Lea's Reviews > The Replacement

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
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So to put it simply, I was not a fan of this book.

Like, at all.

Actually, I kind of hated it.

I'm really not sure what I was expecting it to be, but I definitely wasn't thinking it would be a lame high school drama mixed with painfully dull characters and even more painfully boring and lackluster writing. I guess the cover is what attracted me to read this book in the first place, but honestly, great packaging and poor content does not equal a good book.

First, there were the thoroughly unlikable characters: Tate was an angry stalker full of contempt towards Mackie, Roswell was a total perv who treated women like pieces of meat, Mackie's parents were typical and stereotyped and completely unwilling to do anything useful, and everyone else was easily forgettable.

I didn't like these characters, therefore I didn't care what happened to them.

Then there was Mackie Doyle, the "tortured soul" main character. Usually I love reading from a guy's point of view (Ship Breaker, Leviathan-- amazing.) but I could not connect with him at all.

All Mackie seemed to do was

a.) be pale and emo

b.) get nauseous or faint every time he was around metal or blood or loud noises or strong smells or slight air currents

c.) lust after Alice the slutty hot girl in school, or

d.) talk about how incredibly fake everyone is in town.

It got old very quickly. I have a difficult time sympathizing with a character who does nothing but whine and complain all the time, even if it's for a legitimate reason. In the end, Mackie was just a male version of Bella Swan-- empty, dull, bland, vapid-- and I couldn't bring myself to care about what happened to him either.

Speaking of tortured, the writing was just awful. It was serious work just trying to slog through each chapter. To give you some idea of what I'm talking about, imagine reading something like this for 340 pages, and you'll get the picture very quickly:

"I yanked off my T-shirt and pulled the shades down. Then I lay down with my face to the wall and pulled the covers over my head. I woke up with a jolt. It was dark. My phone was buzzing on my bedside table, and I rolled over.... I wanted to go to sleep. The phone just kept buzzing."

Soooo... have you fallen asleep yet? I don't know, but for me, this kind of writing is incredibly bland and formulaic: I woke up and did a. It was b and c. Then I did d. I felt e. Then... blah, blah,blah. I just can't stay focused on writing like this! It's almost as exciting as watching paint dry.

And then...

how about character dialogues like this?

"Come on, you don't want to miss this. 'Tis the season for girls to dress like hookers. We'll catch up with the twins, get a little socially lubricated. I have this feeling that Alice is particularly looking forward to your company."

Are you kidding me?

First off Brenna, nobody talks like this. In my 4 years of high school and 6 years of college, I've not once heard anyone use the term "socially lubricated."

Second of all, no one is going to like characters who either are hookers or who label girls as being hookers or obsess over girls because they dress like hookers. Maybe people do this, but that doesn't make me want to read about them, and it sure doesn't lead me to care about what happens to them.

Furthermore, I would not recommend a book that makes women out to be hoes or treats sex so casually. I'm not being unrealistic or a prude-- I just find it to be completely unnecessary when it has nothing to do with the plot or the characterization. If you have an awesome story and brilliant writing, you don't need to waste your time or the reader's with cheap add-ins about getting trashed and banging the popular girls at school.

Another aspect of the writing that drove me crazy were all of the contradicting statements. I'm guessing they were intentional, but I didn't understand the point of them, except to make me really confused:

"She looked strange and fantastical and startling and normal." (How do you look strange and normal at the same time?)

"...when I glanced in the mirror again, I recognized myself, and I didn't."(So... did you or didn't you?)

"As soon as I reached the bottom of the ravine, I felt desperately relieved. And much, much worse." (Umm... relief means alleviation and the removal of pain, so... how would you feel worse if you were relieved??)

Finally, I hate obvious plot holes-- even little ones. I consider myself to be a halfway intelligent person, and I don't appreciate books that try to breeze over contradictions like I'm too stupid to notice. So, if I'm reading along and something clearly makes no logical sense based on what the author has already laid out, it drives me right up the wall. For example:

Mackie is supposed to act like a "normal kid" and not get noticed. Yet some days he has completely black eyes-- don't you think that someone would maybe, just maybe, notice something that freaky?

Mackie is hypersensitive to loud noises, like doors that close too fast-- and yet he can go to heavy metal rock concerts with mosh pits and be just fine. WHAT??

So, Mackie can drink beer out of a can, huh?? I thought he was deathly allergic to metal in any form.

Every seven years the town gives one of their children to the underworld demon-creatures and they, in turn, make the town "prosper." So I was picturing something like out of the Stepford Wives-- beautiful mansions, manicured lawns, everything perfect to cover-up something ugly. But not once is the town described as perfect or prospering-- in fact, it's run-down and poor. So I don't get it-- what was the point of sacrificing a kid every seven years???

And on a completely different note, WHAT was UP with the rock concerts? The Morigan and her crew had to put on heavy metal rock concerts.... to appease the people of Gentry.... so that... they would still sacrifice their babies??


I am so confused about that part. ALSO, Brenna-- I am sorry-- but I had NO CLUE what bands you were talking about, besides maybe Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson-- who I don't listen to, and have zero interest in. What the heck was this about anyways? And then after that,it's never mentioned in the book again.

If you have any idea what was going on during this part, where Mackie was playing his bass guitar along with the other demon-people, PLEASE let me know, because I am totally LOST.

I will end by just saying that this book wasn't for me. That doesn't mean it isn't for anyone, but I personally disliked it to no end. The writing was stale and stilted, the characters were completely unlikable, the dialogue was fake and cheesy, and the premise-- while intriguing-- was never able to reach its full potential. I did finish this book, trying to give it a chance, but in the end, there really was nothing about this book that I liked.

Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland
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Reading Progress

07/14 page 23
07/17 page 243
71.0% "Ugh. Please let this book end soon lol."
04/14 marked as: read
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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-12 of 12) </span> <span class="smallText">(12 new)</span>

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message 1: by Lea (new) - rated it 1 star

Lea Also, I only just got this after reading other people's reviews-- so apparently Mackie and the people from the House of Mayhem are dark fairies, more specifically, from The Sidhe,an ancient supernatural race with Irish origins who live underground. Huh. I guess I was too stupid to realize this, but to my credit, I would like to point out that NOT ONCE did Brenna state clearly WHO or WHAT Mackie, The Morrigan, and the House of Mayhem actually WERE. I guess we were just supposed to know. MY BAD.

Cathryn Okay, I'll be upfront now and say that though I don't think you're "too stupid to realize" where the mythology was coming from, I believe the author was going along with the idea that if there was something you didn't know, you could've looked it up online. I don't have internet at home, but I managed to look up a few of the songs she mentioned that I didn't recognize.

Also, several things might have pointed you toward the faerie (I will not say "dark fairies," because short of modern sugarcoating, there is no such thing) aspect of the myth: the exchange of babies, the 7 year cycle of sacrifice on Halloween, the iron allergy, the thing about the hawthorn elixir, the name The Morrigan, and the fact that they used to sacrifice warriors to her.

I actually can also answer a few of your points here.

About the beer can - drink cans are made from aluminum, which is an element (meaning no other metal goes into making it like, say, bronze, which is copper and tin, I think). Mythically, iron was considered a pure metal which repelled magic, so the Fair Folk were allergic to it (except for royals in some legends). Other metals weren't a problem. So anything made of steel is an issue (like Alice's tongue piercing), but things like aluminum cans - not a problem.

As for the "prosperity" thing that caused the town to sacrifice their kids - it is mentioned in the book more than once that no matter how bad the national economy gets, the town has never foundered. Considering a major city like Detroit just filed for bankruptcy, that's pretty good. A lot of times people mistake riches for prosperity. They're not the same thing.

I don't consider Tate a stalker. She knows Mackie is a replacement. If anyone has information on where her sister is and how to save her, it would be him. A lot of people in other stories would've resorted to serious violence against Mackie; I was surprised she didn't.

I'm not sure what you consider typical of Mackie's parents. I was actually very impressed with his mother, who could bring herself to love the abandoned faery child that was left in place of her own murdered son.

As for Roswell...*sigh* He can be a bit of perv, yes. However, I knew a lot of boys in high school who made comments like that, and could be kind of jerks in day-to-day life, but you could always count on them to back you up in a fight. Which Roswell does. You never actually see Roswell WITH a girl, just talking about them.

As for "socially lubricated," I'm not sure what people you were hanging out with in high school, but I wasn't exactly queen of the nerds and I had friends who talked like that. Not all of them, but some.

Mackie doesn't have black eyes some days. He has them all the time. It marks him as a replacement.

He isn't hypersensitive to loud noises - he has acute hearing. That doesn't bother him, but he's trying to fit in with the humans. Imagine Clark Kent trying to pretend he doesn't hear the person yelling for help the next street over.

You know, these things are subtle, so it's not surprising you missed them. That's not an issue. And also, spare writing isn't everyone's cup of tea. I had that problem at first with books like Divergent and Matched and Delirium, where I first ran into it. So that's not a big deal. I'm just answering some of your points that were based on erroneous information.

However. You asked about the concern with Mackie on stage. I don't really know what was hard to figure out about that. You want to know what was happening? First, let's clear up a misconception. The House of Mayhem has nothing to do with the sacrifices. That's the House of Mystery/Misery. The band Rasputin Sings the Blues is from the House of Mayhem. Their whole schtick is love. Mystery's schtick is blood.

So. The concert. Have you never had music speak to you in such a way that it literally felt like your body had been blown away and all that was left was your soul? Raw, open, vulnerable, but it didn't matter because the music swept around you like a coccoon of sorrow and joy all at the same time? And it's like the bass is your heartbeat and the melody sings in your head and you've never felt so out of control and yet anchored to the world all at once?

If you haven't, you're not going to understand what happened at the concert. Because that's what happened. The music spoke to the audience on a fundamental level and then raised them to an emotional high that Mackie and the band couldn't maintain. So Carlina did one last song to ease them down off the high and they ended the concert.

Does that help at all?

Cathryn When I say there's no such thing as dark fairies, btw, what I mean is that ALL fairies are dark. There aren't really any good ones.

Bookworm(obviously) Well I was kind of skeptical of reading this book because it looks to... dramatic for me but wow after reading this u made me laugh and not want to read this

Cathryn Bookworm(obviously) wrote: "Well I was kind of skeptical of reading this book because it looks to... dramatic for me but wow after reading this u made me laugh and not want to read this"

I'm curious if you read anyone else's reviews...

Kari I could not agree with this review MORE, which is sad to me because I really did have high hopes for it!

message 7: by April (new)

April You just saved hours of my life with this review, thank you.

message 8: by Avynne (new)

Avynne I love you Cathryn.

message 9: by Tarl (new) - added it

Tarl I have made it one chapter into the book, and so far most of what you have pointed out seems to be bang on. Many of your comments are in line with the top negative review on Amazon, so it's good to see that things are matching up. Wishing I had read this review before purchasing this book, but it's too late now. Time to see if the rest is as bad as the first chapter...

Beth (BibliophileBeth) I completely agree with everything you've written this book was so bad it was almost funny, I especially loved the ending "they both ran on pain and blood and fear and death and joy and music" that is amazing literature right there.

message 11: by Nohely (new)

Nohely I couldn't finish this book. I found Tate so irritating and I couldn't care less about Mackie.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I absolutely adore your comment, Cathryn.

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