The Replacement is a debut novel by Brenna Yovanoff. It will be published by Simon and Schuster in the UK on 6th January 2011 and it is 384 pages long.
In the small town of Gentry, everything is not as it seems. Human babies are taken from their cribs and a Replacement is left in it’s place. Mackie Doyle is a Replacement, a faerie baby who was swapped sixteen years ago. Mackie has been getting sicker and sicker as each day goes by, not realising that his allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground are slowly killing him in the human world.
All Mackie has ever wanted was to live a normal life, to not have to be careful of every move he makes. When Mackie’s crush, Tate’s little sister is swapped, he knows he has to help her but doesn’t want to give away his secret. He’s tried so hard to keep to himself all of these years but he doesn’t want the bad things to keep happening. The only way to get Tate’s sister back is for Mackie to venture into the underworld of Gentry known as Mayhem. The world in which he came is far from the life he knows and there are far worse things down there than he could have ever imagined.
What I thought
As soon as I heard about this book, I desperately wanted to read it. The idea of human babies being swapped with faerie babies really intrigued me even though it creeped me out at the same time. Once I got into the story and realised that the whole town really knew what was going on, but said nothing, I was creeped out even more. I was sat there wondering why anyone would let this happen or why they even stayed in that town. If that had been me, knowing what was happening, I would like to think that I would have been out of there as fast as my feet could carry me. The Replacement doesn’t explain everything that is going on or the reasons behind everything but I thought that it added to the mystery and eeriness of the story.
As much as I loved this book, I would have liked to have seen some bigger plot twists. I felt like as the story got into full swing, there was too much that was predictable. I didn’t really have much to guess at and there was a lot that was very obvious. The ending was also predictable but as far as I am aware, this is a stand alone novel so in that respect, everything was wrapped up quite nicely. The story itself though was exciting and very different from anything else I have read. It is most definitely original and unlike anything in the market at the minute.
The fey in this story are far from cute faeries with pretty wings. Think as opposite of that as you can get and you might be in the right place. The creatures underground and downright disgusting and scary. I would hate to be close to any of them. Although there are descriptions to some extent, no one is fully described and a lot is left to the imagination. This was really clever and gives the reader the chance to imagine their worst nightmares in these creatures along with what Brenna Yovanoff gives us. This was one of the biggest reasons why I found this book so scary and eerie. The kind of things that I were imagining were like those creatures in Pan’s Labyrinth. You wouldn’t want to see anything like that walking down the street would you?
Mackie was a really interesting main character. In many ways, he was just like any other teenager at his school, liking girls and wanting to go to parties. In other ways though, he is the complete opposite. He isn’t even the same race as everyone else. I could really sympathise towards him to begin with, realising how much he just wanted to live like everyone else and have a normal life. He did come across as extremely weak though at times but that was mostly down to his allergies and not being able to go to certain places. His character grew stronger as the story went on and I liked seeing how he developed into more of his own person, once he had truly come to terms with what was happening around him.
Emma, Mackie’s sister and his best friend, Roswell were amazing characters. I loved seeing how they didn’t judge him for being different and they didn’t give him any hassle over it. In fact, they were very much the opposite. Emma loved him unconditionally and would do anything for him. Roswell has got to be the best friend that anyone could possibly ever have. Even though he never acknowledged out loud that he knew what Mackie was, he was always there when he needed help and went to a lot of trouble to make sure he was ok. It was really nice seeing an outsider have such good relationships, even though they weren’t expected.
Brenna Yovanoff’s debut was hauntingly beautiful and I loved every single word. It was so much darker than I had expected it to be and I found myself with chills as I was reading it. I’ve read a lot of amazing debuts this year but The Replacement is right up there with the best of them!