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Book Reviews

Review: “The Replacement,” Brenna Yovanoff

February 3, 2011
Review: “The Replacement,” Brenna YovanoffThe Replacement (Standalone)
Written by Brenna Yovanoff
Published September, 2010 by Razorbill
343 pages
Genres: Faeries, Horror, Urban Fantasy
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three-stars

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

I’d heard so many great things about this book and so was very eager to read it. Although there was nothing exactly ‘bad’ about this book, it just wasn’t my kind of story.

I went into this book with an open mind. I’d heard that The Replacement was dark, dangerous and gritty. It was definitely all of those things and the creatures were certainly horrifying – but – although I usually like these kinds of twisted fairy tales and bits and pieces of folklore – I just couldn’t help but not feel very invested in any of the characters or the story.

A lot of things had me confused while reading. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why Mackie’s parents knew he was a ‘replacement’ yet didn’t seem to mourn the loss of their ‘real’ child. Everyone seemed to be somewhat aware of his differences yet they didn’t care. We soon learn that that is the ‘way’ of the town, but still. It’s just not humanly possible for the parents to not care about what happened to their real baby. So yes, I was most definitely confused for a while!

The only character I really liked was Mackie’s sister, Emma. She was always fighting so fiercely for Mackie even though she knew he wasn’t her ‘real’ brother, yet she was completely innocent in other ways. I also liked the lead singer for Rasputin Sings the Blues, she was pretty awesome (her name is escaping me at the moment) as well as Janice from the House of Mayhem.

I originally thought this was (and had heard it described as) a ‘fae story’, but after reading it I don’t find that’s the case. I wouldn’t exactly know what to call it since the creatures themselves preferred not to be named. And besides, they were made up of dead things and all sorts of random beings. I don’t think there COULD be a name for all of them.

Also, the cover is much more interesting to me now. Before reading, I didn’t understand what was with all the metallic objects hanging by a string above the pram. Now, I think it’s a very effective cover for the book!

Spoilers about the ending ahead! I was really hoping the ending was more climactic. I think Tate should have gotten rid of The Cutter completely; I was a bit disappointed when he simply scrambled off defeated. I couldn’t help but think of Freddy Krueger, either, when I imagined him. Hah! I also didn’t realize that the end of The Lady was near when Mackie stabbed her… it was just so sudden and over so quickly… as if all that time of torture and ruin could be snuffed out so easily! It just didn’t sit well with me.

I can see why The Replacement is so popular among readers since it’s new and daring and completely different from anything else I’ve read in a while. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, it just wasn’t the story for me. I must clarify that in no way was Brenna Yovanoff’s writing or imagination lacking. I also have to applaud her for taking on the challenge of writing from a male perspective, there isn’t much YA out there these days with a male POV.

Recommended to: Fans of darker stories will be very impressed!

About Brenna Yovanoff

Brenna Yovanoff is one third of the Merry Sisters of Fate along with Maggie Stiefvater and Tessa Gratton, whose flash fiction can be found at www.merryfates.com. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

16 Comments

  • Reply brandileigh2003 February 23, 2011 at 3:35 am

    Thanks for the honest review. I’m not sure if it would be my kind of book either, but I’ll probably still give it a chance eventually.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  • Reply Alice Dwyer February 7, 2011 at 6:25 am

    I really enjoyed it. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because of the confusing nature in some parts. I think if there was a little more explanation about the replacement and how parents dealt with it. I couldn’t be sure if they all knew and pretended not to know he was different or if some didn’t know. Great review :)

  • Reply Megan February 5, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I agree with you! I read the book and was more confused than I was creeped out. It was almost like the author expected you to know a lot of history with the creatures and the town. Not a bad book just not explained enough. Maybe a prequel would help with the titling of the creatures. Great review!

    • Reply Brittany February 5, 2011 at 7:51 am

      I’m glad! Yes, the confusion really took away from the enjoyment of the story! A prequel is a great idea! Thank you!

  • Reply Small Review February 5, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Nicely written review. I agree with you on all the points you made. I can’t really put my finger on why, but I really didn’t connect with any of the characters. Mackie’s sister was also my favorite.

    I also agree about the ending. It seemed a little too easy.

    • Reply Brittany February 5, 2011 at 6:38 am

      Thank you! I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt this way about the book – since I saw so many rave reviews I was worried I had ‘missed’ something vital about the story…

  • Reply Nikola February 4, 2011 at 2:10 am

    This one is on my TBR list and I’ve heard mostly great things about it… After reading your review, I think I will be a bit cautios. What I realized lately is that YA has gotten extremely lazy – authors keep churning out books that are quite obviously lacking. And the hotter the cover, the better the sales. It’s kinda sad.

    • Reply Brittany February 4, 2011 at 3:35 am

      Yes, I was the same! I’d heard rave reviews and wasn’t expecting myself NOT to like it! It was so strange!

      But yes, I feel the same way! It’s all about the cover these days and it’s hard to differentiate between what’s good and bad, too, because authors tend to be friends with a whole load of OTHER authors, who endorse and put shiny recs on the covers… It’s a job to find a good one, sometimes!

  • Reply Nafiza February 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    My friends had trouble with some descriptions too. I still haven’t read it but right now, I’ll confess it’s not at the top of my list. :)

    • Reply Brittany February 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one out there!

  • Reply Lilly Bear February 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you for the review! I’ve had this book lying around for a long time, but I haven’t had the chance to read it yet.

    • Reply Brittany February 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      Thank you for reading! Yes, it was the same for me! I decided to finally read it !

  • Reply Amanda February 3, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I’ve been wanting to read this for a while, but have heard a lot of mixed reviews. A lot of good ones and then a lot of ones saying it would be good if they were more into the type of story.

    I think I may and try and read it soon, but I’m not entirely sure.

    Great review! :)

    • Reply Brittany February 3, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      See, it was different for me, I’d heard nothing about rave reviews! It wasn’t until I really researched that I found I wasn’t the only one with these thoughts after reading :)

      Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Terra Mae February 3, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Ok, I LOVE dark stories, so this might be a good read for me. I really love your honest review. Have you read any of Dia Reeve’s books yet? I loved those, and they were dark too. I love to be scared, even if I lose sleep from reading the creepy books. hahah

    • Reply Brittany February 3, 2011 at 8:20 am

      Definitely! I don’t want to put anyone off not picking up a book just because of one of my reviews. I believe everyone will have a different opinion and everyone will love/hate different aspects of each book :) It’s something you need to discover on your own.

      No, I haven’t read any of those! Haha, a good horror book is always great :) It makes a nice change from the swooning girls and handsome guys.

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