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 char...moreIf 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.
I am a girl and I love fantasy and I love strong heroines. Do not ask me why it has taken me this long to read a Tamora Pierce book. Could it be that...moreI am a girl and I love fantasy and I love strong heroines. Do not ask me why it has taken me this long to read a Tamora Pierce book. Could it be that the first book of all of her series are mysteriously missing? (Seriously, this always flippin happens). But one day, I saw this and leapt on it before the magic fairies could whisk it away again (Not as seriously).
In the Tortall world, this is an odd place for me to start. Most of everything has already happened. Although, it wasn't impossible to catch up and keep the facts straight, it wasn't too easy either. And I kept feeling like I was missing something. Some of Pierce's characters from her other Tortall novels kept making cameo appearances, and I felt left out, like I should have been more enthusiastic. (The Lioness, woohoo!). I know how excited I get when Sarah Dessen leaves me with one of her little Easter eggs, so who knows how excited I would be if I had at least read the Alanna books first.
The writing was clunky and serviceable. Not gorgeous prose or elaborate descriptions here. Just phrases like "Nawat picked up his bow and went to patrol the perimeter." (This excerpt is not an excerpt at all, but a random sentence I just pulled out of my butt). It also seemed a tedious sometimes. Some paragraphs were more of a list than anything else. There is just so much information Pierce wants to share with her reader, but she doesn't always do it in an intrinsic, natural way. Even with the prologue-thing that set up the story, there were times when a situation would be created just for the purpose of info-dumping.
The politics were intriguing, but made my head spin. There was a multitude of characters, while mostly flat, they have potential, and I hope to delve more into their personalities with the following book. Also, the girly, romantic side of me wants more romance. More romance, please! And I am reallllllyyy looking forward to Aly's identity reveal. I kept looking for opportune moments in this book. I would imagine situations in my head where Aly reveals her identity to her charges, and was frustrated that it hasn't happened yet. I know I am a mega-dork. I know.
Overall, this will certainly not be the last Tamora Pierce book I read. A good fantasy for those looking to get out of a paranormal rut. (less)