The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

UK cover

The Replacement - Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie Doyle is the Replacement. 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 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 slowly dying in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass guitar or spend time with an oddly intriguing girl called 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.

The town of Gentry is one of the "lucky" ones - recessions seem to skip over the town, the people are healthy and some might say blessed. A blind eye is turned to the unusual happenings that occasionally occur. People hang protective charms over their children's cribs - steel scissors, horse shoes... you know, nothing unusual... when children change overnight, replaced with sickly changelings, it's accepted. When these ailing creatures die, they are buried on unconsecrated ground but it's not talked about... never discussed.

Except one of them didn't die. One was so loved he got healthier off of that love and grew to be a teenager. Always different, intolerant and allergic to steel and iron, unable to step foot in a churchyard without breaking out in sores, Mackie knows he is different, the whole town knows it. But still. Nobody talks about it.

I loved this Young Adult book. I love stories about mythology and I just wish I had found books like this when I was a teen. As a fan of The Brothers Grimm I would have gobbled this up and asked for more please. Dark and sinister, we are introduced to two worlds, that of the town of Gentry and that of the land beneath it; Mayhem. The inhabitants of both had their measure of likable and detestable characters. Mackie himself comes across as quite cold and unemotional but then you realise how confused he is, how divided about what he should be, what he wants to be and what he actually is.

In a strange kind of way this book reminded me a bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer - in that a gang of kids come together to fight the good fight. That 'demons' and humans go toe to toe in combat but in some cases strike up grudging admiration or even genuine friendships. The town was on the cusp of the gates to the underworld almost... I could really see this book being more than a stand alone novel and could also see how easily this world could become part of a TV series much like Buffy.

Some scenes in the book were quite graphically descriptive, my 14 year old, who bought the book for me, didn't look to sure when I enthusiastically thrust it at her to read when I finished. On reflection I don't actually think she would like it - she doesn't like gore of any kind and there were some possibly unsettling scenes in here - which, when you think about it, the themes dealt with are baby sacrifice, ancient beings demanding their subservient subjects to do their will or pay the cost... you have to enjoy a bit of mild horror as well as a love of mythology to get the most out of this book.

I recommend it - I will read it again and thoroughly enjoyed it :)

USA cover - isn't this one gorgeous?
The Replacement on Good Reads

Many thanks for stopping by :)


  1. OOh sounds good.. think I would like to read this.. thanks..

  2. It sounds good....and I really LOVE the US cover!

  3. Meeee Toooo!! I loved this one <3 It had that creepy vibe that I really enjoy sometimes. I found the story behind Mackies' mother, and sister was quite interesting as well :D I've already thrust this upon 3 teen-agers and they all agreed it was an incredible read. TY great review :D


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