Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: The Replacement

Synopsis: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. 

My Review:I finally bought it.  I finally dug my claws into it.  I finally finished it.  And I’m totally absolutely in love with it.  Love, love, love, love, LOVE.  It totally surpassed about every fae novel I’ve ever read.  That is saying something truly remarkable since I adore anything fae.  
Mackie is probably one of my all time favorite male MC’s.  Not because he was heroic or amazingly brave or witty.  I can’t even begin to describe him.  I think Lauren Kate put it best.  “Mackie Doyle is one of the sweetest, strangest, most magnetic heroes I’ve met in a long time.”  That pretty much says it all.  What I loved about Mackie was how awkward he was.  Not in a physical gangly way, but more socially than anything.  Mackie has always been told to not draw attention to himself.  To stay in the shadows, to never make people notice him, to never be normal.  Mackie has always kept to the shadows and the outskirts of life.  He’s quiet and soft spoken and yet he’s not timid by any means.  Just because he doesn’t often voice his opinion doesn’t mean he doesn’t have one.  Mackie wants nothing more than to be normal.  He wants to be able to touch a door handle without having a severe reaction.  He wants to walk onto hallowed ground without burning.  He wants to not faint if someone so much as gets a bloody noise.  He’s doesn’t despise what he is, he long ago accepted it, but he never stops wanting to be like everyone else.  Mackie is just a walking contradiction.  He’s a part of two very different worlds and yet he doesn’t belong in either.  In a way, Mackie ostracizes himself from others.  He cannot believe that he would ever be loved by others just for being himself.  He believes his parents love him out of obligation because he is their “son” even though his family knows that he is more than he seems.  For him it is almost inconceivable that anyone would simply like him for him, because in his mind he is not something worthy of love.  It’s heart wrenching and frustrating at the same time.  This almost sort of self loathing, yet it’s not to that degree.  I wanted to hug him and shake him at the same time.  I could probably ramble on and on about the utter complexity of his character this whole entire review but then I think you’d all just stop reading.  What it really comes down to with Mackie’s character, is that he believes in what is right.  He doesn’t take sides in the fae or human world, he simply does what he believes to be the right decision.  And more importantly, he acts on it.  To say that I adored him is rather an understatement.  I just want to be his BFF. 
The author is a genius.  Okay well I’m so ga-ga over this book right now I’ll be throwing praises left and right for a week, but truly I mean it.  One of the reasons this surpassed so many other fae books I’ve read, is because Brenna didn’t try to define them.  I refer to them as fae simply because it’s easier and more convenient.  Brenna truly captured the complexity and true uncontained nature of them.  In the book, Mackie asks someone like himself what they were, and he didn’t get an answer.  They are many things, but definable is not one of them.  I LOVED that.  They are like wisps of smoke, always twisting and turning and no name can ever define what they are.  They are as ancient as time itself and don’t conform to words like good or evil.  They simply are what they are.  The Morrigan is a little girl with rotting teeth and she holds court over the reanimated dead.  Is she evil? Are her intentions harmful? The saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ has never been more apt.  Mackie’s people are not good or evil, they just simply are and that’s what I truly loved about them. 
I also adored Tate.  She is quite possible the most kickass female love interest in the history of forever.  She was just so original I fell in love with her character almost immediately.  Tate doesn’t take bullshit from anyone and doesn’t sit back and blindly accept what is happening in Gentry.  She wants answers.  She wants her little sister back.  And she will have them.  She was in your face and always said what was on her mind.  One of the things I think I liked most was that she never apologized.  She’s comfortable with who she is and is never shy about it.  While her hot and cold attitude with Mackie was a bit confuzzling, in the end it’s clear she cares for him.  Another aspect I loved? The romance side.  It didn’t overpower the story one bit!  It only enhanced it and showed how Mackie grew from start to finish.  There were no proclamations of undying love or soulmates or other such nonsense (you all know my rants), but what made me love it all the more was that it was simply “I like you. A lot.” Ding, ding, ding, ding!  We have a winner!  *victory dance*  That right there is enough to make me shout praises 24/7.  It was REAL.  It wasn’t contrived and didn’t set out to be a romance story with a hint of a plotline.  I’m pretty sure Mackie is also the only one to say “I like you” as well.  If I remember correctly Tate doesn’t say it once.  There are no “I love you” or dramatic “I can’t live without you” moments.  It was just wonderful. Bravo!
And I just have to rave about Mackie a little bit more.  I thought for sure that Mackie was going to turn out to be some special fae, and have kickass powers or something.  Obviously I let my imagination run a bit wild.  But how events actually unfolded was just ten times better.  Mackie isn’t the dashing hero ready to challenge the Gods or anything quite so dramatic.  Things definitely don’t go according to plan.  He sucks at witty comebacks, doesn’t fight, and can’t out-think the villains.  He succeeds by simply being himself, and in the end that’s enough. 
Utter win.  Loved it, will probably be raving about it for a long while to come.  You. Need. To. Read. It. 


Unknown said...

Fantastic review! I just finished reading the book and I have pictured Mackie the way you have described all of him to be.