Review - Switched - Amanda Hocking

Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1)Title: Switched 
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: July 12th 2010, Tor
Pages: 333 pages, Paperback
Wendy Everly knew she was different the day her mother tried to kill her and accused her of having been switched at birth. Although certain she's not the monster her mother claimed she is, she does feel that she doesn't quite fit in. The new girl in High School, Wendy is bored and frustrated by her small-town life -- and then there's her secret, her mysterious ability -- she can influence people's decisions, without knowing how, or why ...When the intense and darkly handsome newcomer Finn suddenly turns up at her bedroom window one night, her world is turned upside down. He holds the key to her past, the answers to her strange powers and is the doorway to a place she never imagined could exist: Forening, the home of the Trylle. Among the Trylle she is not just different, but special. But what marks her out as chosen for greatness in this world also places her in grave danger. With everything around her changing, Finn is the only person she can trust. But dark forces are conspiring -- not only to separate them, but to see the downfall of everything that Wendy cares about...

"A couple of things that made that day stand out more than any other: it was my sixth birthday, and my mother was wielding a knife.  Not a tiny steak knife, but some kind of massive butcher knife glinting in the light like in a bad horror movie  She definitely wanted to kill me." - page 1

Switched was a book that I had seen in the blogosphere, drawn in by its stunning cover and unusual storyline, its a book I hastily added to my Goodreads, wish list shelf intending to read it ASAP. A year down the line, I still hadn't read it. Until a few weeks ago, that is.

I started reading Switched as soon as I checked it out at the library. My hopes were high. I was hoping for a magical story that I would completely in love with. However, it wasn't precisely what I had in mind. Switched had potential, however, for me, it didn't live up to my expectations.

I'll be honest, when I see a stunning cover of a book, I expect the story inside to be just as beautiful and have me just as awe-struck as the cover had me. I know, people are continuously told not to judge a book by its cover, but I think it's just a natural human instinct. If something looks pretty, the inside will be pretty, right? I really should've learnt my lesson by now,  because more often than not, I've been tempted into buying a book with a pretty cover only to find the inside disappointing. And come on, every single book I have seen of Amanda Hocking's has been stunning.

What I disliked most about the book, was the main factor that readers, myself included, want to enjoy whilst reading a book and that happens to be the main love interest. In this case, Finn was our main love interest, and to be brutally honest here, he freaked me out. I could see that the author was intending for Finn to be this swoonworthy, tall, dark and handsome stranger that Wendy is irresistibly drawn to, however, Finn seemed more like a bland piece of cardboard. As well as that, I feel like the relationship was too rushed and that it didn't develop well enough for me to enjoy reading about. 

In the beginning, I could feel the romantic tension that developed between Wendy and Finn, but as the book continued, I didn't seem to see the spark that I had been ignited between them as I did when they first met. And during the book, it's almost like they drifted apart and I didn't see their relationship develop when all of sudden, Wendy was claiming that she couldn't bare to live without him, and it left me confused as I hadn't actually seen their relationship develop, so that definitely was a major disappointment for me.

Finn seemed to be the stereotypical dark, handsome guy that the main female character is irresistibly drawn too. Finn was a character I didn't bond with, I couldn't connect with him on an emotional level and I didn't get to see into his mind, into his life, like I have been able to do with other characters. I also found his behaviour considerably distasteful. One minute he was treating Wendy with love and respect the next he was being cold and distant and an absolute jerk. So yep, he's definitely not my favourite.

Now, I may not have liked Finn, the main love interest, but that doesn't mean I wasn't in favour for the others. The second love interest is Rhys, a mansklig that stays at the Trylle residence, as he was one of the baby's that was swapped for a troll child. I enjoyed reading his parts in the book, as they would always leave me smiling. Rhys had such a sweet disposition and he easy-going and his conversations amicable. I would much rather see Wendy end up with Rhys, but she probably won't.

The third main interest was Tove, a wealthy rich son that is a potential husband for Wendy. At first he seemed to be a self-centred, stuff up snob but towards the end he really proved he was a worthwhile friend, although I doubt that anything more will come of the relationship.

Also, Wendy's biological mother from Trylle? Stop being such a cruel, cold-hearted queen and give the girl a break! Every five minutes all poor Wendy is hearing is how to behave properly and she shouldn't be doing that and how she should be doing this, I hope to see an improvement in her mother's behaviour in the next book.

Wendy...Wendy was an interesting character. There were times where I felt connected to her...and then there were other times when I felt annoyingly distant from her. There were two times that she made undeniably stupid decisions and where her behaviour was quite childish. Let me explain:

  • When Finn tells her that she is actually part of the Trylle community (trolls), she takes it quite lightly and she actually goes with him. When she didn't tell her older "brother" Matt, that she had to leave, that she had to be with the Trylle, I thought that she was an idiot. I wouldn't let Finn tell me that I'm not allowed to tell my brother, who I adore, where I am going. I also thought the scene wasn't written in enough detail, where the Vistra comes (the evil people and guess what? One of the Vistra has got my name, Kyra! :D) and then Finn whisks her away.
  • The second time I also thought of her as being a candy-floss brain with the decision she made at the ending. I'm highlighting the following sentence as it is quite spoiler-y. At the end of the book, her and Rhys escape the kingdom, because apparently she thinks its such an awful place to live. I thought that action was quite a stupid decision, but then again she is a teenager who will display a rebellious nature at times, but still. At the beginning of the book she was stating that she didn't fit in, that she didn't belong, and then when she arrived at Trylle she felt a part of her that actually fitted in, but then at the end she leaves the palace because she doesn't like the rules and the happenings of the kingdom. Those two actions are quite contradictory and I'm interested to see what will happen in book two. 
The plot was quite interesting and I did want to see what would become of Wendy and how she would fit in. At times I found the story quite repetitive and occasionally it consisted of some cheesy moments, but it wasn't a major issue.

I enjoyed the writing, I like how the author phrased some sentences and there were definitely humorous moments that had me chuckling, however, I did feel that at times the writing didn't flow nicely together, therefore leaving me occasionally confused at what was being said in the book and some of the events that happened. I do think that Amanda is a fantastic writer though and I look forward to reading her other books!

Although I did enjoy Switched, I was left slightly disappointed. I was expecting a magical, beautiful and intriguing story about a girl discovering that she is a troll, a changeling. However, the characters and the romance disappointed me at times, leaving my overall feeling of the book slightly crestfallen. However, I will read book two and hopefully it will not disappoint!

I give it: 3/5 CUPCAKES!