Books Review

Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

September 24, 2010
Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret – he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants.

A month ago, Mackie might have told them to buzz off. But now, with a budding relationship with tough, wounded, beautiful Tate, Mackie has too much to lose. Will love finally make him worthy of the human world?

(Description taken from

I don’t read a whole lot of books that are considered part of the “horror” or “thriller” genre, but Brenna Yovanoff’s The Replacement was an exception. Ms. Yovanoff makes up one third of The Merry Sisters of Fate, which also includes Tessa Gratton and Maggie Stiefvater. The premise of The Replacement intrigued me and thanks to the lovely people at Penguin, I was able to read an advanced reader copy of the novel.

I’m a casual lurker on The Merry Sisters of Fate’s site, so I wasn’t too familiar with Brenna Yovanoff’s writing and went into The Replacement without any preconceived notions as to how she writes. What I found were descriptions that are raw and engaging for all the senses, characters who are well developed, and a setting that is so vividly dark and creepy that I’m kind of afraid of the dark now. 🙂 The pacing of the novel is also well done and the story moves along fluidly and evenly, never once allowing the reader to lose interest.

Mackie, the main character, is a great narrator. Even though he is a “replacement” and not quite human, he is extremely relatable. His feelings of loneliness and displacement feel real and I never found him to be whiny or unbelievable. I think many readers will identify with his personal struggles of fitting in and trying to blend in with the crowd. I do wish there was more interactions between Mackie and his parents because I would have liked to see the dynamics between the three of them. They’re hinted at, but not fully explored. Mackie’s relationship with his sister, Emma, however, is wonderfully illustrated.

The supporting characters are also well developed, especially Emma and Mackie’s best friend, Roswell. Emma and Roswell would do anything for Mackie and show him nothing but understanding and love. Some of the best scenes in the novel are between the three of them, which give the story a softer, more lighter edge to its otherwise dark tone.

My only other complaint would be that I was often confused, mostly by the actions/history of the other “replacements”. I didn’t understand where their actions were coming from or how they really even came to be. Overall though, I really enjoyed The Replacement and can’t wait to see what else Brenna Yovanoff has in store for all of us. This is a deliciously creepy story that will take readers into a mysterious and almost sinister world full of lively characters and supernatural happenings.

Please visit Brenna Yovanoff’s WEBSITE and BLOG for more information about herself and her writing!

(cover image taken from Barnes and Noble’s website)

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