This is one of those books. You know, the kind you read because everyone's read(ing) it. I first heard about The Replacement last fall, and as reviews came in from fellow bloggers, I was surprised to see such a huge variation in reviews from adoring fanfare to snarky trash talk. A book that drew so wide a spectrum of opinions instantly became a book I had to read for myself.
Mackie Doyle is a replacement, or more specifically The Replacement. He is a changeling left in the crib of the real Malcolm Doyle and few are privy to the truth of his real nature. As a teenager Mackie struggles to appear normal while fighting against crippling allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground. However, when more children in the town of Gentry begin dying - or more accurately disappearing with changelings left to die in their stead - Mackie must decide how much he values protecting his identity. Straddling the worlds of human and fae, Mackie is in the unique position of belonging to both, or perhaps neither.So there you have it. I came out rather lukewarm on this one. I didn't adore it (as some did). Nor did I hate it (as others did). It's not the best book I've read this year, but there are definitely aspects of it that I enjoyed. Have you read The Replacement? Where on the spectrum of opinions did you fall? Do you ever read books just because they have a wide range of reviews?
Brenna Yovanoff creates an interesting story in The Replacement. Mackie was an intriguing narrator and I appreciated that this was a young adult work told from a male perspective. The plot was creative and I liked the premise of a grown-up changeling. That said, I partly wanted to see more glimpses into Mackie's life as a child. There are a few flashbacks to when he was first switched into the Doyle family, but I found myself quite curious to learn more about his early childhood and the details of how his family and friends came to accept him.
The world of the fair folk was another good - but not quite great - aspect of the novel. Mackie finds himself drawn into a rivalry between two fairy queens (though they are never named exactly as such) and he discovers truths about himself and the history of the town around him as he is pulled deeper into their world. The back-story and mythology of this hidden realm is touched-on and partially explained, but again, I found myself wanting to know more about the details and depth of Yovanoff's landscape.
In short, I would say that I liked but did not love this book. Many of the details of Mackie's life and world could have been developed and expanded to make the setting really come alive for the reader. The conclusion wrapped up the story nicely but came across as a little too simple, but overall, as a young adult novel, The Replacement was an entertaining story with a creative plot and a unique perspective.