Annalisa's Reviews > The Replacement

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
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's review
Nov 15, 2010

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bookshelves: horror, young-adult, cover
Read from November 15 to 17, 2010

2.5 stars

For a first novel, there are a lot of things about this book that excel. Yovanoff masters the ambiance. The dark, rainy days, the mysterious mythology of the town, the poetic writing, it all creates this creepy, unsettling feel that looms the entire story. The idea behind the novel is so original and creative that I was always wanting to flip pages to find out more. Not far into the book though, I started to get frustrated with the lack of answers. The plot takes way too long to develop. I didn't quite understand the monsters or why they were torturing the town, but all I was being given was high school drama or more creepy Gentry setting.

Despite my frustration, I had to keep reading. I haven't liked a character the way I did Mackie in a long time. For someone who's so ambivalent and aloof, he certainly is endearing and someone I would travel the world of Gentry all the way under the slag heap to meet the the slew of characters in the House of Mayhem. These not-quite-human characters were so original and vivid and brilliant, it will be a long time before they've faded from my brain. But unfortunately, instead of answering my questions, they only brought out more, and I never really got any satisfactory answers to my questions. Somethings were too convenient, some too far fetched, and others just weren't explained to my satisfaction.

In the end, I don't know that I bought the story. It's creepy and entertaining, but I didn't like the way Yovanoff chose to answer her set up. She had to have a reason why babies were being replaced with monsters from the House of Mayhem, but in my opinion she didn't come with a viable enough reason for the horror. For so much of the book I just wanted to know why, but once I did, I found myself arguing with the premise more than I should have. The book is well written, the characters strong, and the premise enticing, but I wasn't wowed by the story.
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