Book Review: Changer of Days by Alma Alexander

For all the many books I read, it has been a while since I have found an epic fantasy in which to wallow and forget the world around me. When Alma Alexander’s Changer of Days crossed my review desk, though, I knew it was going to be one of those books. I was right.

1. Thoughts on the plot

This book follows Anghara, a child queen, given the throne immediately after her father’s death and then usurped by her half-brother days later. From there, her journey takes her to a family home, to a school for the Sighted, and even across a desert to a land of witches and old gods. She learns to harness the power within herself and about her purpose in life, all the while waiting for the right moment to return home and claim that which was hers.

The general plot I’ve given does not do justice to this book at all; it is far richer and deeper than anything I could write in a single paragraph. The story weaves things like overcoming trauma, self-discovery, the bonds that lie between people, and a journey of impossible odds together into a tapestry that is stunningly vibrant. I couldn’t help but be pulled along on this journey with Anghara, whither it went.

2. Thoughts on the characters

There are a few primary characters in this story, besides our girl-queen. Her half-brother Sif is the ever looming shadow that stands behind her motivations, though he gets comparatively little page time. His actions drive most of the other characters in one form or another and while Anghara is the rallying point, he is the force which pushes them to achieve their goals. Exceptionally well done for an antagonist. There are also several characters that join Anghara on her journey to discover herself and her power, and while they get only a little more page time than Sif, they are equally rich and intriguing.

Anghara, though, as a main character is stunning. At first, it seems impossible that a child growing through hardship could be so perfectly calm, so steady in her character and intent that it is just the tiniest bit difficult to like her. But, as the story weaves on, her character unfolds into a many-layered living thing, full of flaws and personal fears and triumphs that may transcend humanity but are just as deeply rooted in the human. 

3. Favourite part

My favourite part is probably the desert scenes. The culture created there is full and deep and stretches into time long past. Woven with the home which Anghara must reclaim, I think the desert highlights the struggle she is trying to overcome. Also, despite my deep and abiding love for rain and winter and cold, I have a fondness for stories that take place in a desert.

4. Critique

My only real critique for this story has to do with the last two pages of the book. The end is nigh, the characters are ready to step into their proper roles, and then there is just a touch—only a tiny touch, mind you—of a suggestion that things are going to change. It threw me off for a moment, as it seemed like the story was poised to continue in a new vein despite having its threads tied off quite neatly. If there is a sequel, then it makes perfect sense, but I do not know whether that is the case. Either way, it’s a tiny issue, hardly changing my impression of the story at all.

Overall, I would say that Changer of Days is a spectacular and effervescent work that builds upon details of character and life to create something that elevates the reader to another world. It was fascinating, the characters engaging, the plot engrossing. Basically, I loved it. An excellent book.