Thursday, September 23, 2010
Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Mackie Doyle has always felt out of placement in the town of Gentry—and it’s not just because of typical teenage unrest. Mackie is a changeling left in the place of the real Malcolm Doyle 14 years ago. He has only survived this long because of love, but now he is slowly dying, poisoned by the iron that surrounds him.
When his classmate Tate’s “baby sister” dies, Mackie is drawn into her questions about how the town has always turned a blind eye to the stealing of human babies. Mackie is drawn into the world beneath Gentry, a world that is supposed to be his and claim his loyalty.
THE REPLACEMENT is an unusual debut novel that delivers on the lyrical creepiness that its cover promises. Despite some issues with plot development, it is a worthy read that will appeal to many different readers on many different levels.
Brenna Yovanoff’s writing absolutely blows my mind. The first chapter is so well written in its mixture of character, setting, conflict, and mood development that you can easily fall under its spell and not be bothered by the few issues in storytelling. You might find yourself stopping every few sentences, eyes lingering on a particular phrase that takes your breath away. Mackie’s world is is a creepy yet magical one, and Brenna’s writing reflects that juxtaposition: you know you are reading about really creepy stuff, but the way in which the creepy stuff is written about is just so delightful.
As the story progressed I felt that there were a few things I would’ve wanted more. I couldn’t get a firm grasp on the politics of the creatures living under Gentry. Why, exactly, are there factions among the world? The humans and creatures of Gentry share a tense but oddly efficient relationship, and I wanted more of a tangible “wrongness” about the deal, more immediacy of the wrongness. In a way, reading THE REPLACEMENT was like experiencing a dream: you know that the world you are seeing or feeling is weird—fantastical, even—and yet there is still a certain veil between you and that world, as if you know it’s a dream and can’t entirely affect you.
Still, both main and supporting characters are strong and likable, and the uniqueness of the story propelled me forward through my few qualms. THE REPLACEMENT is a great choice for an unusual read this fall, and I’m pretty sure I will be going back to this to reread my favorite parts.
Kirsten Miller (The Eternal Ones)
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - At first it didn't attract me, being quite unusual for a YA book, but then it won me over when I actually picked the book up and read it.
Razorbill / Sept. 21, 2010 / Hardcover / 352pp. / $17.99
Sent by the publisher for review.