Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Replacement

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.

Beth says 4 Stars...
Sometimes the mood strikes for a certain type of book and I recently found myself wanting something a little creepy.  This certainly fit the bill; just look at the cover.  I found parts of the plot quite surprising, though.  For instance, there was a fair bit of high school drama that ran throughout the novel.  Since Mackie is concerned with his place in both worlds that coexist in Gentry his identity plays a central role in the plot and the school bits play into that.  I didn't love that particular aspect of the book, because the creepy world underneath the slag heap was much more interesting than a high school party.  The contrast between the underground and general human world proved to be a major and well-written tension woven throughout the book.  I found the double standard acceptance of the paranormal in Gentry absolutely fascinating.  Although everyone pretends that things are completely normal, they still subscribe to old beliefs in secret.  It added a layer of depth and denial to the community.  Although it wasn't as fast paced as it could have been, there's plenty to keep you turning the pages.

I happen to be easily annoyed when it comes to protagonists struggling with their identity, especially if it manifests in typical high school ways.  While I understand how incredibly important Mackie coming to terms with where he belongs is to the book, it doesn't mean that I didn't find it a little irritating.  It could have been much worse because at least this time there was a reason.  The real stars of the book were the delightfully unsettling creatures.  They could perhaps be best characterized as faeries, but that distinction never gets used in the book.  They're all distinct and creepy, but in a very natural way.  They don't seem to be created for shock factor or to be different.  I don't want to give too much away, but the scenes involving the otherworldly denizens were some of my favorites.

This is a great read when you're in the mood for something dark, atmospheric, and more than a bit different.  I might not recommend reading it at night while home alone; it's best done in daylight.
book from library


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