Monday, September 20, 2010

My Review of The Replacement

This week, I'm going to be spending some quality blog time with Brenna Yovanoff, author of the fabulous new book, The Replacement. Below, you'll find my review (though it's probably pretty clear by now that I really enjoyed it). In the days to come, I'll be posting my interview with Brenna, and she'll also be paying a visit to this very site!

So, without further ado, here is my review of The Replacement . . .

I’m afraid most novels don’t stay with me for long. I usually gobble one up, wipe my mouth on my sleeve, and move on to the next one. But occasionally I’ll come across a flavor so unique that it lingers for months—even years.

I read The Replacement ages ago, and I swear I can still taste it. (The flavor it left behind? A mixture of rusty iron, human blood, and holy ground. Rather delightful, I’d say.)

The Replacement is the story of a boy named Mackie Doyle who has grown up in a town that isn’t quite what it pretends to be. Prosperous Gentry, with its minivans and golden retrievers, may seem like the ideal place to raise a family. But once in a while, a child dies inexplicably, and the whole town chooses to look in the opposite direction.

Mackie might be the sort to search for the truth—if he weren’t hiding a few secrets of his own. He’s always been painfully aware that he doesn't belong with the people of Gentry. His eyes are too dark. His skin is too pale. And he suffers from a painful, embarrassing allergy to anything made out of iron.

It all adds up to something quite sinister, but Mackie’s parents refuse to discuss their son’s origins. Instead, they simply urge him to fit in at all costs. So Mackie has spent his entire life trying to avoid being outed as a freak. Now that he’s reached high school, he seems to have finally succeeded. He has friends, a social life—even girls who are dying to kiss him.

It’s the very worst time for his allergy to grow life-threatening. Suddenly, a whiff of iron-filled blood makes him faint. A car ride nearly kills him. That’s when a strange man appears with a message. Mackie’s suffering is a sign—a sign that it’s time to finally go home.

Beneath a slag heap on the edge of his neighborhood, Mackie discovers the dark world that created him—and the secrets that Gentry has been desperate to hide. And he’s finds himself faced with a choice. He can save his town from the horrible beings who live beneath it—or he can choose to save himself.

Months after I finished The Replacement, I still find myself following Mackie into the underworld beneath Gentry. It’s unlike any land I’ve ever visited, and the creatures Mackie meets there are among the most horrifying ever imagined. I love a good scare (I think most of us do), and The Replacement certainly did not disappoint. But it was the original idea at the core of the novel that impressed me the most. This isn't one of those books that borrows from other novels or tries to ride a trend. This story is completely unique and unpredictable. I can think of no higher praise.

If I'm being a bit vague, you must forgive me. I don't want to give too much away. There are a few characters, for instance, that you should meet on your own. And a few sinister secrets I'd rather not spoil. But I will make you one promise: You’ve never read anything quite like The Replacement before.

If you’re looking for a book to take you somewhere new, The Replacement will do it. Just make sure you pack a good flashlight. It's awfully dark down there.

Check out Brenna's blog here.

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