Target Audience: Teens/Young Adult
Having read quite a few books about changeling's, replacements and the Fae i was looking for something with a darker and creepier twist, and this book turned out to be very very creepy and extremelly dark and twisted at times.
Mackie Doyle is not actually human, but a replacement from the underground world of demons or Fae (among the many other names they are given throughout the novel). When he was a young child he was switched with the human Mackie Doyle and left in his cot as a changeling. Now grown up, Mackie is fully aware of what he is and is slowly dying from exposure to Iron, Steel and consecrated ground and realises that he probably wont last much longer.
But when Tate, a girl at his school, has her sister 'die' he becomes involved in the underground world of demons, blood sacrifice, a tiny sharp-toothed princess and a town wide conspiracy that has been going on for centuries.
Probably the most amazing thing about this book is the pace and the way it evolves. A lot of authors have trouble revealing the plot at a steady pace but not so slowly or quickly that it seems to drag or feel alternatively feel rushed. Brenna has no such issues with The Replacement, and she reveals important and juicy parts of the plot in such a way you can't help but turn the next page to find out what happens next. Miss Yovanoff deserves a round of applause for her skill in writing, she really does.
Content wise, there is a lot to get through. From the conspiracy and secrets of Gentry, to it's past, to the underground world of The Morrigan (who is awesome by the way) and the even darker world of The Lady (The Morrigan's evil sister), the action never stops and the plot links together perfectly, no matter which of these places you end up in as the reader.
I loved the Morrigan's underground world, with all the little dead people (no, i'm not morbid, i just found it intriguing) and i felt that there were valuable lessons to be learned about prejudice, discrimination and judgement in reading about the Morrigan and her people. Some of the people in her world were kind and so beautiful beneath the surface, it seemed a shame for them to be shunned and called demons.
With regards to characters i felt captivated by each and every one of them. Roswell made an amazing best friend for Mackie. He was understanding, accepting and very supportive and stood by him even though he new the truth of his birth. Mackie himself, made for a complex but clearly distressed and hurt young man, who struggles to find normality and find his place in the world. I think what makes this even more difficult is the little things that happen, such as accidentally touching a knife or touching canned food, which are all poisonous to him because of the iron in them. It's the ordinary every day things that other people take for granted that, ultimately, make Mackie's life strange and difficult.
Tate was another wonderful character to me. She was smart, strong and didn't bow down to the towns usual rules of keeping quiet and not saying anything, something which i admired in her. After all, it can be very hard to stand up for what you want and what you believe in when the world is against you, and she did this at a time when she was already dealing with so much. Her relationship with Mackie was beautiful, and i loved the a certain conversation between them when she tells Mackie that he's 'Normal enough', which is probably one of the nicest things anyone has ever told him.
My other favourite female in the book was Emma, Mackie's sister. There are no words to describe the amount of love and loyalty she showed towards Mackie, she truly was the perfect sister, willing to risk so much for her brother, despite the risks. There were some true emotional moments between those two, and one of the best portrayal i've seen of siblings in a long time.
I'll conclude my review by saying that i can't wait to see what Brenna writes next. She is clearly a talented and exceptional writer with a bright career ahead of her. Whether it's a sequel to this or a completely different story, i don't really mind. This really is an emotional, action packed, creepy and slightly gory debut novel. Many thanks for a really good read Miss Yovanoff!