“The Replacement” by Brenna Yovanoff
c.2010, Brilliance Audio
$24.99 / $30.99 Canada
9 CDs / about 10-1/2 hours
By Terri Schlichenmeyer, Philadelphia Tribune contributor
The last time you lost something, you thought you were seriously never going to hear the end of it.
First, you got some grief from your mother about how she can’t afford to keep buying new whatever-it-was-you-lost. Then your dad chimed in and gave you a lecture about blah responsibility blah. You might’ve even heard a grandparently grumble or two.
So you lost something. Things can be replaced.
But what about people? In the “The Replacement” by Brenna Yovanoff, a teenager finds out that his life is not what he thought it was.
One of Emma Doyle’s first memories was when she was four years old, peeking through the slats of her baby brother’s crib. Mostly, she remembered his black, black eyes and his sharp teeth as he tried to bite her.
Imagination? Maybe, but there was something different about sixteen-year-old Mackey Doyle.
Much as he longed to be just like every teenager in Gentry, that just wasn’t possible. Nobody else got violently sick at the smell of blood or iron. Other people could attend church or visit consecrated grounds, things Mackey couldn’t do. So when Natalie, the baby sibling of one of his classmates died, Mackey couldn’t go to the funeral.
Which was why he was surprised when Tate, the dead baby’s sister, told Mackey a secret: the “thing” that was buried in the coffin in the graveyard behind the church was not Natalie. It wasn’t even human, which was something Mackey was just beginning to understand.
Because, as he realized, neither was he.
Sick, maybe dying, Mackey hoped there might be some way to save himself and find Natalie. Emma tried to help, just like she’d tried to protect him ever since he was a baby, but her fix came with a price that Mackey wasn’t willing to pay.
Then, at a Halloween party where Living-Dead costumes weren’t costumes at all, he learned of a dark place known as the House of Mayhem.
There, some things look dead, some things are dead, and others will be soon.
So you say you like things dark and creepy — the darker and creepier, the better, right? Well, you’re in luck: “The Replacement” is dark as a dungeon and very, very crEEEEEpy.
But why, well, I can’t exactly put my cold, dead finger on it. Author Brenna Yovanoff presents quite a fine story about a changeling boy who learns that everything in Gentry is pretty rotten – literally – and that he can fix it, but it won’t be pleasant.
Or maybe it’s because of the performance by Kevin T. Collins, who brings Mackey to life (or would that be “death”?) and who does such a fine job on the mood and other characters that you’ll feel like you could visit them … if you dare ….
Be aware that there’s profanity in this audiobook, so you might want to think twice about sharing it with a younger brother or sister. But for you, if you love your books dark as a moonless night, “The Replacement” is one to lose yourself in.
Contact Terri Schlichenmeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.