Review: The Replacement

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The ReplacementThe Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Published by Razorbill on September 21, 2010
Genres: Gothic, Horror, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 343
Format: ARC
Source: ALA

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.

This was one of the books Penguin was really excited about and promoting like crazy at ALA, along with Eternal Ones, which I already reviewed. This book proved to be disappointing as well. The plot was certainly interesting, not one I have encountered before, although I think similar stories may exist. Yovanoff does manage to achieve a fairly gothic feel in some parts, although it is very difficult to make a high school party feel gothic, so it does not work perfectly everywhere.

As may have already become apparent, one of the things most important for me when reading a novel are the characters. I want them to feel real and have a good picture of them in my head. Good characters should feel, for example, like friends I will miss when the book is over or enemies I will love to hate all the way through. I know I make this complaint a lot, but the characters in The Replacement just did not make me feel anything. Character descriptions were somewhat sparse and other than Mackie, we get little idea of what the others are like beyond one or two qualities. And Mackie is hard to relate to, because Yovanoff wanted to make him feel unearthly, a bit unhuman, a bit disconnected. She achieves that, but it meant that I felt a bit bored all the way through. When the characters were in danger, I just didn’t care, which I see as a bad thing.

Mackie falls in love with Tate or so we, the readers, are to believe. Honestly, when he first confessed, I was confused, because, approximately five pages before, he was just freaked out by her. If you want to have a romance in your book, you need to sell it, rather than just saying that they are in love now. Poof! Magic eternal love commenced!

I recommend this for gothic fans or Maggie Stiefvater fans. Stiefvater is apparently friends with the author and recommends the book highly, saying that she” loved this eerie and beautiful story of ugly things.” There, a contrasting opinion to mine. I welcome differing opinions, because, really, that’s what makes people so interesting, right?

4 responses to “Review: The Replacement”

  1. Kristi says:

    Have this one on my TBR list but haven’t heard too much about it yet. Thanks for the review!

  2. Brenda says:

    Hi I found your blog over at book blogs I am now following you, drop in and check out my blog, I am also having a giveaway.

  3. rachchan2006 says:

    I borrowed this one from my school library because it’d been promoted like crazy (as you said) by it’s publishers and there was quite a lot of hype about it. Usually, I try to finish books even if I don’t like them, but I found myself completely unable to connect to the characters and gave up about half-way. I agree, it’s quite disappointing.

    • Christina says:

      Yeah, I feel like it could have been really cool, but it didn’t work out for me. I’ll be trying The Curiosities which she had a hand in soon, and I hope I like it better.

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