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Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Thursday, May 5, 2011
3 Stars: A Good Read
Hardcover: 343 Pages
Publication: September 21, 2010 by Razorbill

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.

The Replacement was a nice change of pace from other high-tensioned paranormal romance in that (1) the protagonist is male and (2) he lives in a creepy town filled with secrets. It's different from other small town paranormal romance novels because all the town members are in on the fact that something isn't right in the town. They know that there are creatures stealing their babies, so they keep iron around. However, they won't admit that the town isn't natural.

I enjoyed reading the story from a male's point of view and from a changeling at that. Being changeling doesn't give Mackie any special powers. In fact, it's mostly a weakness since he can't touch iron, he grows faint at the smell of blood, and he can't step on hallow ground. Nevertheless, Mackie really isn't different from any other human male despite being a changeling. He eyes girls (Alice), and he has his own troubles about self-identity. Most importantly, he has people he cares about and who care about him in return. Emma especially is an amiable character, and we can see how important she is to Mackie's life. He admits that she is the one who helped him live for so long.

I enjoyed how Yovanoff described the town of gentry, especially the Morrigan and her people, whom she portrayed in a fascinatingly creepy manner. I loved the scene where Mackie asks the dead girl to give back Emma's gloves. It is a touching scene considering how the dead girls realize that nobody can love them because of their rotting bodies, so the kiss is important to the girl with the glove. It is also the moment where Mackie realizes that they aren't bad at all. They're just trying to live with the pieces that they have been dealt in the only place that will accept them.

Tate is a strong female character, though it is mostly because we see her from Mackie's perspective, and he admires her for being an outspoken person as compared to his own indecisive nature. She doesn't pretend that everything is all right like the rest of the town. She gives Mackie the strength that he needs to confront the Morrigan's sister to get Nathalie back. I do wish that Yovanoff spent more time developing the romantic tension between Mackie and Tate. It is hard to see why Mackie has such an interest in Tate when he's always shown an interest in Alice (in the beginning, I did think that she was the primary romantic interest).

Yovanoff could have better developed Mackie's relationships with the people of Gentry. For example, just why was word Freak being painted on Mackie's locker? It was never explained whether or not people know that he doesn't belong. And why does Alice take a sudden interest in Mackie? I can't see any character motivation here. Her role in the story is minor, and Yovanoff might have just excluded her from the story unless she plans on writing a sequel where Alice plays a larger role, which I haven't heard about.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. I would recommend this book for those looking for a different kind of paranormal read in a time where most writers are turning in dark, high-tension paranormal romance reads. Yovanoff does a great job incorporating old superstitions in Gentry, and I will be looking out for new releases from her!

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1 comment on "Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff"
  1. Ive been wanting to read this for a while now sounds awesome ty for the review!

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