The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Replacement was a completely eerie, dark and spellbindingly brilliant take on the Faery world. So not what I was expecting yet it held me captivated from word one.
The Replacement tells the story of 15 year old Mackie, an oddity in his home town of Gentry. Pretty much known as the boy who never says anything even when spoken to. A junior in high school with a small but loyal group of friends among them, Roswell who is somehow wise beyond his years and despite his popularity and easy going ways has chosen Mackie as a close friend.
Mackie’s family is close knit and protective of Mackie yet despite their closeness there are things they just don’t speak of; things like why Mackie can’t go into the church where his pastor father gives sermon and presides over his parishioners, why Mackie is sickly especially when around certain metals and why does Mackie have such pale, pale skin and almost black eyes? Mackie’s sister Emma is and has always been fiercely protective of him. She’ll do almost anything to keep her brother alive, no matter the cost to herself.
There is definitely an underlying strangeness to Gentry that nobody really talks about. The dying children, the sickly children and what’s up with the slag heap? Those that live in Gentry have lived there most of their lives as have the generations leading before them. They seem to prosper despite the economic decline and it’s been that way as far back as anyone can remember.
When a school friend’s 3 year old sister dies and she insists it wasn’t HER sister in that casket, Mackie starts to question his identity. He meets Luther, the bassist of one of the local bands who is odd and strange—a bit like Mackie himself, and he tells Mackie that he, himself, will die if he doesn’t visit the slag heap. This is where the story starts to really spin its tale.
Throughout the story, Mackie discovers more about his identity, the value of love, sacrifice and how to feel and express emotion; something he’s never quite been able to do.
Summary: This is a creepy, eerie and fascinating story. It really touched me in some places; it intertwines reality with this strange folklore and makes it believable. The story flows from chapter to chapter so fluidly and the characters are genuine and likeable. There’s a passage that I found so true and so brilliant: “Intention is one of the most powerful forces there is. What you mean when you do a thing will always determine the outcome. The law creates the world.” So true.