Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Replacement


In this grim debut novel, the Doyles hide the terrible secret that 16-year-old Mackie is a changeling who was swapped for their real son when he was a baby. In their town of Gentry, there is an unspoken acknowledgment that a child is stolen every seven years in an uneasy bargain for the town's prosperity. Mackie's struggles to go unnoticed are made more difficult by his severe allergies to iron and other metal, his inability to set foot on consecrated ground such as his minister father's church, and his tendency to become severely ill around blood. Now he is dying. When a classmate's baby sister is abducted and a Replacement left in her place, Mackie is reluctantly drawn into the age-old rift between the Morrigan and the Lady, sisters who lead the two changeling clans who live underneath Gentry. Mackie agrees to help the Morrigan maintain the unwitting townspeople's goodwill in exchange for a drug he needs to survive. Meanwhile, he and his friends plot to rescue Tate's stolen sister from the Lady. - Amazon.com

This is one of the most unusual stories I've picked up since I started reading YA.  It was a lot darker than what I'm used to, but this didn't prevent me from enjoying the story.  The characters were very interesting, as was the basic idea of the story...that of children being taken and replacements put in their place.

I really liked Tate as a lead female character.  She was strong, smart, and tenacious.  She was determined to figure out what had happened to her sister and nothing was going to stop her.  I like this determination and felt her to be a really strong character that you could sympathize with.

Mackie was definitely an interesting character.  At first he seems kind of wimpy, but it seemed to me as if that was intentional.  I got the feeling that the author wanted the reader to find him that way.  He was so used to trying to hide so no one would guess his origins, which seems like a natural move for someone in his position to make.  So his initial timidity was pretty believable.  However, I really loved watching him grow and change.  He went through such a journey in this story, where he grew some strength and backbone.  I'm not sure if it would have happened if he hadn't met Tate and she had not challenged him as she did.  So these two characters played off of each other really well.

I would have liked to have seen a little bit more explanation regarding the origins of this town's strange stigma.  Where did the Lady come from?  Where did the others come from?  Why did they choose this town?  When did it all start?

Just a few questions I would have liked to see answered a bit more thoroughly.  All in all, this was a very good story, and although a lot darker than I usually read, I enjoyed it.

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