Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Published: September 2010 by Razorbill
My Rating: 3 stars
Tags: YA | Fantasy
Includes: Violence, Sensuality, Profanity
First Lines: I don't remember any of the true, important parts, but there's this dream I have. Everything is cold and branches scrape the window screen. Giant trees, rattling, clattering with leaves.
In the town of Gentry, every seven years a child is taken and replaced by something not quite human. It's something that the townspeople don't speak of, understanding that by allowing this, their town can remain prosperous. The majority of the replacements die, unfit for the conditions in the human world. But as for Mackie Doyle, a replacement himself, he survived. When a girl named Tate has her baby sister taken and replaced, she refuses to just go along with it. So she turns for help from the only person she can think of: Mackie. However, living in the human world is taking a toll on Mackie, and he's slowly dying from his fatal blood and iron allergies. The dead replacements underground in the House of Mayhem supply him with medicine to let him live. But soon Mackie must make a choice: to follow along safely with the rest of the replacements, or go against them to help save Tate's sister.
After seeing this disturbing, eerie, and dark cover (which I absolutely adore!), I had set expectations for the book. I thought this was going to be a terrifying novel, when in fact it wasn't really scary at all. The story is actually told from Mackie's perspective. So even though the replacements were supposed to be scary, they weren't since I was reading from their POV. Now don't get me wrong, the ambiance of the book is definitely deliciously dark. The author created a completely original, one-of-a-kind world with strange, quirky characters. It was like something straight out of a Tim Burton movie. The downside to all of this though, was the lack of explanation. I was confused from the very beginning to pretty much all the way to the end. For some reason I just couldn't grasp my mind around the idea of why a bunch of dead, ugly creatures would kidnap and sacrifice a child every seven years for the sake of the town's "prosperity". It still doesn't really make sense to me and I would have liked it if the author had explained it better, and mentioned when it first started and where these replacements had even come from. This book stirred up so many questions that were sadly never answered for me.
From page 107
A little girl was crouched on the floor. She had on a white party dress that looked like it was made of old surgical gauze and also like it might have been on fire at some point. She was sitting with her legs pulled up, drawing on the stone with a burned stick. All the pictures looked like eyes and giant mouths full of teeth. The girl turned and looked up at me. When she smiled, I stepped back from the desk. Her face was young and kind of shy, but her mouth was crowded with small, jagged teeth. Not a nice, respectable thirty-two, but closer to fifty or sixty.
The freaky, whimsical characters that lived underground were what made the story. They were described in a beautifully ugly way, to the point where instead of being scared, I felt sorry for them. The actual storyline dragged on and on, which was a disappointment. There was so much potential for this book, and it didn't live up to my expectations. It wasn't until the final chapters that it finally picked up and was full of action and mayhem. There were significant things that I loved and didn't love about the book. It took me a long time to finish reading, and after a while I was just ready for it to end. If you're someone who likes digging into the characters of interesting, bizarre creatures than this is the book for you. But if you're looking for a scary, thrilling, action-packed storyline, prepare to be let down.
Cover Thoughts: Oh my gosh, one of the best covers I've ever seen! I love everything about it: the creepy red text, antique stroller, metallic fog, and dangling weapons. They all work so well together and create a terrifying cover.