Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: January 2011
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Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie comes from a world of tunnels and black, murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattoed princess. He is a replacement - left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago when it was stolen away by the fey. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world. Mackie would give anything just to be normal, to live quietly amongst humans, practice his bass guitar and 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, where he must face down the dark creatures and find his rightful place - in our world, or theirs.
Unfortunately there isn’t a lot I can say about this book because I spent most of it bewildered and confused. The story line is weird (and not in a good way) and very disjointed. The story is told from Mackie’s point of view, a 16 year old boy who is “The Replacement” – i.e. he was swapped (by monsters of sorts) with a human baby and the human family have brought him up.
That much I get; that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is why no one in the town seems to acknowledge this (not even Mackie himself). Mackie is the only replacement ever to survive. Apparently this has been happening for centuries in Gentry (the small town where the story is based) and usually the replacement babies die within a few months. However, despite being mortally allergic to blood and metal, Mackie survived in the human world.
But for some reason no one seems to find this worthy of discussion. Everyone seems to know that Mackie isn’t one of them. They know children go missing every seven years around Halloween and are replaced with something horrible but it just isn’t talked about and I found this very frustrating.
So anyway, I spent the first half of the book contemplating whether to carry on reading. The good news is that the second half of the book is much much better than the first. A girl called Tate whose sister has recently been taken decides it’s time to stop ignoring what happens and confronts Mackie. This leads to Mackie finally discovering where he came from and finally – FINALLY getting me some answers and explanations and causing Mackie to actually discuss this taboo subject with friends and family. Now this part of the story was what saved it from being left unfinished. I did genuinely enjoy reading the chapters where Mackie goes to visit the monsters underground. The monsters themselves are eerie, disgusting and just a little bit twisted and I really loved reading about them. I just wish there had been more chapters like these.
The ending was, again, a bit disjointed; it was like the author tried to bring all the threads of the story together in one scene and tie them up nicely but for me unfortunately it just didn’t work. It felt rushed and not very well explained and just… a bit of a let-down. Considering the last few chapters seemed to have been getting better and leading to what felt like the beginnings of a climatic ending, when the ending actually appeared it was just flat. It came. It went. And I didn’t feel better for it.
I feel bad that I didn’t love this book because I so wanted to but unfortunately it just didn’t work for me.