By Brenna Yavanoff
Synopsis: (From Goodreads)
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.
Why I Picked This Book: Come on, do you see that cover? What the heck is going on there! I couldn't resist!
The Replacement is an eerie, dark tale about monsters that live underground, missing children, and secrets. Yavanoff spins a tale that is so strange and intriguing, you can't help but dive in and let the dark mysteries engulf you. Then... just when you expect the explosion of a crazy, messed up world... it falls kind of flat.
Sad, I know.
I had high hopes for The Replacement. Come on, this story line is gold. Children go missing, replaced by monsters who die shortly after. And Mackie, the male main character, just so happens to be one of those monsters. He survived. Against all odds. Except now, sixteen years later, he is dying.
And only the dark world he came from is able to save his life.
I loved the darkness. The nonstop unsettling feeling. When I read this synopsis, my mind went wild with where this book would go. So, what happened?
The majority of the book talks about Mackie being sick. Or getting sick. Or thinking about getting sick. I get it: He is allergic to iron and blood and church. (Something, I have to say, I still don't fully understand...) But he was just so... weak. I understand weakness. No one is perfect. But Mackie didn't have weakness: he was just weak.
Secondary characters. Roswell was awesome. Almost too awesome. Perfect and smart and caring and handsome and... we get it. Then there is Tate. Oh Tate. Tate is the female interest. And to be honest... I could never get a fix on how I felt about her. She was angry. Then seductive. Then pissed off. Then kissy. Now, I get that teenage girls are fickle, especially when their younger sister has gone missing and has been replaced with a dead monster. But still... I honestly can't say I liked Tate.
As far as world building goes... it was there. Just not as much as I craved. I would read entire pages and find myself wondering what just happened. I would reread sentences trying to grasp what the character was trying to say. As soon as I met the underground people, I wanted to be in there world and their world alone, but it never happened. I loved the idea of this story. Gosh, I adored it. But the execution was...
Why on Earth a town would just sit around for generations, as every seven years children were swapped out for look alike monsters who would just croak... it is beyond me. I never was able to grasp what made the town so amazing that everyone wanted to stay. I would get out of dodge, fast.
(NOTE: This book likes the use of the "f-word" and has a few semi-sexual scenes as well. For those of you who prefer to stay away from that content, here is your warning.)
Yavanoff has skill. I will give her that. To think of this story, to let your mind go there, is quite something. I am very curious about where her writing career will go, and will definitely be following her along the way. As for The Replacement... it was decent. Not amazing, not horrible. It didn't take my breath away, but I didn't throw it across the room either.
If there is a sequel ever, I am not sure I will read it. Still, The Replacement was a nice fix for a semi-horror craving. I liked it. For maybe some reason I can't fully explain, I liked it. The plot and writing is what saved it from a lower rating. I would love to give it more, but the monsters might get me.
(3 out of 5 stars)