Friday, November 26, 2010

Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (Fall Into Fantasy)

Mackie Doyle doesn't quite belong in the sleepy steel town of Gentry. There are no cans or silverware in his house, riding in cars makes him sick - but not from motion sickness - and it's all he can do to keep from passing out during the school blood drive. But the people of Gentry have mastered the art of looking the other way when things aren't quite right, even when it costs them their childrens' lives. When Natalie Stewart goes missing, however, Mackie can't pretend anymore - not when he sees the desperation in her sister's eyes. It's time for Mackie to face his demons, even if it kills him.

The opening paragraphs suck the reader into the dark and eerie world that Brenna Yovanoff has built. Yovanoff slowly peels back the layers to reveal the deep and disturbing mystery haunting the town of Gentry. The language of this novel is darkly beautiful, almost poetic at times. Yet, after reading reviews describing The Replacement as scary and spooky, I was rather surprised not to be more frightened by the beginning of this novel. However, toward the end things definitely took a turn for the grotesque, holding no punches and unapologetically revealing the raw emotions, truths and bitter realities of the small steel town. The best thing about this world, though, are the characters. While some - like Mackie's parents - could use development, the main characters are vibrant and quirky. Mackie's strange blend of typical teen hormones, sweet vulnerability and streak of darkness will win readers over from the start. Yet, though readers will feel sorry for him, it was hard to get a real sense of Mackie's pain and, as a result, the conclusion was somewhat anticlimactic.

The relationship between Mackie and his bookish sister Emma is the emotional core of the novel, providing a heart-warming beam of light in an otherwise dreary world. Tate Stewart might be irritating at first, but it's impossible not to admire her for being brave enough to see the dark side of Gentry that no one else dares to acknowledge. Fortunately, Mackie's friends Roswell and the twins provide some much-needed comic relief in this grim world. Roswell is a fascinating character and an incredibly loyal friend to Mackie, a refreshing sight in a young adult novel, and I hope to see more of him in future books. The Replacement is powerful and moving, sad and haunting, creating a whole world of creatures who are terrible in their cruel, cold gentility. The underground world that Yovanoff creates is as captivating as it is horrifying, and the sheer variety of creatures speaks to the creativity of the novel. There is something strangely beautiful about the darkness of it all, and readers won't be able to look away.


Click here to order The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

On Monday, don't miss my author interview with Brenna!

This novel is part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge and the Fall Into Fantasy event.


The Slowest Bookworm said...

I really enjoyed your review. I have this one on my bookshelf and can't wait to start it. Everytime I read a review on it, I want to start it straight away, but it'll have to wait for a week or two :)

E.J. Stevens said...

I'm dying to read this. Great review! Looking forward to the interview. :)
From the Shadows

what...more books said...

I am reading this book right now and i am so glad that you liked it. even though I am on pager 70, I was sucked into this book from the begginig.
Great review

Lisa said...

This cover freaked me out a little but after your review I might have to give it a try.

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

Thank you all for taking the time to read and comment! I hope you enjoy The Replacement!

Lisa - I'm a big chicken, so if it didn't scare me it can't be too bad! ;-) I hope you give it a try!

Small Review said...

Ultimately I didn't love this book (it was too slow for me and I couldn't connect with it), but I do agree with many of the things you mentioned in your review. Especially what you said about Mackie and Emma's relationship being the emotional core of the book. I think that was one of my favorite parts.

I also agree with what you said about the author peeling back layers. I got the sense that there was so much going on beneath the surface and we the reader were slowly discovering this horrifying, sad, and beautiful world along with Mackie.

Diana said...

I like the story because the book seems a little dark and mysterious. Amazing cover.

Vivien said...

I loved that this story was unique. I had never read about a changeling before. I wish there were more books about it.

Llehn said...

Isn't Ms Yovanoff amazing?

danya said...

Love that last line in your review! I can't tell if this one would be a book for me or not...I scare pretty easily (horror is not at all my genre, although I sometimes enjoy psychological thrillers) but you say it isn't too spooky, so that's good. I like an exciting climactic ending though...*waffles*

Syki said...

Cover of this book is awesome... but... I have read this book and I think it's a strange book. I didn't like some parts of the story and I hope that the second book will be better.

Jennifer said...

I won this book a few weeks ago and am definitely going to read it soon.

Sounds very interesting. Love reading your reviews!

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