Ashlee Willis. The Word Changers. Conquest Publishers, 2014. ISBN-10: 0990397912. ISBN-13: 978-0990397915. See here to purchase the book.
The Word Changers is Christian fantasy for young adults. While I am not part of the book’s target audience, I enjoyed reading it.
The book is about Posy, a fifteen-year old from a dysfunctional
family. She is pulled into a fantasy book about a land with a king, a
queen, a prince, a princess, intelligent owls, centaurs, and mermaids.
The reason that Posy was pulled into the book is so she can take the
place of the Princess Evanthe, who ran away. Posy is now to act as
The characters are fully aware that they are characters in a book
that has readers. Whenever a reader opens the book, the characters are
supposed to assume their roles and act according to the plot. (As one
of the characters in the book says, you do not know what the book’s
characters are doing when you are not reading it!) The problem is that
the king and the queen have altered the plot in an attempt to attract
more readers (or so people believe). In this new plot, the princess is
sacrificed. And yet, death is not exactly permanent, for the princess
comes back to life whenever a new reader reads the story.
The king and queen have usurped the role of the Author, who
represents God. The characters wonder where the Author is, and if the
Author even cares about the story anymore. Meanwhile, there is
political turmoil. Creatures have been exiled from the kingdom, and the
king is advised by owls who have their own interests at heart. In the
midst of this situation, the cynical Prince Kyran and Posy venture out
to find the missing Princess Evanthe.
The Word Changers has Christian symbolism. The Author
represents God. The topic of free will vs. determinism looms large in
the book. There is a purple mist, who is like a still, small voice, and
who speaks to people (or creatures) when they are quiet and receptive
to listening. Love and forgiveness are also significant themes, as is
The Word Changers does not tell readers everything. We are
given glimpses into how the king and queen became the villains that they
are, but not the full story. Overall, this did not detract from the
book. There was one place, however, where I was intrigued and wished
that the book would elaborate. The king and the queen are talking, and
there seems to be a mutual assumption that sacrificing one of the
characters actually accords with ancient written law (page 294). This
would make sense, from a Christian perspective, since Christianity
emphasizes the sacrifice of Jesus. The king and the queen were not just
sacrificing a character to draw more readers, as some of the other
characters believed, but they were somehow perverting the truth. Part
of me wishes that The Word Changers expanded on this; another part of me actually likes how The Word Changers handled it, since it preserves a sense of mystery—-it communicates that there are more layers to the story than meets the eye.
The Word Changers is engaging and inspiring, and it also has
a sweet ending. I recommend it to lovers of fantasy, especially those
who enjoy fantasy that has Christian symbolism and lessons.
I received a complimentary copy of this book (as an e-book) from BookCrash, in exchange for an honest review.