Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff

This dark fantasy with horror elements offers unusual, well-developed characters and a tense, exciting plot. High school student Mackie is a changeling, a fairy child exchanged for a stolen human baby by the underground dwellers. He cannot stand on consecrated ground, the smell of blood and contact with iron cause him pain. Everyone in town knows it, yet they all pretend that nothing is wrong in order to preserve the unspoken agreement with the dwellers for the town’s prosperity – a baby is stolen and exchanged every seven years. Still, Mackie lives in fear that one day soon the community will turn on him.

Mackie is the quintessential outsider, leading an isolated life, except for his family and best friend, who love and accept him. When he realizes that he is dying, in order to survive, Mackie is drawn in the centuries old battle between the Morrigan and the Lady, the two sisters who lead the rival changeling clans.

Though grim, and even gruesome at times, the dark mood of the story is balanced by the relationships between the teen characters, the engaging narrative and the somewhat hopeful ending. 2010

A. Basso

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