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Changeling

Six Stories, Book 3
Series: Six Stories, Book 3
Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (85 ratings)

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Summary

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found.

Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995. Elusive online journalist Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest - a place synonymous with strange sightings and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is...

Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, taking you to places you will never, ever forget.

©2018 Matt Wesolowski (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Clever Format Doesn't Quite Deliver

These books are very highly rated on Goodreads so I was finally tempted to try one. It's a clever format in which investigative journalist Scott King presents six episode podcasts on individual stories. Each episode is designed to cover the story from a different person or topic's perspective and backed up from what are secret, personal recordings by King himself. In this case he is investigating the disturbing story of a father whose son goes missing in a dark forest.

There is a lot to like here, the cast give a good performances with voices that you will enjoy listening to. The way that the author brings a few strands, including one that seemed a real outlier, together at the end seems pretty clever and I didn't see the big twist at the end coming though maybe I should have done.

The problems for me were twofold. The format forces a level of structure on the author in that there have to be six roughly equal segments so it felt to me like some of the sections stretched longer than necessary and made the pacing uneven.
The second problem is that this is a rather different book in that it's almost all speech with most of it re-enacting the podcast episodes. Having listened to several of the type of podcasts that this book is trying to re-create recently it all felt a little but too staged, the interviewees too fluent and clear-cut. The publishers have gone far enough to put together a strong cast but this is one that I think needs a real soundscape to drive the authenticity. Hearing the narrator run through a poor quality audio recording with passages like Please help me . . . indistinct noise . . . Sorry sir, what did you say? . . . crackling noise . . . is much less effective. It's possible that this book comes across better in the written form with the reader providing the background.

So, in summary, it's a clever book and not without interest but for my tastes it really did not deliver on the blurb's suggestion of taking me to places I wouldn't forget.



8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • KR
  • 27-03-19

Haunting and brilliant

It's been two days and I'm still not sure that I am ready to write this review.  It's likely the review will not be a long one - not because I don't have much to say, I do! but because the more I say the more I will spoil it and because it left me completely without the right words to describe this immensely frightening and emotional book.

I chose to listen to the audiobook for this novel as I felt the narration in podcast style really lent itself to audio and I have to say it is the most amazing audio.  Using multi Narration, you follow Scott King as he interviews six key people with some involvement in the case of Alfie Marsden, who disappeared without a trace in 1988 whilst in Wentshire Forest.  As he talks to each person, a terrifying story begins to build incorporating the folklore of the forest with the reality of the case.  Each character virtually jumps from the player and into the room and the experience is so immersive that you have to remind yourself regularly that it's not real.   

Every terrifying sentence draws you in, every pause leaves you wanting more and every time I had to turn it on my thoughts were consumed with the story so far until I could listen again.  I was addicted until the very last sentence.  Whilst listening I experienced every emotion known to man from happiness, despair down to petrified and furious.  This book left me exhausted in the most unbelievable and brilliant way. 

Have you ever read/listened to a book that has stayed with you for days afterwards? This experience (because that what it is) will leave you haunted long after it ends.  Not enough stars in the world to rate this book and all I can say is read or listen to it! 

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Pretty Good

The presentation isn’t as good as West Cork but it’s ok. I thought the narration of Wendy was very good and the story is interesting. Worth a listen.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Slow burner but comes good

It took me some time to get into it but once I did I was hooked. Really enjoyed the performances and the story.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Changeling

I loved the plot of this story , how it’s presented into pod casts but the performances were awful, ( sorry) ! The only authentic accent was King !
Such a good book but those dreadful accents irritated me so much , actors can’t seem to decide where their from and it really spoiled it !
This audio book needed to be less staged to give it the authentic feel the author was deliberately delivering in the written text .

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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reliably ACE

Can't fail with these audios. Creepy yet realistic. Best of the genre. Will definitely continue.

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Sooo good

Ha! I loved this - bits of creepy, fairy wood stuff and a mystery that, whilst not all that unusual in a way, is done in this effective and gripping format. I’ve enjoyed all of this series and this is the best yet. Also, all three are performed brilliantly - no weak links to jolt you out of it.

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Chilling and creepy

I have finally found a benefit to being behind my reading of so many brilliant books….. I get to binge read them, the Six Stories series being one of them. Changeling is the third instalment in the Six Stories series, and I have to say that with each book Matt Wesolowski is getting better and better. I was drawn into the story and the characters from the start and before I knew it was most of the way through the book. This time the podcast revolves around the disappearance of seven-year-old Alfie Marsden. Although each of the books are in a podcast format, they also somehow always manage to be very from each other.
The setting of the book actually made this story a little bit more real to me as it is in a location not to far from where I live (not that woods really exist) but seeing the names of places I know quite well and pass through frequently brought it alive. If that wasn’t creepy enough there were also the tales of strange goings on attached to the woods from the six different witnesses to digest.
When a child goes missing (or in fact anyone) there is always the urge to only see the good in them. Changeling is different in that through the podcasts Scott King really looks into what Alfie was like and we find out that where there was once a happy child, after a camping trip in the woods he became almost like a devil child, prone to outbursts of temper. Was this down to the “spooky creatures” in the woods or something else. What you do get is despite this ultimately Alfie is afraid…. Of who or what you will get to determine as you read on.
What starts out with the hint of a ghost story really looks at the different relationships that have been formed and highlights both the good and the bad sides to them. The further you get into the book you get to see that this is so much more than a tale of a missing boy and maybe the grieving parents are not quite all that they seem. In fact, the more I read the more I lost sympathy for Alfie’s father Sorrel. As to why that is, I am not going to say as you really should read the book. With an ending that is possibly not what you might expect you won’t be disappointed. Matt Wesolowski is certainly one hell of a storyteller, bringing the creepy and mystical to life with a modern twist that should appeal to any reader.

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Brilliant, dark & engrossing

Very well written, lots of scares & twists. with a surprising ending. Great performances too.

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Fabulous

Once again Matt Wesolowski has written a cracker of a book. The audio version did not disappoint and I enjoyed the experience from start to finish. Good actors, good voices and characters that seem incredibly real.