Friday, February 11, 2011

The Replacement- Brenna Yovanoff


"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. He just wants to play bass guitar and find out more about an oddly intriguing girl named 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."

Summary: I have honestly never read anything like this book. When I first saw the cover I knew I wanted to read it, which is slightly strange as I don't usually like anything remotely creepy. However this book is the exception to that rule.

Mackie Doyle is a character who isn't normal. He isn't human, he's from belowground, a castoff placed into a crib of a murdered baby as a replacement. He was supposed to die, but instead he lives, thanks a great deal to his loving older sister Emma.

I found this cast of characters, especially Mackie, to be charming. Mackie is a little creepy if you didn't know him, but he is a sweet, caring kid who absolutely loves his older sister Emma. He is portrayed to the town as a sort of a rebel. His father is a minister, but because he can't step foot on hallowed ground, Mackie has never been inside the church.

Something I found interesting about the book is the way the town sort of knows that every 7 years a child is sacrificed for prosperity and they just let it happen. It isn't directly talked about and no one, until Tate speaks out, mentions that the children who are buried in their town aren't really the children everyone knew and loved.

While the plot of this story was not very complex, the characters were fun to read about and really grew on me. I thought the plot was incredibly unique and managed to make things that are creepy and ugly become really beautiful, especially with Mackie, who doesn't really belong with the ugly, dead (or perhaps undead) creatures from below the slag heap.

One last general note about the story. For those of you looking for a genuinely creepy story that will give you nightmares, this really isn't it. Some parts of the story are rather creepy but in a very light sort of way. The fact that I could read it without ever becoming freaked out is a good indicator of this as I hate all things frightening.

Rating: A-

Other Recommended Books:
Cirque du Freak Series by Darren Shan
The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan


  1. I want to read this one really bad! I was worried that it was "nightmare" sort of book so I've been holding off. Great review. I'm a new follower of your blog and I'm visiting from a comment on my blog. Have a great weekend!

  2. In the words of Maggie Stiefvater, this truly is a "beautiful story of ugly things." I found the advanced reading copy in my teacher's room three months after the actual book was released and it made me wonder why I didn't find it sooner. I found I could relate to many aspects of the story:
    1) The setting: I live in a sleepy town where bad things happen every so often, but nobody does anything about it. Every family has their secrets, but each portrays itself to be flawless.
    2) The characters: Like Mackie, I am somewhat of an outcast in my own Gentry because I am different. Like Tate, I'm not afraid to stand up and say something when it needs to be said.
    3) The conflicts: Mackie faces having differences that could be fatal, a religion-oriented father who doesn't understand his son, and a need to stop something horrible that has gone on for centuries - the Lady's sacrifices. While my situation isn't nearly as extreme as Mackie's, I also deal with being an outcast, my father being unable (or unwilling) to understand me, and a want to change a tradition (my family's Christian beliefs - I am the only pagan in a long line of Catholics).
    4) The symbolism: I think that iron in this story is a symbol of one person's weakness versus another's strength. My weakness may be the fact that I speak my mind very often. One day, this could get me into trouble.
    5) The motifs: Kellan Caury is a motif of this story; I believe this represents an example that frightens us and has taught us the wrong kind of lesson. I have heard of people who were looked down on because they were different. This originally taught me that I would always be rejected by my peers. However, looking harder, I have found my place among people who love me and who I love dearly.

    Brenna Yovanoff is excellent at writing from the male perspective. I hope she releases new works soon.

    EVYLIN, AGE 16