DNF book review: The Changeling by Victor Lavalle


When Apollo Kagwa was just a child, his father disappeared, leaving him with recurring nightmares and a box labelled ‘Improbabilia’. Now a successful book dealer, Kagwa has a family of his own after meeting and falling in love with Emma, a librarian. The two marry and have a baby: so far so happy-ever-after.

However, as the pair settle into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Emma’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, until one day she commits an unthinkable act, setting Apollo on a wild and fantastical quest through a suddenly otherworldly New York, in search of a wife and child he no longer recognises.

An epic novel for our anxiety-ridden times, The Changeling is a tale of parenthood, love – in its most raw and brutal form – and, ultimately, humanity. 


Small spoilers…

I really hate DNFing books, especially ones that are gifted, but this was putting me into a major reading funk. You know it’s time to part ways with a book when you’re doing everything in your power to avoid picking it up!⁠

The main problem I had with this was that I really hated the main character, Apollo. At one point he told his worn out wife, who had just given birth and was most likely suffering from post natal depression, that she was what was ruining their family (or something a long those lines, I can’t remember exactly!) And when his mother admitted to divorcing his deadbeat dad, he basically said “how dare you?” like she wasn’t allowed to free herself of a pointless marriage.⁠

How am I supposed to like a main character who is not just simply flawed, but a complete arsehole for no good reason?⁠

Another thing is that it took soooo long to get anywhere. I was nearly halfway through the book before anything seemed to be be really happening, but by that point I had lost interest.⁠ I understand you have to set the stage for what’s to come but do it a little quicker!!⁠

There were definitely some good creepy aspects within this novel, but at almost 200 pages in, it really hadn’t shown me any of its genre-defying horror that the reviews boasted about. ⁠
⁠I really wanted to like this one, it had been on my Goodreads to-be-read shelf for 2 years, but never mind. Not every book can please every reader. I passed this one along to a friend, hopefully he’ll enjoy it more!⁠

*I was gifted this book by Titan Books in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: DNF

Book Details:

Pages: 431
Edition Published:
2018, Canongate Books
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Goodreads Av. Rating: 3.79

2 Replies to “DNF book review: The Changeling by Victor Lavalle”

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