Archive

Archive for March 14, 2011

Book Review – The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

March 14, 2011 2 comments

Book Description:

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.

Edward Scissorhands meets The Catcher in the Rye in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.

Wow, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff was an unexpected delight to read! I had no expectations when I picked it up – just thought the cover art was cool and I was in the mood for a changeling story (I picked up another changeling tale, The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue, at the same time). I pretty much lucked out, Brenna Yovanoff is a wonderfully imaginative storyteller – I highly recommend this to both the young and the old! The blurb may say that it’s a horror story, but it’s really more than that – I would say that it’s a unique coming-of-age story where a young man (who knows he isn’t a real boy and has always felt like an outsider) finally realizes where he belongs in his world, and learns what love truly means.

The backstory in the book sounds like it may have come from the mind of someone like Stephen King (something like ‘IT‘). The current residents of the town of Gentry are hostaged to a deal their ancestors struck with the ‘devil’ (the underground denizens of the House(s) of Mayhem and Misery) – By unspoken agreement, everybody looks away when every seven years, a child in Gentry ‘dies’ (a.k.a replaced by a dying changeling child) and in exchange, the town enjoys uncommon good fortune for generation after generation. Until now. When Tate Stewart’s three-year-old baby sister Natalie ‘dies’ – Tate breaks protocol and insists that the child who died was not her sister. And she starts asking hard questions.

And Mackie Doyle may have all the answers. Macky just wants to be a real boy (loved and accepted by his friends and family), but he knows that he stands apart. He happens to be one of the ‘replacements’ (or castoffs), but unlike the others, Macky has survived (even while being slowly poisoned by living with humans) to his teens, supported by the fierce love of his big sister Emma. As Mackie learns the truth about Gentry’s horrible secrets and he is reunited with his own people from the underground House of Mayhem – Mackie has to decide what price he is willing to pay to either preserve the status quo or change everything once and for all.

The story is creepy and has an eerie and haunting quality, particularly when we are introduced to the unfortunate underground creatures in the House(s) of Mayhem and Misery. What I loved best about the book were the very complex characters (all too real and damaged in some way) – from Macky’s uneasy parents (a father who tries to understand, a mother who understands all too well), his amazingly protective and loving big sister Emma, his loyal bestfriend Roswell, his crush Tate who forces Macky to face up to hard truths within himself and those around him, the morally conflicted Morrigan (head of the House of Mayhem) and the evil Lady (head of the House of Misery)…. every character is so amazingly real even though they are all in pretty extraordinary circumstances.

This book has made me an instant fan of debut author Brenna Yovanoff, and has me looking out for more books from her in the future!

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff is available on Amazon as a Kindle Edition ($10.99), a Hardcover ($9.99), Paperback ($8.99) and Audible Audio Edition ($14.95).

You can also get the book at Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo for the same price. (That’s agency pricing for you!?)

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by RSS Or by Email. [tweetmeme source=”randomizemeWP” only_single=false https://randomizeme.wordpress.com%5D

%d bloggers like this: