This book is a very atypical paranormal romance, although from the summary it seems stereotypical. Arson Gable is a loner who lives with his psychoticThis book is a very atypical paranormal romance, although from the summary it seems stereotypical. Arson Gable is a loner who lives with his psychotic grandmother in a remote cabin in the woods. He has no friends, and his only interaction with other people is at his minimum-wage job at the local ice-cream shop. That's alright with Arson because he's a freak. Whenever he's angry, upset, or hurt, a fire starts in him, a fire that demands to be let out. Arson is used to being a loner, until a new family moves in nearby. Emery, the daughter of the new family, is a freak like him. She wears a mask due to cover up the scars from an accident in her childhood, and her parents, an alcoholic minister and a frustrated nurse, are always fighting and her family is falling apart. Slowly, Arson and Emery build a tumultuous friendship, as they can open up to each other in ways they haven't been able to to anyone else.
This book was unusual, and I didn't anticipate any of it. The POV, instead of focusing on one character, jumped from character to character. And it just didn't focus on Arson and Emery, but Arson's grandmother and Emery's parents had chapters dedicated to themselves too. It was interesting, as YA novels are usually superglued to the teenage perspective. The drama wasn't just based on teenage romance, but it included some heavier themes, such as aging, loss, failure, extramarital affairs, dissatisfaction, topics that were tackled from an adult perspective. I just wasn't expecting it in a YA novel, and if the writing was more cohesive, I would have really enjoyed it. But instead I felt the shifting perspectives were a tad disjointed and forced. I didn't know where the plot was going, and the characters were difficult to understand. I either disliked them, or had no positive feelings about them whatsoever.
I just didn't understand the purpose behind the novel. What was it trying to say, trying to do? Whatever it was, was odd and I didn't enjoy it. The novel didn't mesh with the last few page of the book, which was much more typical YA paranormal fare. Then the cliffhanger, what was that? I was just so confused. I have no idea where this series is going, and not in a good way.
In the end, the book was messy and I didn't enjoy it. I'm not sure if I'm reading the sequel. ...more
If I had to come up with one word for this book, it would be disjointed. I felt disjointed from the characters, disjointed from the plot, and the charIf I had to come up with one word for this book, it would be disjointed. I felt disjointed from the characters, disjointed from the plot, and the characters and plot felt disjointed from each other.
I just didn't understand it. It wasn't that the book was complicated, it just didn't work. I did not connect to Mackie, the main character, on any level, and I couldn't comprehend his actions. Same with the other characters. I just didn't know what was up with them. Their feelings were up and down, they knew some information, but were ignorant at the same time. The relationship between the town of Gentry and the underworld was shady and vague, so it was hard for me to understand the motivations behind the characters. Besides that, Mackie was unremarkable, maybe even unlikable. I'm not very much into emo guys.
I wish I got more out of this book than I did. The blurb on the front from Maggie Steifvater describes it as an "eerie and beautiful story of ugly things. It should be read aloud after dark, at a whisper." That is a lovely blurb, enough to entice me to read the book. If only the book itself had as much finesse as that single sentence. In the end, however, while I appreciate The Replacement's attempt at originality, I found it to be a muddled mess.