The Replacement

 
5.0
 
4.1 (3)
2105 1
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Genre(s)
Age Range
14+
ISBN
1595143378
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The Replacement
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
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. Edward Scissorhands meets The Catcher in the Rye in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.

If you're looking for a creepy story with otherworldly creatures, THE REPLACEMENT is for you.

Brenna Yovanoff takes the mythology of the Norse changeling and turns it just enough to set it apart. Mackie Doyle is different - we know it from the moment we meet him. Everyone else in town knows he's different too, they just ignore it to different degrees.

Watching Mackie start to falter, to struggle with himself physically and emotionally as things change, is actually as interesting as the (spectacular) world building in this debut. His differences don't pull away from the fact that he's also a teen boy (who acts like a teen boy) who is trying to figure things out when it comes to girls, school, family and life.

This book threw me off in an excellent way - leaving me feeling unbalanced as I read. If you're a fan of Holly Black's fairy stories, you'll love THE REPLACEMENT. The world is dark, but the story has hope at the end. You'll hope for a sequel - I sure do!

Five stars!

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User reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.1
Plot 
 
3.7  (3)
Characters 
 
4.3  (3)
Writing Style 
 
4.3  (3)
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The Replacement
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I have a confession to make: I am a Grinch. No, not the “You’re a Mean One” kind; I’m a Grinch with an oversized heart who serves Roast Beast and makes snowmen with Cindy Lou. I am an irredeemable sap and the only excuse I have to offer is my Grinchiness. See, I freaking loved The Replacement, and I shouldn’t have—it’s not exactly a super great book. But I’m a sappy Grinch, and Brenna Yovanoff cleverly (and sneakily) included two things in her debut that I am a complete sucker for: heartbreaking sibling dynamics and a loyal best friend. Had the author thought to include a dog of some kind, I would have been a goner. Nothing turns me into a sappy Grinch faster than a dog.

So this review is coming straight at you from the depths of my two-sizes-too-large heart. Take it as you must.

I heard mostly negative things about The Replacement prior to picking it up—consensus declares Yovanoff’s newer books to be better. So it is possible that my low expectations where what triggered the Grinchiness. In any case, I was immediately struck by the gloomy, dark atmosphere that pervaded Mackie Doyle’s life and his small town. While I wasn’t particularly struck by the style in which this book is written, there is no denying that it’s very atmospheric. For a paranormal novel that’s rather horror-esque, that setting of the mood was pivotal.

Yovanoff’s take on changelings and the fey was unique and interesting as well. There was no defining moment where I could say, “This is a book about fairies” and certainly, the creatures portrayed in The Replacement aren’t fairies at all. They’re monsters, and they exist outside the sphere of human morality. As such, sometimes they do good, sometimes they do bad. I was quite impressed with the way the author managed to portray these monsters using shades of gray, and the way Mackie tried to reconcile his identity with the life he wanted to live.

Mackie, in the big picture, was a fairly good narrating protagonist. His motivations are a little questionable, and his “romance” was a little odd. However, he never declared undying love for his love interest, so I was more or less okay with it. This novel isn’t a stunning action-packed drama; it’s about character growth, redemption, self-worth, identity. The reader is able to watch Mackie come to an understanding of himself through the lense of Yovanoff’s brooding setting and plotline.

Of course, who really sold me on The Replacement were Emma, Mackie’s older sister, and Roswell, his best friend. Those two characters brought the Grinchiness out in full force. I like romance and kissing as much as the next person, but a book that portrays solid, meaningful platonic relationships holds me tighter and longer.

Emma knows who Mackie is—she watched the monster come and take away her baby brother and replace him with an unwanted monster-child. She loved him anyway, her whole life revolved around making sure that Mackie was loved and felt protected. Because of her love, Mackie survived childhood (he was “replaced” because he was sick and dying).

Roswell, on the other hand, has always known there’s something off about Mackie, but he didn’t care. He was loyal to a fault, didn’t care what crap Mackie pulls, and was willing to do all sorts of crazy stuff because Mackie wanted him to. At one point, when Mackie confesses to Roswell that he’s just like the monsters that are invading the town, Roswell says: “Don’t be a jackass. Nobody’s like you.” and then goes on to explain how Mackie can’t let things outside his control define him, yadda yadda, mooshy best friend stuff. Be still my oversized Grinchy heart.

Basically what I’m saying is: I’m green and furry and live on Mount Crumpit. The Replacement is likely not a book for everyone, but it’s definitely a book for me. I can already tell it’s going to stick with me and creep around the back of my brain for a while. And while I’d love to give it five stars, I’m not going to, because I’m not completely Grinched yet. But it was a very close shave for Ms Yovanoff. Very close indeed.
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Gothically Entrancing: Perfect Rainy Day Read
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
The whole time I was reading this book I found myself uncertain about whether or not I liked it. There were certain aspects about it that I loved, but it left me with a strange feeling that I'm not sure if I liked or didn't like. However, now that I've finished it, I have decided that I do like it. Slightly reminiscent of Beautiful Creatures the gothic feel of this book and the unique fae world and creatures that were created was definitely the best part of the book. I was so intrigued by everything that was happening and how it all worked. The characters were amazing as well! I found each of them enjoyable to read about, especially Tate, Emma, and Roswell, who were my favorite characters. I thought the plot was well written, a bit slow at points it was for the most part interesting and well thought out with everything nicely tied up in the end. While The Replacement isn't a favorite I still highly enjoyed it.
Good Points
Atmospheric writing
Characters
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Outstanding
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
This book is amazing. Vivid, incredible world building, haunting prose, memorable characters, and heart-in-your-throat stakes. I became an instant fangirl for life of Brenna's writing after reading this book. I felt entranced, off-balance, and upended in the most delicious way. Kind of like falling down the rabbit hole and ending up in a dark, gritty, fantastical Wonderland populated by creatures I can't even begin to describe here. And through it all, through this wild and haunting adventure, the narrator, Mackie, quietly secured a place in my heart until I could barely stand to read the ending because I was so afraid my new, odd hero wouldn't make it.

This review doesn't even do the book justice. Brenna is a genius with mad talent. You have to read her to understand. What are you waiting for?
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