Written by Brenna Yovanoff
Published September, 2010 by Razorbill
Genres: Faeries, Horror, Urban Fantasy
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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!