Thursday, February 17, 2011

Book Review: The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff

The Replacement has one of the most unique plots of any fantasy book I’ve ever read. The reader soon figures out that everything is not normal with our main character, Mackie. He can’t be anywhere near iron, and that includes blood. He is weak and ill, and getting sicker every day. He knows what he is, feels everyone else knows what he is, but everyone just proceeds as if everything is normal in the town of Gentry.

When his sister, Emma, brings him some medicine that makes him feel much better, things are looking up. But, it turns out that payment is required for this medication.  Payment involves Mackie meeting the Morrigan, who lives underground with more of the dead. Morrigan helps Mackie understand his origins and how unique he is, and spells out her requirements for continuing to supply him with the medicine.

The rest of the plot is rather intricate, involving stolen babies, Morrigan’s evil sister, Mackie discovering his mother’s secret past, some romance, and a late night struggle in a graveyard. The supporting characters play an important role and are just as compelling as Mackie. His best friend, Roswell, and his romantic interest, Tate, are characters with their own stories.

A minor complaint is the part of the story that involved Mackie and Alice. I didn’t get why that was part of the story. It was awkward and didn’t seem to serve a purpose.

Mackie’s attitude mirrors that of the entire town. The whole town knows something isn’t right, but they are “unshocked.”

I wanted to be shocked. I wanted to be dumbstruck and appalled, but I couldn’t do it.  It was completely unshocking that there were monsters in the world, secret rituals and underground burrows filled with the dead, when in my own way, I was secret and sort of monstrous too. It just didn’t show in the same way. (p. 128)

Yovanoff does a good job of explaining most of the background behind the fantasy in this story. I found myself believing all of this far-fetched craziness such as visiting underground burrows and digging up graves in the middle of the night as if this happens all the time. I totally bought into this story.

This book will be enjoyed by all teens – boys and girls – who like a creepy, gory fantasy. I won’t hesitate to push this book to many of my students.

Published by Razorbill
Copy obtained from the library
352 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 4/5

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  1. Oh I don't know if this would be my cup of tea! It sounds kind of scary... :)

  2. I like how you said you bought into the story. I did too. I didn't really think about the book critically at all. I was just sucked into her world. It was a little too slow and sad for me, but I loved the world and mythology she created.

  3. Thanks for your review Annette !! This book has been in my pile since Christmas .. so I really have to start reading it !! It seems so creepy (love it) !! Can't wait!!

  4. Excellent review! I have wanted to read this book for a while now and still haven't picked it up. I need to get on that!

  5. Oh man, I really should read this. I've had an ARC since before it came out and haven't gotten around to it yet. Thanks for the great review!


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