Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Recommendation: The Replacement

I’ve been spending the past few weeks catching up on schoolwork and reading, so my blogging has been minimal (read:  non-existent).  My TBR pile was out of control, mostly with library books way past their due date (library fines are my way of giving back to the community).  So for the next few weeks I’m going to talk about some of the books I’ve been reading.
First up: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

The Set Up:
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.
My Thoughts:
I liked this book, but it’s definitely one of those books I liked with reservation.  The story is cool, the build up around what’s going around with Gentry definitely gives a creepy vibe, and I’m a huge fan of stories that don’t necessarily rely on sparkles and flash to get the reader’s attention.  The writing was so solid that there were passages where I wished I'd written it.  I mean, this was seriously a book that pulled me along, and kept me reading even after I wanted to go to bed.  Mostly because I didn't want to turn out the lights :)
I really liked this book and the story, but I did have one eensy-weensy problem.  Mackie.
Ah, Mackie.
Poor Mackie is a conflicted character.  He lives in a world he doesn’t belong in, but has no clue how to fix his dilemma.  When Tate (by far my favorite character in the book) asks for his help to find her sister, he blows her off.  Repeatedly.  It’s understandable why he does it, he has his own secrets to protect, but it doesn’t really make him any more endearing.  I can handle a character who is just selfish or shallow, but Mackie isn’t.  He’s conflicted.  Unfortunately, through a lot of the story.   This inner conflict of his makes him seem wishy-washy and weak, instead of introspective.  I wanted to like him more, but he really ended up being one of my least favorite characters in the book.
Thank goodness for Tate.
For me, Tate carried the novel.  She’s determined and doesn’t take no for an answer.  She fights for her sister, and refuses to let anyone put her in a corner.  If it wasn’t for Tate, this book wouldn't have been a bust, but it wouldn't have kept me nearly as engaged as it did.  I liked Tate enough to put up with Mackie and his brooding.
In fact, this book sort of leaves things open for a sequel.  If that happens, I really hope we spend more time in Tate’s point of view.  She’s definitely a character I’d like to spend three hundred pages with.
So, if you like books that defy the traditional tropes out there, you’ll probably like this.  If you like strong, kickass girls, you’ll like this.
If brooding guys make you want to hit something, you should probably skip this.
Overall, though, I think this is a good read for a stormy night.


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