The Oddmire, Book 1: Changeling by William Ritter

An old-fashion story that plays to so many of the elements children have loved for ages. The goblin stealing the human baby… the Wild Wood encroaching on the town… and the quest to save earth from the evil horde.

The Oddmire starts with a description of The Thing. A spectral evil being that feeds on all the fear and anxiety of world. It lives deep in the living forrest next to an idyllic hamlet. Magical creatures and human alike stay far away from its brambled den. Even the Witch of the Forrest has no contact with this nether spirit…

The story shifts to the night of the fumble… a goblin named Kull sneaks into a particular house and places a goblin into the crib next to the small sleeping child. Distracted, he loses track of which child is which… Kull panics and leaves both the changeling and the human in the house. He figures he can go back and retrieve the right child as some point. Over twelve years of watching and he still can’t tell the difference… until the night of the full moon approaches and he lures them into the forrest on a ‘quest.’

Tinn and Cole are mischievous young men… always getting into trouble and a handful for their mother. And scorned by the townsfolk because of the origin, whispers of the The Changeling have plagued their upbringing and each has experienced some of the shunning of the community. They question it themselves… ‘Am I bad? Am I a goblin at heart?’

This tale is strong in pacing with quick, engrossing chapters. The human characters are allowed to grow a bit before the magical elements start to be infused into the story. When the twins cross over into the woods, the story changes to one of real evil and poisoning villains. I loved the little girl who appears and helps the pair through some challenges. Also a character of note is the twins’ strong mother who stops at nothing to help her sons, not caring if one might be a goblin in disguise.

A middle-grade piece to be read when the sun goes down… The Oddmire promises to be a series that should bring about more stories of the gap between the Earth and the other side of the wall… the protected realm of faeries and other shades.

4 out of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Algonquin Young Readers, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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