by Brenna Yovanoff
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
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.
(synopsis from Goodreads)
When I first started reading this book (which has been in my TBR pile for nearly a year), I thought the premise was really interesting. In YA paranormal fiction, we don't always see the story told from the point of view of one of the "creatures"... and it seems even less common to see the story told from the point of view of a male character. But that's what we've got here, and I thought it was a great choice for a main character. Unfortunately, I wasn't that blown away by the end of the story, so I'm not sure I can really recommend this one.
I did like some of the characters. I really liked the Morrigan (though I couldn't find any reference to her tattoos, as the synopsis suggests... that's probably another continuity problem, which I've explained more about below). Mackie's parents were a little underdeveloped (which is a shame, considering how they fit into the story), and I wasn't crazy about the unoriginality among the teenagers: we've got the "mean girls", the tough kids, the practically perfect best friend, and the twins who might've been ripped right out of Harry Potter (was I the only one who thought Danny and Drew were an awful lot like Fred and George?). A lot of the setting reminded me of that in Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, especially the places the teens liked to hang out. I don't know what it is with the Fair Folk and billiards...
The story built up to a climax and I thought it was going to be good, after the way things were set up. I'm really not sure what I was expecting, but the resolution felt really uninspired to me. And afterwards, there was something really unusual that happened, something that should've made the townspeople sit up and take notice... but they didn't. I thought that was rather odd.
My biggest gripe with this book, though, was the continuity. It was absolutely appalling. When I read a book, I tend to see the action in my head, like I'm watching a movie. So if I read that someone performs an action and ends up in a certain place on one page, I expect them to be in that same place on the next page... not halfway across the room about to perform the same action they just performed four paragraphs earlier. The book has numerous instances of this kind of thing, which I found jarring and confusing. It reads like the author changed her mind about little things and halfway implemented the changes... and then nobody bothered to check and see if they made sense. Shoddy editing.
My copy had an excerpt from Yovanoff's other book, The Space Between. That looks like it might be a bit more interesting than The Replacement... but I'm hesitant to try it if I'm going to be confused about where the characters are and what they're doing from one minute to the next!
Overall: 3 out of 5