The book in question is The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw. You may notice that it's been two months since I posted any reading responses. Part of that is because school started again and the workload picked up considerably, part of that is because I've been obsessed with editing my own work, but part of the problem is I could not get into reading The Moorchild. It took me six weeks to read the book, honest, when I read the latest Harry Potter book (four times the size) in a matter of hours.
Why? I was absolutely captured by the first chapter -- thought it was the best first chapter I'd ever read. That chapter establishes character, time period, and tone, and draws the reader into a mystery -- is the baby a changeling or not? But after such promise early on, the book quickly settled into one of those bogs on the moor that McGraw describes -- I felt my mental feet being sucked into goo and had to forcefully pull them out.
I don't want to give the impression that I disliked the book -- I didn't. But I didn't fall in love with it, and that sort of surprises me. It had a very likeable protagonist -- Moql/Saaski, the changeling who doesn't know she is one, only that she is very different from all the other children in the village. Saaski's journey of self-discovery is mildly interesting, as she begins to put together the clues that tell her she is one of the Folk. She has an enchanting friend, Tam, who treats her well when all the other kids are just cruel to her. And the relationship between Saaski and the couple who think they are her parents is touching, especially the relationship with her da'. When Saaski is finally revealed to be Folk, I felt myself nearly tearing up at the loyalty and kindness Yanno shows to her.
Note I said nearly tearing up. Why did this book leave me sort of cold? I'm not really sure. Maybe the premise was a little too thin to be drawn out over so many chapters?? Maybe it had more flowery description than I personally care for?? I just don't know. Maybe the book is like Saaski herself -- able to detect emotion because of her human side, but unable to experience or revel in it because of her Folk side.
I'm not sorry I read it, but I feel a huge sense of relief that I'm finally through!