Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
The Replacement
By Brenna Yovanoff

To Sum It Up:

Malcolm “Mackie” Doyle knows that he’s not like everyone else in the town of Gentry. Blood, stainless steel, and consecrated ground all make him sick, lately even more so than they have in the past. Mackie isn’t human, and the world where he really comes from is stranger than anything he could have imagined. It’s a world in which two supernatural sisters rule rival houses, and blood sacrifices are required to keep Gentry thriving. The sisters urge Mackie to return to his real home if he wants to survive, but it’s not a place he sees himself belonging to, either.


It’s official: Brenna Yovanoff is one of my favorite paranormal authors. Her worlds have this assuredness to them that makes them seem 100% possible. No matter what the premise of the book is, she makes it work completely.

I read Yovanoff’s novels in reverse order of publication, and of the three, I thought The Replacement had the oddest story. The protagonist, Mackie Doyle, learns that he’s a changeling and was left in the place of the real, and human, Malcolm Doyle as a baby. The more Mackie found out about the paranormal world he really came from, the more bizarre the story became. And I loved how creepy it was. There’s a whole population of strange, supernatural beings living underneath the town of Gentry, and they’re strange beings, indeed. I was a little freaked out by both the Morrigan and the Lady, sisters who head up rival factions called the House of Mayhem and the House of Misery, respectively. I was completely freaked out by the Cutter, a gentleman in the employ of the House of Misery who delights in using his lethal claws (hence his name). Imagine what must have gone through Mackie’s mind upon discovering that these are the types of folks he should feel at home amongst. Yeah—awkward, to say the least.

Two things that I really love about Yovanoff’s books, besides her brilliant prose, are how complex her main characters are and her portrayal of strong sibling bonds. Mackie has never truly fit in with the humans of Gentry, but he’s attached enough to them to be appalled by what his “kind” do with the human babies they take. Mackie is an oddity even among changelings because it’s the sickly ones who are swapped with the humans, and Mackie has survived longer than most. But then, he’s grown up loved by his human sister, Emma, who’s always known what he is and has loved him anyway. Mackie loves Emma, too, and their relationship reminded me a lot of Daphne and Obie from Yovanoff’s The Space Between, as well as Hannah and Ariel from Paper Valentine.

This is one of the weirdest books I’ve read, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. The Replacement is unique, imaginative, and, like Yovanoff’s other two novels, a standalone. Finding YA paranormal titles that aren’t rehashes of the same old subjects can sometimes pose a challenge, so if you’re seeking a read that’s quite different, I highly recommend trying The Replacement. Or The Space Between. Or Paper Valentine. Oh, just read all of them.

All in All:

Although there are elements of faerie lore here, like changelings, The Replacement is more its own special type of book, which made it all the more interesting to read. There’s no simple categorization for characters like the Cutter, whom I’m still severely creeped out by.


  1. I've yet to pick up a Yovanoff book, because I have heard mixed thoughts about her! However, it certainly sounds like she is a fabulous author that has a unique twist to her books.

    This one sounds super creepy and I will be looking to get my hands on one of her books soon!

    Lovely review! :-)

    1. I've loved all of her books, especially The Space Between. To me, they're so different from the other YA paranormal that's out there; I've never felt like I've heard the story too many times before while reading one of her novels. I hope you get to check them out soon, and I can't wait to hear what you think! :)

  2. I wanted to read this because of that creepy Victorian cover.

    I haven't been reading a lot of YA lately, for some reasons I can't get into it. Like I loved Cinder but when Scarlet came out, I can't focus on the story. Gah! I'm growing OLD!!!

    Lee, you're one of my blogger super friends. I do appreciate out twitter chats about DA & GoT. And THANKS for the head's up on The White Queen! I hope it'll be as epic as The Tudors (Henry Cavill!! EEEE!). I was biased to the Tudors before, Henry VIII's marriages alone will rival any Real Housewife's. But after reading The White Queen, I've grown a little fond of the Plantagenets... and I know you're team White Rose. I need to watch more shows with substance, I'm stuck at Bravo LOL

    1. Aww, I love our Twitter chats, too! The more I hear about The White Queen (and see pictures of Max Irons- mmmmm), the more I'm leaning toward signing up for a Starz subscription. Darn all of these premium channel TV shows, lol!

  3. I still haven't read any of Yovanoff's books but they are all on my TBR now thanks to your reviews :D I just love how original and imaginative her work sounds, not to mention how her characters seem to shine! Oh and I'm a BIG fan of weird! (in case that wasn't already obvious >.<) LOL Lovely review Lee!!

    1. I can't fangirl over her books enough! They're really standouts among all of the paranormal books out there: the characters, the writing, just everything. The Replacement is definitely weird, but in such a good way!

  4. Yay! This was my first Yovanoff, and right now it’s still my favorite (have to check out The Space Between). I loved the weirdness of the concept, and like you pointed out, the complexity and depth of the author’s characters always make the story a good one.

    1. Her characters are just so wonderfully complicated, and she's a fantastic paranormal storyteller. And The Space Between- ahhh. I love that book so much!


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