Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.
It is a rare occassion for me when I can't finish a book. There have been very few books where I simply can't go on. More often than not, if I have a did not finish (DNF), it is because I'm just not in the mood for a particular genre and I will eventually go back and re-read a book when I'm in the right mood. In the case of The Replacement, I've been struggling through this book, according to my Goodreads updates, since October 19th. I read the first twenty-two chapters. However, I'm throwing in the towel. I've got too many other books to read and while there are some things I like about the book. I'm not going to be able to finish it.

Normally, if I have a DNF I don't review it, not because I don't want write a negative review, but because for the most part it's usually not the book's fault. It's usually my mood. However, I picked up The Replacement as part of my Debut Author Challenge so I felt the need to go ahead and post why this was a DNF for me.

I actually really liked the premise behind the novel. Changeling, faeries, creatures of the night, what have you that require a sacrifice from the local community every seven years in exchange for keeping the town generally happy and safe. Very pagan, very interesting. I think Yovanoff did a really good job of creating a creepy atmosphere. Her descriptions were very good and I definitely enjoyed the ambiance of the book.

What didn't work for me were the characters. I really felt no connection to any of the characters including our main character, Mackie Doyle. I kind of felt sorry for him, but only slightly so. I think his relationship with his sister, Emma, and his best friend, Roswell, could have been engaging. I wanted to know more about them. But, in the end, I just couldn't connect, I didn't feel ANYTHING toward the characters. I can't feel apathetic towards characters. Give me a character to love, or even hate but I have to feel something for the characters. I'm really bummed I didn't like this better because it had such potential!

If you're looking for a good creepy read, this may be just for you. If you're looking for a well written, character driven story. . .  you might want to pass.

Whew, now that I've let go and decided not to finish the book, I totally feel like a weight has been lifted. How do you all deal with books that aren't working for you? Do you tough it out? Do you move on? I'm kind of frustrated that I waited this long to give up on the book. I could have read at least two other books in the time I've been struggling through this one. Sigh.



Here are some other perspectives on the book:
Melissa (i swim for oceans)
Smash Attack Reads
Steph Su Reads
Supernatural Snark


  1. Thanks for linking my review! I understand your points, and I do appreciate your honesty. Not everyone loves the same books, you know? Either way, I really liked how fair you were :)

  2. That sucks but like you, if I can't feel anything for the characters- it's really easy for me to get sucked out of the story, each and every time.

  3. I had trouble connecting with the characters as well, I couldn't really find anything to grab onto to build a relationship with them, but I did enjoy the overall story. It's fun to see how everyone reacts to the same story:) Too bad this one wasn't for you, but I thought you wrote a really nice review explaining the whys of your reaction!

  4. Too bad that this book does not seem to have what it takes to make us devour it! I really like the storyline but definitely won't be reading it - thanks for the "warning"

  5. Awww, sorry about the DNF :( Those books are rare for me, but sometimes, it just doesn't work... and if it's going to affect my reading mojo, then I really prefer to put them down than tough if out.

    Not connecting with the characters is unfortunate. Sometimes, it's okay if the world is engaging enough, but it usually have to be really good to overcome it.

  6. @Melissa, You're welcome I wanted to link to some positive reviews of the book!

    @Wena, Yea, I just was NOT connecting to the characters. :(

    @Jenny, I really thought it was a good premise too! I just, I dunno, it didn't work for me.

    @Willa, Thanks for stopping by! You might give it a try, most other seemed to really enjoy it!

    @nath, I know I don't usually have very many DFN's either but I was struggling for well over a week with this book. I thought that was giving it a fair chance!

  7. Thanks for linking to my review. I do completely understand where you are coming from. This was an odd book all around. The underlying themes of Identity, Judgement, Us against Them, Unconditional Love, Inaction during Tragedy, etc kept me pushing through...

  8. I wasnt a fan of this book either. I did managed to finish it though and gave it 2/5


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