Friday, November 12, 2010

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff - Book Review #113

Friday, November 12, 2010
The Replacement
by Brenna Yovanoff

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.

I wanted to read this book since I first saw the cover, sometime in February. Isn’t it creepy-gorgeous in somewhat disturbing way? At that point of time I couldn’t find any information about the book: no synopsis, no rumors, only the cover and the title. Despite that, The Replacement immediately went into my to-read list. Later on when the synopsis was finally available, my excitement for the book went down. Tattooed princess? Living dead girls? Fatal allergies to iron and blood? And the only thing he wants is to be normal and spend time with his crush? It sounded like just another, not too good, YA paranormal. However, when the book was finally released I was in the mood for “just another, not too good, YA paranormal”, so I picked it up.

From the ten thousand foot view, my suspicions were confirmed. However, after a closer look, I found discrepancies with “just another YA paranormal”. The Replacement is getting points from me for… no, not originality of the plot, but reinvention of old, and still can be called as forgotten, fairy lore. And more points to The Replacement for being a standalone novel, not a part of another never-ending series. Well, of course, you can never be sure and the author can always make a series out of standalone novel. However, I really hope that Brenna Yovanoff won’t do that with The Replacement.

Everything else, unfortunately, falls into the mediocre category.

Characters were mostly boring and clichés, with an exception of Mackie Doyle, whose characterization was confusing. He presented as a freak and loner, however he has friends, who are not freaks and loners; and girls (plural!) are interested in him.

Brenna Yovanoff’s writing sometimes read as forced and mouthful. Her selection of words at some points reminded me of the scene from Friends, when Joey is writing a letter of recommendations on Monica and Chandler to adoption agency and to sound better he replaced his words with smarter ones.

Bottom line is The Replacement was an OK book. It has its flaws and has some good qualities. Since it was a debut novel for Brenna Yovanoff, I hope we will see more and better works from her in the future. I will probably keep an eye on her upcoming works.


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