by Brenna Yovanoff
Hardcover, 343 pages
Published September 21st 2010 by Razorbill
Placement in the Pile:
Middle of the Stack
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.
First let me say that, The Replacement, as a debut novel, is excellent on so many literary levels. I was impressed with Brenna Yovanoff's ability to weave the dark tone and murky, eerie mood into the character interactions, character descriptions, setting and conflicts. To me, this novel had the mix of a Tim Burton movie and Something Wicked This Way Comes. To call it eerie would be using the world lightly.
While reading the novel, I couldn't help but feel connected to Mackie, the protagonist, sensing his life of gloom and secrets.
Unfortunately that's where, for me, the novel fell flat. While I'll admit that Yovanoff excells in writing strong character voice, and mood so deep you can feel it in your bones, the main driving conflict of the novel lacked the necessary substance to sustain me. Since the novel is centered around the idea of a controlling, baby-stealing underworld, I'd hoped for mythology that was well-defined. And it wasn't. It was vague and unbelievable.
For me, this one didn't grab at heart strings, or even steal my breath away with it's complex wierdness. Mostly I was left with the feeling of wanting so much more.