I was not disappointed with The Replacement, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled, either. It was nice to read a novel in the young adult genre that didn’t decide to become a trilogy near the end.
In the town of Gentry, something isn’t quite right. It comes in the way that the town seems to be decaying: rust and moss cover everything, and the citizens live their lives under a seemingly endless stream of rain. People turn their eyes from the charms and amulets hanging from windows and doors, pretending not to know that every family with a child under four has iron tied to the crib to prevent their child from being taken.
These precautions don’t always stop them.
A child, once healthy, loses its color and soon dies. It is not the first time that children have taken ill. People avert their gaze and murmur their condolences, ignoring the true problem: the family lost their child long before any death occurred.
Malcom “Mackie” Doyle is one of these changelings. Against all odds, he has survived the replacement where all others have died. For his whole life, Mackie has been told by his father to do all he can to avoid standing out. In a town like Gentry, standing out marks you, just as it marked another man years before Mackie came to Gentry. Unfortunately for Mackie, he hasn’t been as invisible as he’d hoped. For the girl whose sister was replaced, Mackie is her only link to the world she needs to rescue her from.
I’ve always enjoyed stories of the Fair Folk and The Replacement was a nice premise. I wish there had been a bit more on that aspect. I would have loved knowing more about how some of the Fair Folk became monsters and while others stood by and watched. Instead, I had to slog through pages and pages of Mackie’s teen-boy-angst. I understand that I am reading in the young adult genre, but I do get frustrated when authors feel the need to really ramp up the moping. I was more interested to see how Mackie adjusted to dealing with the clash of his heritage and how he had grown up. Not a lot of time was spent on that. The Replacement was weak in that aspect, which was disappointing, because that could have been its strongest point.
I’m wavering between giving The Replacement 3 stars and 2 stars because I did enjoy when Mackie was in the other realm. The author’s descriptions were ghastly and I wanted to stay there longer. Unfortunately, because too much time was spent on Mackie’s angst and general teen-boy woes (something that was amplified to an annoying point by the first-person point of view), I want to give to give it 2 stars. I guess I’ll settle for 2.5 stars and the disappointment that this could have been more if the author had cut about 100 pages of the boring stuff.