The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Released September 16, 2010.
First, I have to say that I love the cover of this book. You can’t see it in the image above, but it has a silver sheen in the sky, making it even more eerie. The cover suits the book, marking it as something quite special.
Mackie has always been different from the other people in his town. He tries to fit in, not be noticed, but it’s hard when you can’t be near iron or blood. It makes it even harder when as a pastor’s son you can’t step onto consecrated ground near the church. Of course, Mackie isn’t really the pastor’s son. He’s a replacement, left in the crib in exchange for a human baby and expected to die. But Mackie didn’t die, yet. He is failing though, he aches all the time and feels ill constantly. The only ones who can save him are the creatures who live in the underground, in Mayhem. When another child is stolen and replaced, Mackie finds himself trying to find the little girl and rescue her. Finally being different is something that can be helpful. But figuring out where he belongs will not be simple or easy.
Yovanoff’s writing carries this story along at a breathless pace, pausing only to occasionally catch your breath and then racing on again towards a dark end. She has created a setting that is not only unique but enticingly close to our own. The town of Gentry is the perfect setting for a horror novel, isolated and secretive. When Mackie goes below the surface, Yovanoff creates a new setting that is amazing and foreign, magical and creepy. Beautifully rendered, the setting makes the book very concrete and horribly tangible.
Mackie is a fascinating character who learns about himself throughout the novel. Some things he learns are wondrous, others horrific. Mackie makes an unlikely but great hero. He is a loner with friends, who sees himself as isolated but who is actually surrounded by friends who would do anything for him. Nicely, the friends he has are as well written as he is. The relationships with his sister and parents is complexly drawn as well, offering no easy answers.
Yovanoff writes with such creativity that I can’t wait to see what she writes next! Get this book into the hands of fans of Holly Black who will enjoy its darkness and riveting action. It will also appeal to fans of Joseph Delaney’s The Last Apprentice series. Appropriate for ages 13-16.
Reviewed from ARC received from Penguin.
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