April 14, 2011

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Published September 21, 2010 by Razorbill

Hardcover: 343 pages
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 to 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.

The Replacement was a creepy, fun, dark, twisted book that I absolutely enjoyed. You'll be happy to know that the insides are just as amazing as the cover, and that cover is pretty dang awesome.

Gentry was a very unusual setting, but totally made sense for this book. The citizens of Gentry live in constant fear of the possibility that their children might be stolen and replaced by a weird inhuman baby. Usually, these babies die at an early age because their bodies can't handle iron, blood, consecrated ground, and the lack of love they receive. The families will do anything to prevent their children from being taken away from them: They'll nail horseshoes on their doors, hang dangerous iron objects above the baby's crib, and above all else have absolutely no contact with the creepy people who live in the Gentry underworlds or speak of them to anyone. (I'm sure that there's a proper name for them, but I can't remember so we'll just call them the creepy people for now.)

The creepy people were a really confusing concept for me to grasp, there's just a whole lotta stuff you gotta understand. The creepy people are divided into two groups: the House of Mayhem (good-ish) and the House of Misery (bad.) The House of Mayhem is a never-ending underground safe house for the creepy people who weren't sent off to live in the human world as babies. They're ruled by a little tattooed princes called the Morrigan, she's just a cute little girl if you look past her mouth full of sharp teeth, exceeding wisdom, and creepy toys. It's her job to keep the happiness in balance in Gentry by getting some of the House of Mayhem residents to make music for them, and because she wants everything to be "perfect" and "wonderful" for Gentry, she doesn't mind her sister's murdering if it keeps things in balance. The Morrigan's sister, the Lady, is a cruel woman that feeds off of the suffering of Gentry citizens. She is obsessed with beauty and collects dead, beautiful animals and other pretty knick knacks. Her creepy people live in the House of Misery, and, unsurprisingly, not as many people live there as they do in the House of Mayhem. The Misery creepy people are the ones that take human children, replace them with their own kind, and then kill the human ones. They do this for the sake of the Gentry people and the balance, or whatever. The Lady likes everything to go her way and punishes the town with various disasters when they don't believe as strongly as they once did in the creepy people. Also, every year, the Lady takes a special child and keeps it as a pet until Halloween when a ceremony is completed to make Gentry happy. Sorry, the explanation isn't very good, I still don't get it much. Just remember the need for balance and you'll be fine.

Mackie (I love Mackie) is a teenage boy whom you can't help but feel sorry for. Every day he must pretend to be a normal Gentry citizen, to not react when someone gets a nosebleed, to hang out with normal friends, to try and act like he isn't in constant emotional and physical pain. He's a creepy person who miraculously makes it through sixteen years of life fairly easily, for a creepy person at least, because of his sister's love for him. (So sweet right?) However, his reactions start to get worse and worse, and he can't hide who he is as effectively as he once could. Reluctantly, he goes to the House of Mayhem and they give him medication that works to relieve his suffering, at a price of course. The Morrigan wants him to help make the people of Gentry happy, and to become more like one of them. Mackie finds the adjusting to life as a creepy person really difficult, and from there on everything starts a downward spiral. Tate, the girl he likes, wants him to help find her baby sister who's the Lady's newest pet, his own sister gets attacked, the church burns down, he struggles with life increasingly each day, and worse. Dun-dun-duuuuuuh

This story was a good, dark read that you should try out.

4 out of 5 stars.

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