Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

In this review I will behead a troll or two so this might get ugly. Even though Amanda Hocking’s trolls in Switched are beautiful creatures it needs to be done!

A Norwegian sketch of a baby being switched
next to the Norwegian ARC of Switched. Click picture to see the details of the ugly trolls.
Photo: Copyright Mari.

Switched is a novel about a trylle named Wendy. Wendy had quite the dramatic childhood as her mother was convinced that Wendy was a monster, and tried to kill Wendy when she was only six years old. Now some stalker dude named Finn has started school and Wendy both dislike and attracted to Finn. Wendy is up for a surprise that might be the reason for her mother hating her.

Stealing babies
As we all know, at least here in Norway(I’m not sure how well known that fairytale is elsewhere in the world?), that trolls come into our world switching our lovely, plump cheeked, little blabbering babies with their own ugly offspring. Well the time has come to take the trolls back to their own world.

Trolls are stunningly beautiful
In my photo at the beginning of this review I’ve posted a picture of the Norwegian ARC of Switched next to the sketch by a well known Norwegian artist called Theodor Kittelsen(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Kittelsen)(1857-1914) to show the contrast between the Trylle and the Norwegian trolls. Click on the picture to see a larger version of it. As you can tell it is quite the contrast compared to Hockings Trylle. It feels a bit shallow I must admit, it might not be fair to take this out on Amanda Hocking because she isn’t the only one creating picture perfect characters but c’mon these are trolls!

This is a real Norwegian troll! 14 meters high and can be found in
Hunderfossen family amusementpark in Norway.
I have fond memories of going there with my entire familie as a young girl.
The Hunderfossen Troll by Jan Hammershaug, license CC BY 2.0.

I am pretty sure that it isn’t healthy to have all these gorgeous looking characters in YA. It only supports a trend in the real world that I’m no fan of. I recommend reading Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, he does a better job addressing this subject than I could ever hope for.

Great idea, badly executed
I’m sorry to say that although was super exited by the blurb for Switched the story just never met my expectations. Honestly I’m pondering how on earth this could be a bestseller. The language and dialogue seems forced and the characters aren’t likable. Wendy, the main character, is both a pushover and selfish, the love interest, Finn, is a stalker and rude fellow turning into a hero/love interest. Bella and Edward anyone?! Oh and Wendy’s real mum is a total bitch, uugh! The plot could have been so much, the story could have been great but sadly it seems like the author couldn’t follow up on her own great ideas.

Oh, even though I complained about pretty characters I appreciate Amanda's effort for reinventing trolls. See, there, I can say nice things as well!

Amanda Hocking = superstar in the publishing industry
For some time now I’ve been curious about Hocking’s novels, actually so curious that I owned an English e-book version of this book before I got the ARC, I just hadn’t gotten to it yet. I mean a self-published author who sold rights to St.Martin’s Griffin for very high figure, most be something good, right?

What made Amanda Hocking a super star almost over night? After reading Switched I’m still none the wiser. In my opinion this book should have been polished a lot more before ever being released. Hocking found the template for success and she used it, obviously that works for a lot of readers but not for this girl. It is a wonder I finished this book at all.

Final verdict?
 - I can not recommend this novel.

Source: Review copy from the Norwegian publisher.

Have you read Switched? Did you like it?


  1. I'm a little surprised by your review. I thought the book was good and read the whole series. Its not perfection, but it was something different which in my opinion is always a good thing.

    1. Thanks for sharing your opinion, Meagan :) I think it's a good thing that we don't feel the same. It would be so boring if everyone liked the same ;)

      I feel that the author tried to be different but failed. This was a story too similar to a lot of other PNR YA novels out there on the market. I wanted original and unfortunately that wasn't what I got.

  2. She was just big..well cos she got big. I mean look at 50 shades that is poorly edited.

    And yes trolls should be ugly! And then the turn to stone if they stay outside in the sun

    1. I won't touch "50 shades of grey", ever. If I do so then you're allowed to smack me in the head LOL.

      I'm glad we agree on the troll part :D Although I can stretch myself to agree with those who say that a troll can also be a bit cut and have big fluffy hair in a screaming color.

  3. Aw, I'm sorry this one didn't work for you. I really enjoyed it. It was fun, and I loved her new twist on trolls.

  4. I didn't find this too bad, but I think you are right, the foundations for this "new take on trolls" are more than slightly ridiculous. If all you need to be a troll is wild hair and looking different from your parents, then I might be a long-lost native of Trylle too.

    Later in the series, Wendy does get a love interest who is more likeable than Finn, though.

    I think Amanda Hocking's books have something that make them very appealing for teenagers, but not so much for adults. I liked her zombie book Hollowland (even though it would need some serious editing and revision to be of the same quality as traditionally published books). Too bad she sort of ruined it with a terrible sequel, Hollow Men.

  5. I agree with the trolls being ugly, but I think this worked well. I really liked this series. And I can't compare it to 50 Shades at all. I read the first 50 Shades, and that is poorly written, so much that it made it hard to read. This book was so good I didn't notice if anything wasn't written well, and that's what I liked about it. But I do think it is okay that not everyone likes the same books, that is why there are so many out there! And let's keep it that way! :-)

  6. I totally agree! I started Switched when I heard all of the hype, but I couldn't even finish it. The blurb sounded interesting, but it just didn't unleash any of it's potential. Sadly, it read like a self published book.

    *sigh* It's nice to know that I am not the only one here...

  7. Sorry it wasnt as good as you would have hoped, i've never read the series so i can't say weather i agree or not but great review.
    New follower!



Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)