that of the Harry Potter series author, J K Rowling, when she burst on to the literary scene back in 1997.
Hocking’s latest offering Switched introduces Wendy, a stroppy, maladjusted but beautiful teenage girl with a paranormal ability to control the actions of other people, and who has always felt that she doesn’t fit in. When she was six, her mother accused her of being a monster and tried to stab her to death. It’s been downhill ever since, as her aunt Maggie and elder brother Matt have moved around America trying to find somewhere Wendy feels at home. Everything changes with the arrival of a dark and handsome stranger, Finn, who informs her that she is a changeling, a troll baby switched at birth with a human family for economic gain and it is time for her to rejoin her real family in the magical city of Förening.
In fantasy terms, vampires and werewolves were exhausted in the Twilight novels, J K Rowling practically owns the rights to witches and wizards and J R R Tolkien has already covered Halflings and elves, so, what’s next? Trolls, naturally. Those hideous monsters typically found lurking under bridges.
Not traditionally the most desirable of mythical creatures, Hocking has got around this by making trolls attractive with a similarly sexed-up name: Trylles. When Wendy meets her actual mother, the cold and regal Elora, she finds out she is a princess and heir to all of Förening. Cue multiple suiters vying for her attention, introduced a sinister threat from warring tribe the Vittra,topped by some romantic drama and it’s a familiar scenario: a young girl in love, torn between romance and duty.
Hocking’s short chapters, punchy sentences and penchant for cliff-hangers will keep readers engaged and it is easy to devour this book in one sitting. However, the rather clichéd subject matter – and slightly predictable plot – will switch some readers off (as will Hocking’s insistence on narrating the book in Wendy’s teenage voice) and can sometimes make the writing sound like its heroine, artless and jarring: “When Matt saw me, he looked really pissed off and a little awed, so I knew that I must look pretty awesome.”
Relying on the conventions of teenage fantasy rather than exploring or exploding them, Hocking taps into that familiar angst of feeling unloved and different, with the promise that perhaps you are in fact special and destined for greatness, away from the inconvenient nastiness of modern life; you just need to be rescued and made royal first.
Putting all of this aside, Switched is a target-marketed, accessible and entertaining book with few pretensions. With Switched only book number one in her Trylle series, and with the rights to Trylle trilogy film already sold, Hocking is surely a force to be reckoned with.
WIN A SIGNED COPY OF SWITCHED BY AMANDA HOCKING [NOW CLOSED]
To celebrate the release of Amanda Hocking’s critically acclaimed bestselling novel Switched, the first installment of the Trylle Trilogy on January 5th 2012, we’ve got some fantastic goodies to give away! One lucky winner will receive a copy of the novel signed by Amanda Hocking herself, and a signed poster to mark the release! Two runners up will also receive a signed copy of the book.
Switched introduces the reader to Wendy Everly. She first knew she was different the day her mother tried to kill her, accusing her of having been switched at birth. Although she’s certain she’s not the monster her mother claims she is, there is a secret she keeps from everyone. Her mysterious ability to influence people’s decisions, without knowing how, or why.
When handsome newcomer Finn turns up at her window, her world is turned upside down. He holds the key to her past and is the doorway to a place she never imagined could exist…
To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the following question:
What are the titles of sequential two books in the Trylle Trilogy after Switched, released in the UK in 2012?
Please forward your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Trylle Trilogy, visit the official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/amandahockingtrylle
Terms & conditions:
- This promotion is open to UK residents only
- Closing date is Friday 3 February 2012
- There is no cash or other alternative to the prize stated, the prize is not transferable and no part or parts of the prize may be substituted for other benefits, items or additions
- Winners will be picked at random and contacted by the host site. The prize will be delivered to the winner within 28 days of confirmation of delivery address
- Prize consists of 1 x Switched signed book and 1x Signed poster for one main winner
- Two additional runners up will each receive 1 x Switched book signed each
- The editor’s decision is final and binding on the entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.