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.
So to put it simply, I was not a fan of this book.
Like, at all.
Actually, I kind of hated it.
I'm really not sure what I was expecting it to be, but I definitely wasn't thinking it would be a lame high school drama mixed with painfully dull characters and even more painfully boring and lackluster writing. I guess the cover is what attracted me to read this book in the first place, but honestly, great packaging and poor content does not equal a good book.
First, there were the thoroughly unlikable characters: Tate was an angry stalker full of contempt towards Mackie, Roswell was a total perv who treated women like pieces of meat, Mackie's parents were typical and stereotyped and completely unwilling to do anything useful, and everyone else was easily forgettable.
I didn't like these characters, therefore I didn't care what happened to them.
Then there was Mackie Doyle, the "tortured soul" main character. Usually I love reading from a guy's point of view (Ship Breaker, Leviathan-- amazing.) but I could not connect with him at all.
All Mackie seemed to do was
a.) be pale and emo
b.) get nauseous or faint every time he was around metal or blood or loud noises or strong smells or slight air currents
c.) lust after Alice the slutty hot girl in school, or
d.) talk about how incredibly fake everyone is in town.
It got old very quickly. I have a difficult time sympathizing with a character who does nothing but whine and complain all the time, even if it's for a legitimate reason. In the end, Mackie was just a male version of Bella Swan-- empty, dull, bland, vapid-- and I couldn't bring myself to care about what happened to him either.
Speaking of tortured, the writing was just awful. It was serious work just trying to slog through each chapter. To give you some idea of what I'm talking about, imagine reading something like this for 340 pages, and you'll get the picture very quickly:
"I yanked off my T-shirt and pulled the shades down. Then I lay down with my face to the wall and pulled the covers over my head. I woke up with a jolt. It was dark. My phone was buzzing on my bedside table, and I rolled over.... I wanted to go to sleep. The phone just kept buzzing."
Soooo... have you fallen asleep yet? I don't know, but for me, this kind of writing is incredibly bland and formulaic: I woke up and did a. It was b and c. Then I did d. I felt e. Then... blah, blah,blah. I just can't stay focused on writing like this! It's almost as exciting as watching paint dry.
how about character dialogues like this?
"Come on, you don't want to miss this. 'Tis the season for girls to dress like hookers. We'll catch up with the twins, get a little socially lubricated. I have this feeling that Alice is particularly looking forward to your company."
Are you kidding me?
First off Brenna, nobody talks like this. In my 4 years of high school and 6 years of college, I've not once heard anyone use the term "socially lubricated."
Second of all, no one is going to like characters who either are hookers or who label girls as being hookers or obsess over girls because they dress like hookers. Maybe people do this, but that doesn't make me want to read about them, and it sure doesn't lead me to care about what happens to them.
Furthermore, I would not recommend a book that makes women out to be hoes or treats sex so casually. I'm not being unrealistic or a prude-- I just find it to be completely unnecessary when it has nothing to do with the plot or the characterization. If you have an awesome story and brilliant writing, you don't need to waste your time or the reader's with cheap add-ins about getting trashed and banging the popular girls at school.
Another aspect of the writing that drove me crazy were all of the contradicting statements. I'm guessing they were intentional, but I didn't understand the point of them, except to make me really confused:
"She looked strange and fantastical and startling and normal." (How do you look strange and normal at the same time?)
"...when I glanced in the mirror again, I recognized myself, and I didn't."(So... did you or didn't you?)
"As soon as I reached the bottom of the ravine, I felt desperately relieved. And much, much worse." (Umm... relief means alleviation and the removal of pain, so... how would you feel worse if you were relieved??)
Finally, I hate obvious plot holes-- even little ones. I consider myself to be a halfway intelligent person, and I don't appreciate books that try to breeze over contradictions like I'm too stupid to notice. So, if I'm reading along and something clearly makes no logical sense based on what the author has already laid out, it drives me right up the wall. For example:
Mackie is supposed to act like a "normal kid" and not get noticed. Yet some days he has completely black eyes-- don't you think that someone would maybe, just maybe, notice something that freaky?
Mackie is hypersensitive to loud noises, like doors that close too fast-- and yet he can go to heavy metal rock concerts with mosh pits and be just fine. WHAT??
So, Mackie can drink beer out of a can, huh?? I thought he was deathly allergic to metal in any form.
Every seven years the town gives one of their children to the underworld demon-creatures and they, in turn, make the town "prosper." So I was picturing something like out of the Stepford Wives-- beautiful mansions, manicured lawns, everything perfect to cover-up something ugly. But not once is the town described as perfect or prospering-- in fact, it's run-down and poor. So I don't get it-- what was the point of sacrificing a kid every seven years???
And on a completely different note, WHAT was UP with the rock concerts? The Morigan and her crew had to put on heavy metal rock concerts.... to appease the people of Gentry.... so that... they would still sacrifice their babies??
I am so confused about that part. ALSO, Brenna-- I am sorry-- but I had NO CLUE what bands you were talking about, besides maybe Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson-- who I don't listen to, and have zero interest in. What the heck was this about anyways? And then after that,it's never mentioned in the book again.
If you have any idea what was going on during this part, where Mackie was playing his bass guitar along with the other demon-people, PLEASE let me know, because I am totally LOST.
I will end by just saying that this book wasn't for me. That doesn't mean it isn't for anyone, but I personally disliked it to no end. The writing was stale and stilted, the characters were completely unlikable, the dialogue was fake and cheesy, and the premise-- while intriguing-- was never able to reach its full potential. I did finish this book, trying to give it a chance, but in the end, there really was nothing about this book that I liked.
I can without a doubt say I have never read a book quite like The Replacement before. I'm convinced Tim Burton needs to purchase the rights to make this into a movie. I'm sure we can find a role for Johnny Depp.
2016 edit: I'm demoting The Replacement to 2 stars. Why? Well, I read this book five years ago, and I honestly cannot remember anything about it. Other than it took place under a slag heap. What's a slag heap? I forgot. I seem to recall thinking that one, some, or all of the characters were morons. So, The Replacement definitely didn't leave a lingering impression on me and certainly didn't call out to me during the last five years for a re-read. Cover art is still lovely, though. ... original review I absolutely adored the originality of The Replacement. I think the fact that this is the author's first published book is phenomenal. The story's major strength was in its imagery and attention to detail. The eerie town of Gentry and the House of Mayhem under the slag heap were so detailed, so vividly imaginative, that it turned Replacement from a fun book to an edge-of-the-seat thrill ride. The characters were also fleshed out very well and very creepily, I might add. The Morrigan and the "creatures" of her court were so hideously delightful, unlike anything I've read before. I liked how they were portrayed, too. They weren't evil, and yet they were so creepy and so ominous that you couldn't help but feel apprehensive. Side note: Don't you just love it when books make you FEEL? Though the story deals with 'changelings' I liked how The Replacement seemed to have its own original, tailor-made folklore. Never once did the word 'faerie' get attached to any of the characters, therefore I felt like I was reading a brand-spanking new take on an old concept. I'm almost positive you haven't read anything like this before. As to the MC himself, Mackie Doyle is one of the most endearing, likable and heroic guys I've seen in YA fiction in a loooooooong time. You could not find a better guy to root for in a story like this. His voice is perfect. - Months after reading The Replacement, I think that the book's actual story definitely held up to its awesome, breathtaking cover. Cover design lures you in, story keeps you satisfied. Period. All these things being said...
I did have some issues with the pacing of the story. Seemed like an emphasis on the high school "drama" subplots and not really enough of a focus on the "creatures" until halfway in. Replacement's thriller/suspense tone was offset by high school popularity issues and two chapter-long parties (which included underage drinking, of course - y'all know that I find that really annoying). It may sound like nitpicking, but in a fantasy story with horror overtones, those things were distracting and threw the pacing off. And personally, I could have done without the 'Alice' character. I didn't really see any purpose to her inclusion in the story, although I just loved it when Tate beat her up :P **As to content, be aware that there is strong language throughout this book, as well as some moderate-level sexual content, again just FYI for the viewer's discretion.
But did I enjoy this book? Definitely. Would I recommend it? I'd say it's one that would be worth your time, yes. The Replacement was a fascinating, thoroughly original story that I absolutely devoured. To my knowledge, it's a standalone novel, and in an age where most authors are birthing out [random] sequels after-the-fact, a good ol' single installment story is worth its weight! Check this out :D
R is for Replacement, The. An okay book with interesting ideas by a skilled author but overall an uninvolving experience.
E (#1) is for Entropy. This book is full of it; the protagonist and the town he lives in and the supernatural creatures he is dealing with all battle against it.
P is for Prejudice. I liked this novel’s engagement with prejudice and how it literalizes othering. Always an important topic, especially so with young adult novels.
L is for Limp. This is a good description for the final confrontation. Quite disappointing.
A is for Atmosphere. The author knows how to create a strange and often bleak atmosphere when it comes to slag heaps and when it comes to dark, gothic underground lairs. Unfortunately, skills at creating atmosphere aren’t much there in bringing the town where these places are set to life.
C is for Creepy. The author also knows how to create creepy images and even creepier supporting characters. Kudos!
E (#2) is for Energy. Or in this case, a striking lack of energy. It’s hard to put in words, but there is an oddly lifeless quality to the narrative and characterization. This was the opposite of an exciting reading experience.
M is for Music. A key part of the book, and the most interesting thing happening in the story. Music enthralls; those responsible for that music live off of that enthrallment. Temporary as that spellbinding may be.
E (#3) is for Escape. I’m not sure why the obvious solution to living in a town where faerie regularly kidnap children was not more forcefully examined: get the hell out of there! It was mentioned but dropped pretty quickly. That bugged.
N is for Nice Try. I like what the author was trying to go for here: kitchen sink realism wedded to dark tales of changelings and faerie. Unfortunately, the result was half-baked as the supernatural elements and the realism of what makes this town a special place were unconvincing.
If I had to come up with one word for this book, it would be disjointed. I felt disjointed from the characters, disjointed from the plot, and the characters and plot felt disjointed from each other.
I just didn't understand it. It wasn't that the book was complicated, it just didn't work. I did not connect to Mackie, the main character, on any level, and I couldn't comprehend his actions. Same with the other characters. I just didn't know what was up with them. Their feelings were up and down, they knew some information, but were ignorant at the same time. The relationship between the town of Gentry and the underworld was shady and vague, so it was hard for me to understand the motivations behind the characters. Besides that, Mackie was unremarkable, maybe even unlikable. I'm not very much into emo guys.
I wish I got more out of this book than I did. The blurb on the front from Maggie Steifvater describes it as an "eerie and beautiful story of ugly things. It should be read aloud after dark, at a whisper." That is a lovely blurb, enough to entice me to read the book. If only the book itself had as much finesse as that single sentence. In the end, however, while I appreciate The Replacement's attempt at originality, I found it to be a muddled mess.
Πολύ ενδιαφέρον. Στο σύνολο του είναι αρκετά διαφορετικό, με δόσεις ανατριχίλας. Οι ήρωες είναι καλοφτιαγμένοι, όπως επίσης πολύ καλοδουλεμένη είναι και ή αφήγηση. Η ιστορία έχει πρωτοτυπία, καθώς έχει πάρει το μύθο των ξωτικών κ το έχει μεταφέρει από τη σκοτεινή πλευρά του, αυτή της αρπαγής παιδιών, της ανάστασης νεκρών και της ανθρωποθυσίας. Ενδιαφέρον επίσης έχει ότι η αφήγηση γίνεται από την οπτική γωνία ενός αγοριού που ο ρόλος που έχει να παίξει είναι κατά κάποιο τρόπο αμφίβολος. Μου άρεσε πολύ. Η αλήθεια ειναι, οτι ψάχνω να καταλάβω γιατί αυτο το βιβλίο άρεσε τοσο λίγο, αλλα δυστηχώς την αιτία δεν την βρήκα. Εχω διαβάσει πολυ χειρότερα που είχαν πολυ καλύτερη φήμη.
Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement is a haunting story. This is a book that sneaks into your mind while you're brushing your teeth, making you glance into the mirror to be sure that The Cutter is not standing silently behind you.
For a refreshing change of pace, our main character, Mackie, is a boy...errr, the replacement....for a boy. The story unfolds from his point of view and covers a very brief period in his life; however, it is undoubtedly the most important period, for during this time, Mackie finally allows himself to see, to understand, and to stop accepting "what is". As he allows his senses to awaken, his emotions follow closely behind. The transformation from a guy just wanting to fade into the background, into a person ruled by his heart and that which is right, is a gradual, yet phenomenal adventure. The feat he chooses to undertake is daunting. To go into it with no plan and very limited knowledge of what he will encounter is either remarkably brave, or simply stupid. The reader can't anticipate the outcome, which makes the book even more captivating.
This is one of the most creative, and spooky Young Adult novels that I've read. I added this book to my "To Read" list based on a Maggie Stiefvater recommendation, but I am looking very forward to The Space Between, Ms. Yovanoff's 2nd novel coming in November of this year, because of Ms. Yovanoff's outstanding and unique spin on a tale.
While reading this I felt like I was in a dark funk, and that's because Mackie Doyle has been in this kind of funk for almost his whole life. He has never felt like he belongs because he's just a replacement. A replacement that has to keep that a secret at all cost, but that can't last for long can it? His secret is jeoparized when Tate's little sister is thought to be dead, but Tate doesn't believe that and presses Mackie to give her some answers. How can he do that though, when he doesn't even know what he really is himself?
The relationships that Mackie has are the strongest part of the book. My favorite one being Mackie's relationship with his sister Emma, but his friends also were top notch. What also was done well was the feel of the oppressive cloud that Gentry has over it's head. You can tell the secrets are being buried, but no matter how hard the people try, the secrets bubble up to the surface again.
Now, I wasn't feeling the chemistry between Mackie and Tate at first. I kept wondering why Mackie even liked her, but as the story progresses the romance between them does get better. Then there is this scene where the "ugly" things undergound play a concert and I'm assuming you were suppose to feel the music and just how great it was. I guess I'm not that intuitive because I tried but I couldn't get it. All I kept thinking was, "Ok, so they play really good and..." Those are little irks though because I could understand Mackie. He tries so hard to be normal, and aches to be like everyone else, but he knows deep down he won't be able to do that. Along the way he comes to learn that people do actually love him despite and because of what he is.
The cover is very fitting to the book, and I think it's interesting how the author put old superstitions into pratical ways it would hurt a person like Mackie. I'm not sure, but it looks like there might be a series. Either way the story can stand on it's own. Just so people will know, there is teen drinking and some profanity.
Get lost in the world of ugly things, but coming out you might realize maybe, just maybe, they aren't as ugly as they seem.
This book was NOT for me. Probably one of my least favorite books of all time. I don't want to be mean. This isn't to say no one will like it. Heck, the author is published, so she's better than me in that way. But I just could not stand this book. So much profanity, so much vague-ness, so many things left unanswered.
I have never given a book zero stars on my blog before. I don't usually like to review books that I have such strong negative feelings for. But there has been a lot of hype for this book around the blogosphere, and I just wouldn't feel right if I didn't give you guys my two cents. I'm going to try to be nice, I have nothing against the author. She's published, which is a lot more than I can say.
In regards to the book-- The premise was so interesting! A faerie trying to live in our world with all the downsides of being a faerie. It's cool, right?
I also really liked Mackie's sister Emma. She was the only person actually willing to do something about the chaos that was Gentry and Mackie's life. His parents... I was glad that they kept Mackie and didn't treat him like a freak, but they still bothered me. For reasons to be explained.
The entire book was extremely vague. No one in the town of Gentry ever talks about ANYTHING. They all know that there are strange things going on, but no one does anything about it. Even Mackie's best friend never questions his weird behavior. I recognize that there was probably a deep meaning behind this. But I just couldn't find it. I just found it extremely annoying, and it made the characters seem very two dimensional. So many questions were left unanswered that just made me so frustrated.
Also, the profanity. This book is described as "Edward Scissorhands meets The Catcher in the Rye." This probably should have tipped me off, since I couldn't stand TCitR. This book had so much profanity, and underage drinking, and immorality. *sigh* I just don't want to read books that gritty. I can handle some grit, but not to that level.
Anyway. Lots of people love this book, including plenty of people whose opinions I really respect. But just be aware when you pick it up that it is very edgy.
I hope I wasn't mean. I didn't want to attack the author or book in any way. Every book has its place, even if it's not on my shelf.
Financially you are very lucky indeed, if you are born as an inhabitant of the small town Gentry: Although all around the industry’s prospects are bleak, Gentry still flourishes. This astonishing piece of luck is something best not talked about. That is the consensus of the supersticious townsfolk. Equally hushed are murmurs concerning the random bad luck which eventually strikes among the community: Every now and then an infant suddenly dies.
Mackie Doyle knows that he, too, would have died as a baby – were it not for his sister Emma, who as a tiny girl nursed him back to health, in spite of the knowledge that the crib held a replacement instead of her brother, and his parents, Gentry’s Methodist preacher and his wife, who taught their changeling son from an early age to keep his otherness (intolerance of blood, iron and sanctified ground and also heightened senses) hidden on all accounts. Their caution even includes a "no-visitors-to-the-house" rule, because they fear their iron-free household might start the community's rumors. Therefore Mackie is quite at a loss when his moody and fierce classmate Tate, whose baby sister Natalie just recently “died,” pesters him of all people relentlessly for answers and help and seems to be immune to his habitual elusiveness. As Mackie’s physical condition worsens, because being perpetually surrounded by iron and blood seems to poison him slowly causing breathing difficulties and fainting fits, and members of his people repeatedly appear, inviting him to return to the dark and underground "House of Mayhem”, he decides to try to find out what really happened to Natalie, to his town and to himself. His visit to one of the two dangerous female rulers of the supernatural realms puts him smack into the middle of a ruthless power struggle between evil in the shape of beautiful decay and maybe-evil-maybe-less-evil in the shape of an ugly, capricious little girl with too many teeth.
I am usually not a great fan of horror tales. I am rather the girl with her head between her knees when things become gruesome at the movies. But Brenna Yovanoff does this mixture of urban fantasy, love story and eerie, eerie, horror fiction so beautifully, so vividly, colorfully, tenderly and poetically I simply had to love it and to savor each description without closing my inner eyes. The disclosure of the shocking facts also works great for the reader: It is clear from the beginning that Mackie knows more than he lets slip, but his eyes get opened wider along with the reader’s.
Mackie is an unusual character, he stands out, but at the same time he is a quite normal sixteen-year-old: He admits admiring classroom bitch Alice because of her attractive exterior and detects only gradually the lovable layers of vulnerable daredevil Tate. I also liked how he interacted with the Morrigan – simultaneously tender and afraid. I was always uneasy about Mackie’s parents: Was their love for their replacement son sincere? What did they hide? But I was kind of envious because of Mackie’s sister Emma and his best friend Roswell, who both loved Mackie so unconditionally and unwaveringly and chased away his fear of being an intruder within the human world and their lives. Brenna Yovanoff has a true talent of showing her readers love in all possible shapes – even that between antagonized celtic goddesses.
It's true, the world-building gets never fully explained. But if one reads the novel vigilantly, it becomes pretty clear that a complete understanding is not intended: “The Lady” illustrates at one point how her people has always been defined by the imagination, the superstitions and the limitations of the humans whose sacrifices, attention, admiration or fear keep them alive. They are what we imagine them to be. They are repelled by what we imagine them to be intolerant of. And that changes with our culture. Interesting, isn’t it?
This book is very good, Brenna. I like it and its ending as it is. It does not need a sequel!
Okay, I wanted to read this book because it's got faeries in it and I'll jump on anything that has faeries. I love the idea of faeries not being those sexy, brooding, romanticized creatures (though I love them too) and changelings/tricksters/dark faeries are awesome to me. The cover turned me away from this book immediately because while some may love its dark sort of mood, I think it's well drab, ugly, and not to my style.
I had a lot of problems with the way she portrayed her faeries. It's like she has trouble deciding if she wants them to be faeries (changelings) or zombies. I mean I get that she's trying to make them dark and not so nice but the distinction is not there and just ends up being confusing and distracting. I was so confused as well wondering what I should consider them as.
The writing was a major problem with me as well. Her style is sort of, I don't know, clunky with odd word choices. I remember something along the lines of "Her face was like a lighthouse. Sad like a nun." Huh? And then Mackie was describing Tate's room "Her walls were done up in communist gray." Hah? What the heck is communist gray? Can someone please show me what communist gray looks like?
The romance was so... awkward. Like Mackie is constantly hardcore avoiding Tate and then in the next chapter they're are all making up and he's so in love with her and getting handjobs in the back of a church? What? Where did this come from? I am so lost. How if he's trying to get out of her sight for almost half the book why would he suddenly feel he's in love with her and has to sacrifice his life for her?
Mackie was said to be a freak and that he's an unpopular kid in school, so much so that his locker gets tagged/graffiti-d. But then how does he attract/is able to hit on the most popular girl on the school if he's such an outcast? Won't she be all give the whole "eew you are the plague on the bottom of my shoes" type of deal?
There's always this hint that there's something more to this town, that people know more than they are letting on but this is only addressed vaguely so it's left up in the air in some confusing void. The ending was a bit... anti-climatic and doesn't really resolve anything for me.
My Opinion: I wasn't as impressed with the book as I would have liked. I thought the premise of the book would make it steller for me. But, well, it fell a bit flat. We are taken on a tale of Mackie who is 16 and starting to get very sick and as time goes in this story he keeps getting sicker and sicker and sicker and good lord sicker. It seemed most of this book he had his head out of his friend Roswell's car window or he was puking. Yes, I said it - puking. That's all Mackie seems to do. He couldn't eat, talk, move or anything cause he was just always - pages and pages of - being sick. I couldn't stand listening to how sick everything made him. It just annoyed me. But, I plowed through this book hoping the ending would be good but ahhh it wasn't.
This book just seemed to lag on and on and almost became a DNF for me.
His best friend Roswell is a big time player that never asks any questions of the "why" his bestie is sick or what he is doing or why he keeps asking Roswell to take him at odd times to do things or go home. It just seemed like bulls**t to me. Nothing real. Mackie likes the hottest girl in school (wonder why) and pants over her all the time and then all the sudden I am to believe he has fallen in love with Tate? That is screaming at him to help her. Why him? Anyway, the books writing could have been better and the description of things could have been better. Overall, I would have to say this book just wasn't for me. Some people I am sure will love it. I just wasn't one of them.
Of this book, here is an addendum, belated as it is, here it is, belated as such, here it is.
My codicil :
Not bad for a debut, a nascent breath, not a bad debut. And a palate cleanser besides.
I had to read this after the dreadful, dreadfully awful, and not in a good Penny Dreadful way, Once Upon a Zombie (who let that atrocity to happen. Why would anyone publish that) actually I read Her whilst still reading that zombie book which was dead and not due to the walking dead. If I hadn't done that, the bitter aftertaste of that book would still be swilling in my mouth, chasing me into another afterlife. Though there is no life after her. The bitter gourd taste that it was would have haunted me in another story. So I read Yonanoff instead.
Tell me something, for such a boring novel how was this so well written. But Brenna's books have always been kinda Strange. Her books are so wonderfully weird, ineffable, but here's the thing, the thing is, and this is good news, so rejoice, they are my kind of weird, and I have always loved the strange.
The Replacement started out so strong; cool, creepy and a little disturbing. The story takes place in a small town where children are abducted and then replaced with unnatural replicas. No one knows who takes the children, where they go or why they are stolen. People just know that once they leave, they are gone for good. The replacements never live for long. Adding to the eeriness is the fact that none of the towns people talk about the oddness of their town. Despite living in modern times, the community adorn their homes with iron to ward off the thieves and make witch totems in the fall. When we meet the beasties responsible for stealing the children, they don’t disappoint. Brenna Yovanoff created wonderfully spooky and unsettling monsters. Unfortunately, the story fell apart soon after.
Where to begin? It’s hard to critique without giving away spoilers. But let me say that there was a weird connection between adoration and rock music that I just didn’t get. And frankly it didn’t seem that Yaovanoff was that invested in it either, because after explaining and touching on it briefly, the whole thing was never addressed again.
But what bugged me even more is that this turned into a very typical teen story. Protagonist Mackie Doyle is special. He sees the world with fresh, teenager eyes and is appalled that adults are so willing to accept their horrid fate rather than change it. Mackie, with the help of his loyal friends, sets out to right generations worth of wrongs with… wit? Intelligence? Talent? No, he simply barges in without a plan, cusses a little bit and challenges everyone in his path. Because he is right and they are stupid.
Mackie himself isn’t too believable either. In the beginning we are introduced to an awkward, isolated boy with few friends. But when faced with adversity and the opposite sex he suddenly becomes quite calm, collected and sure of himself. Sorry, I’m not buying it. It would have been great to have see this kid grow into a different person, but when faced with a challenge he always approached his foes with tons of bravado. We never saw any character development from him. He was just a weird kid one minute, and a self-assured little adult the next.
The horror aspect of The Replacement was amazing. And the rest is okay. But, like so many other YA novels, my discontent stems from the fact that, as an adult, very little of this is new material to me. I definitely get why there was so much hype around this book. And hopefully other adults who have read this will get why I’m just giving it two stars.
A good friend recommended this book to me a while back, not because she had read it, but because the cover caught her eye and she thought it might be something I would enjoy (cause I’m warped in that special way). So first let me just say I really do love this cover. Even though we're told we never should, sometimes I just can’t stop myself from judging books this way. That antique "English" pram made me think of Rosemary's Baby. What did I think of the sharp implements dangling like some kind of demented mobile? I wasn’t really sure … but I was very intrigued and couldn’t wait to see what it was all about.
I had so much fun reading this book. It was such a delight on so many levels. This is not a full on horror story, even though there are definitely horrific moments. Really, it’s a story about finding your place in the world even when you believe you don’t fit in anywhere. Mackie Doyle has never truly felt a part of the human world, always on the outside looking in. Nevertheless, he has a devoted circle of family and friends who love him despite what he is. In fact, they don’t see what he is, they only love him for who he is.
The small cast of characters are wonderfully drawn – especially Mackie’s sister Emma and best friend Roswell. Their love and loyalty know no bounds and prove the awesome power of unconditional acceptance. Mackie may feel like a monster, and at times he may even believe that he is, but this is not what the people closest to him see. They see Mackie for who he really is - kind, gentle, brave, funny and smart - and they'll do anything to keep him safe and be by his side when the chips are down.
I thought The Lady a truly disturbing and vile invention. The climactic confrontation Mackie has with her is nail-biting stuff. I got chills when she explains that it is human fear itself that sustains her and the human belief in her existence that keeps her living: “I am terror. I draw strength from their fears…I eat their devotion and their abasement.” In a very tangible way, this reminded me of Candyman, another bogeyman of folklore who claims: “I am the writing on the wall, the whisper in the classroom! Without these things, I am nothing. So now, I must shed innocent blood”.
If you enjoyed any of the following books, I would highly recommend that you pick up The Replacement. Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Also John Connelly’s Book of Lost Things. Joseph Delaney's Last Apprentice series.
Somewhere between a two and three on this one... I'll go with 2.5.
There seems to be a reasonable amount of hype for this book. Honestly, the only reason I picked it up was because one of my favorite authors, Maggie Stiefvater, heartily endorsed it with an extolling review. Did it live up to what I had predetermined it to be? No, not quite.
This is the epitome of a paranormal story gone wrong. Take an interesting concept like faeries that do not belong in the human world but inhabit it anyway, but fail to fill it in with charismatic characters or a scintillating setting. The dearth of amiable characters was what really detracted from the overall appeal of this book.
Another thing that bothered me was how the town accepted what was going on underground so readily. Sure, the author supplied the idea that they ignored it because it made the town pretty, and so on and so forth. But the atmosphere of the city, although discussed in the book, felt so vague I could not even begin to estimate what was truly going on.
If you are into the paranormal genre or are searching for a book with creepy monsters of the night, I would recommend The Replacement. Otherwise, skip this one.
Sounds cool, the cover looks cool, the story is rather lame. I was sorely disappointed. Mostly I didn't buy into the the premise of Mayhem and why they stole babies.
There were also a lot of actions by characters that I couldn't figure out a motivation for. For example: Tate is kissing Mackie one day under a tree. The next day she totally ignores him. I have no idea why, neither does Mackie. That night Mackie kisses a different girl, though it's Tate he likes. Later Mackie feels like he needs to apologize profusely to Tate for the kiss, but still the reader doesn't know why she was ignoring Mackie to begin with. A little later Tate takes off her shirt and they make out on her bed. Wow-that came out of nowhere. The whole episode--why?
My biggest problem was the ending. Mackie comes up with a plan to save Tate's sister from Mayham. It is not a well thought out plan in my opinion. Even if he and his friends succeeded in saving Tate's sister, Mayham would see very quickly that the Tate's sister was missing and replaced with something else. All Mayhem would need to do is take the girl back, and possibily harm Mackie and his friends for revenge. Luckily, Mayhem dies. Her death is the only way Mackie's plan works. Which is a little too lucky for my taste
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
It's a shame this YA paranormal doesn't live up to its winning premise and eyecatchingly creepy cover.
The writing reminds me of the unpolished work of a high school girl--all breathless, dreary atmosphere;utterly lacking in language. Descriptions of people and place are spare and trite. The characters are disappointingly cliche and the world under the slag heap needs a whole lot more fleshing out, so to speak.
A book like no other I've read. This story has seeped beneath my skin and will settle deep in my bones. Sublime and devastating, like a knife in my heart that has left me holding on to the hilt of my own volition, white-knuckled, and never wanting to let go. Bravo, Ms. Yovanoff.
Unfortunately the story didn't love up to it's promising premise for me. It wasn't a bad book but not my cup of tea. Was intrigued by the replacement premise as I've read a few fairytale with similar thing but it wasn't quite what i had hoped it to be
Months ago, someone on Goodreads posted this as to read and I went a little wild over this cover. I mean, come on. I was determined I was going to get my hands on it, but it's not all that often that I'll actively pursue a review copy of something. I figured I'd just have to wait until it's release to read it. So imagine my excitement when I got a copy of it at ALA. (*ooh, little frisson of excitement still*) So that was a little too easy. And we all know what generally happens to me when I go gaga over a cover (*cough*Hush, Hush*cough*). Also, even though I like them lots, faerie stories tend to disappoint, too. So this was bound to let me down, right?
Didn't matter, I still wanted to read it. But I decided I was going to save it for Helluva Halloween, and that made me happy and gave me something to look forward to. I can't even count all the times I started to pick it up early, but I was trying to be good. (And I was successful. Point for me!)
Now it's Helluva Halloween, and I finally go to read it. And what can I say? Maybe, just maybe, the cover/faerie curse is broken. This has been one of my favorite reads this year, and I have no hesitation in saying that. When I went on vacation earlier in the month, when everyone else was gathered around a bonfire drinking and getting rowdy, I went upstairs to read this. Yeah. I've been hesitant to write this review because, as I've said before, it's sometimes just as hard to write about something you loved as it is something you hated. I don't even know where to start.
Mackie is a replacement, what would often be called a changeling, and he spends his life struggling to fit in and keep this very dangerous secret. But as hard as he's always tried to pretend -- and to be -- normal, Mackie can't hide who he is forever. The iron that fills the modern world is toxic to him, and he's slowly dying of it. This struggle was sort of enthralling to read. I felt bad for Mackie, partly because he's so very much an outsider (of the community's doing, yes, but more so of his own. Not w/o reason, but still...), and partly because he just doesn't realize how miserably he's failing. He's hurting, and he's scared and lonely, and he's so grateful for the people that love him -- it's like reading about yourself at your most raw and insecure. I don't think it's possible to not relate to Mackie or feel for him.
But I don't want to give them impression that this is some pathetic sob-story, because it's not. There's just this level of thought and insight, this depth that I wasn't expecting, but that heightened the whole experience for me. Mackie's story, and the town of Gentry, is really dark and unflinching. I've read a lot of reviews that call the book scary, and I don't think that it's ever really that. It's more that it can be so unsettlingly real and human in the best and worst ways that it gets under your skin. And that can be scary.
I don't want to go too into detail because I don't want to start giving things away, but I do want to talk a little bit about the Yavonoff's writing and the choices she made. On the former, the writing is lovely. It flows beautifully, and I always had a clear image of the characters, the town and the emotions behind it all. Which leads me to the latter -- Yavonoff did some really wonderful things with a straightforward story. It's a typical outsider tale, very appropriate for YA with its discovery and near-coming of age quality. But it's enriched with so much emotion and understanding that it's sort of transformative. Yavonoff does something really lovely with human connections in this book, with both romantic love and familial love, and (to be really repetitive) I loved that. Her depiction of love isn't sugary and sappy and over the top as it is in many YAs, and it's balanced with the dark and creepy that exists side-by-side in the book. All together it gives this great dimension*, these highs and lows that make it dynamic and unputdownable and delicious.
So read it. Preferably now, as the days are getting short and dark.
At first I thought this was going to be a middle grade horror, but discovered it is more YA just because there is a small amount of language that is definitely not suitable for younger kiddos!
I picked this book up last month at our local UBS actually because of my niece Rylee. She likes to read middle grade and YA Horror so it made me start looking for it. I figured if she is a book lover and she likes middle grade or YA horror, then I was certain to as well. So I found this one and was pretty intrigued by both the cover and the synopsis. I had never read a book quite like this one before and it had me right from the start.
There are some pretty disturbing aspects to this story and for Horror, that is very important to me. I was a bit confused at the beginning as to who knew what was going on with Mackie, but it resolved itself the further I went into the story. It is not that the book was 'scary' but it was pretty creepy. I loved the setting I think the most in this book. Creepy small town with a good side and a bad side, but the creepiest part was that the good side was bad and the bad side was abominable. I LOVED THAT! I love the whole feeling of a town that had some ghosts in the closet. but everything was fine.
I also loved the characters in this book. So different but with such a sinister, ghoulish side that they could not see themselves. There are plenty of good characters, bad characters, and those detestable characters that we all love to hate. There was definitely a good mix of personalities in this one. I think IK would have to say that Mackie was my most favorite character, I love what he stood for and what he was willing to give up for the people he loved the most. Then Tate came in at a close second, she is a character who knows what's up and wont take crap from people.
Overall I enjoyed the story a lot and I wish there was a book 2 but pretty sure there is not going to be. This is definitely worth the read. So I will look for more of this author and definitely will look for more YA or MG horror!
I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler-free way. Unfortunately, there is still always a risk of slight spoilers despite my best efforts. If you feel something in my review is a spoiler please let me know. Thank you.
I enjoyed this book. It was a nice twist, coming from the point of view of the 'changeling' or whatever they are. It was nice story with an interesting hero. In the end, it was pretty predictable, but I liked it enough to want to read more by this author.
This book contained everything I could ask for in a story and more. The Replacement is an eerie book that kept me up late at night. It falls into my favorite genre, paranormal/fantasy romance, and it actually does the genre justice. My only complaint is that I wanted a little more in the romance aspect. I wasn't really sold on Mackie and Tate's romance. It's been a LONG time since I've read a book from a male point of view, and I found myself enjoying that aspect of this book a lot more than I thought I would.
I really loved the characters. Tate is my favorite because she reminds me of myself when I was a teenager. I loved Emma too, she is such a great sister and there is real unconditional love for her brother shown in this story. Mackie was pretty great too, he's a misfit and I really felt that he grew throughout the story. Roswell was such a good, loyal friend, which is something that I always admire in real life.
I really liked the whole idea of this story. I felt that it was incredibly original, which has been pretty hard to find lately. The world building was pretty good. At times I felt that I was a little confused, and I felt that the first half of the book moved a little slow for me. This is the only reason that I'm giving the book four stars instead of five. When I read the plot summary I immediately put this one on my TBR. I was so grateful to be able to receive this book as part of the traveling book program in the All About Fantasy group on Goodreads.
I don't think there is a sequel, but I wish that there was. I really loved the characters and would like to see the Morrigan and The House of Mayhem again. This was a great introduction to Brenna Yovanoff's work and I will certainly be on the lookout for anything else that she writes. She created a world that I found so fascinating, I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
Очень давно хотела эту книгу, и все из-за потрясающей атмосферной обложки. Но по сути книг – очень, очень странная.
События происходят в маленьком, мрачном городке – Джентри. На первый взгляд город, как город. Да вот только жители города, знают настоящую правду, правду о том, что скрывается под покровом ночи. Они носят на шее кресты, прибивают к дверям железные подковы, а над кроватками детей вешают металлические обереги.
А правда заключается в том, что каждые семь лет в Джентри исчезает один маленький ребенок, и заменяют его другим, нечеловеческим существом…. И все об этом знают, но закрывают на это глаза.
Главный герой книги Мэкки, не переносит железа, вида и запаха крови. В его доме все железное держится подальше от него. Он не человек, а Подменыш, которому удалось выжить. И из-за этого он чувствует себя чужим и одиноким.
В целом история обычная и типично американская. Все закрывают на правду глаза и смиряются с происходящим. Никого не волнует чужое горе. И об этом читать было действительно странно. Ну не бывает такого, не бывает. Даже в рамках мистики надо не забывать о логике и человеческих инстинктах.
На протяжение всей книги очень отчетливо не хватало экшна и темных, мрачных событий, которые так и просит прекрасная обложка. Таких чтобы, каждая страницы вызывала дрожь и нетерпение. А по сути, имеет слабенького мальчика, который очень-очень страдает и мечется из одной стороны в другую, и все время мучается. Много недоговорок, и в итоге все мелочно и ужасно неразвито. Герои неразвиты и неракрыты, кроме того, что у всех тонкая душевная организация ничего неясно.
В общем ждала большего, а получила книгу на один раз.