Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Summary on GoodReads.

The replacement reminded me of Wicked Lovely -- fairies living among us. But in The Replacement, these are ugly fairies, if fairies at all.

In truth, Mackie Doyle is a changeling, a baby left in a crib of a family to replace the human baby taken from such family. Since her sister Emma found him that night taking the place of the real Mackie on the crib, Emma and the Mackie become close.

Yes, Emma knows her brother is a replacement and she loves him nonetheless. Mackie is good looking but a woozy; he faints to the sight of blood, iron makes him sick, regular noise gives him headaches… and a lot of other normal things in town are deadly for him.

Mackie knows that he is not normal. What the heck, he knows he is unnatural and that is why that he does everything in his power to pass for a normal kid and not draw attention to himself and his odd health. Even if that means going completely mute in front of Tate, the girl he likes.

Mackie has friends who suspect that he is not quite normal either, but they don’t care. In fact, the whole town suspects that not only Mackie but some other habitants are unnatural but they choose to close on eye to the oddities and pretend that everything is normal.

Then, one day another child goes missing and, as expected, the town’s people go on pretending that nothing vile was at play. They mourn the lost child and that is that. It is only that this time the missing child is Tate’s little sister. So this time, Mackie has to do something…. Even if he prefers to stand aside and let life run its course.

I really like the way Yovanoff creates an eerie atmosphere within the town. I even love more the fact that these creatures mingle among regular humans but are not beautiful as fairies stories tend to be. And I also like that Mackie is pretty much allergic to everything but air and how his family deals to protect him from, say, a spoon.

The book felt hypnotic and I found myself totally lost in Mackie’s life. I like the originality of The Replacement and I’m even happier that is not a series. Also, the description of the underworld reminded of that movie Pan's Labyrinth.

What I didn’t like: Well, the relationship between Mackie and Tate seemed off. I just wasn’t feeling it. In fact, I don't think it was a relationship at all but an attraction. I also didn't like how Tate bit that ugly super powerful creature called The Cutter (is it the cutter? I don't have the book anymore). Anyway, every body is afraid of him but Tate, and she beats his ass like 2 + 2 = 4. And does he do anything about it? No. That whole fighting scene at the end of the book wasn't credible at all but, what the heck, changelings ain't real either, or are they?

Different views here and here.