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A Reader of Fictions: In the Dark of the Night - Christopher Lloyd

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In the Dark of the Night - Christopher Lloyd

The Replacement

Brenna Yovanoff
Genre: fantasy, young adult
Pages: 343
ARC Acquired From: Penguin booth at ALA 2010

Brief Summary:
Mackie is not like the rest of the kids at his high school. In fact, Mackie is not really Mackie at all; he is the replacement put into Mackie's crib when Mackie was stolen away by the dark forces in the town. Most of the replacements do not survive, sickly to begin with and unlovable with their sharp teeth and black eyes. Mackie's sister Emma kept him alive with her love for him. He constantly has to guard the secret of his origins and do his best to hide his idiosyncracies, like the fact that metal, including the iron in blood, makes him sick and that his skin blisters if he enters consecrated ground. Even with his sister's love, Mackie's health is starting to get worse; he's dying. On top of that, he's falling for the sister of a stolen girl and the only way to win her heart and save her sister is to face the truth of what he is.

This was one of the books Penguin was really excited about and promoting like crazy at ALA, along with Eternal Ones, which I already reviewed. This book proved to be disappointing as well. The plot was certainly interesting, not one I have encountered before, although I think similar stories may exist. Yovanoff does manage to achieve a fairly gothic feel in some parts, although it is very difficult to make a high school party feel gothic, so it does not work perfectly everywhere.

As may have already become apparent, one of the things most important for me when reading a novel are the characters. I want them to feel real and have a good picture of them in my head. Good characters should feel, for example, like friends I will miss when the book is over or enemies I will love to hate all the way through. I know I make this complaint a lot, but the characters in The Replacement just did not make me feel anything. Character descriptions were somewhat sparse and other than Mackie, we get little idea of what the others are like beyond one or two qualities. And Mackie is hard to relate to, because Yovanoff wanted to make him feel unearthly, a bit unhuman, a bit disconnected. She achieves that, but it meant that I felt a bit bored all the way through. When the characters were in danger, I just didn't care, which I see as a bad thing.

Mackie falls in love with Tate or so we, the readers, are to believe. Honestly, when he first confessed, I was confused, because, approximately five pages before, he was just freaked out by her. If you want to have a romance in your book, you need to sell it, rather than just saying that they are in love now. Poof! Magic eternal love commenced!

I recommend this for gothic fans or Maggie Stiefvater fans. Stiefvater is apparently friends with the author and recommends the book highly, saying that she" loved this eerie and beautiful story of ugly things." There, a contrasting opinion to mine. I welcome differing opinions, because, really, that's what makes people so interesting, right?

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Blogger Kristi said...

Have this one on my TBR list but haven't heard too much about it yet. Thanks for the review!

September 23, 2010 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger BrendaC said...

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September 23, 2010 at 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I borrowed this one from my school library because it'd been promoted like crazy (as you said) by it's publishers and there was quite a lot of hype about it. Usually, I try to finish books even if I don't like them, but I found myself completely unable to connect to the characters and gave up about half-way. I agree, it's quite disappointing.

April 9, 2012 at 1:52 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I feel like it could have been really cool, but it didn't work out for me. I'll be trying The Curiosities which she had a hand in soon, and I hope I like it better.

April 9, 2012 at 7:37 AM  

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