Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Hardcover: 352 pages
Published: September 21, 2010
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Couple of things about this book; before I really get into my review. I found out about it sometime last summer through one of Maggie Stiefvater’s blog mediums, though which one escapes me at the minute. And after seeing the cover of it and how eerie it looked, was totally intrigued and knew right away that I’d want to read it. I don’t know about anyone else, but if you’re anything like me then the book covers definitely play a part in whether or not I’m drawn to the book or not. This is not always the case, but in some situations it is. Pretty cover usually equals pretty book for me, sometimes there’s the occasional dud but most of the time it’s pretty much a home run score.
So, with that being said, on with my thoughts and review of the book.
This book totally fills the criteria of a genre that I’m definitely no stranger to. I don’t know what it is about dark unseemly things that are meant to be ugly, distorted, and twisted that I find so fascinating and eerily beautiful, but I do and that’s what I am most usually drawn to disturbingly enough. This book and the story that Brenna Yovanoff had to tell, was no exception to that. One of the things that I enjoyed most about her writing style was the imagery and the attention to detail that she paid, in describing The House of Mayhem and the spooky town of Gentry and all of the people and ugly things that were sort of beautiful in their own grotesque way.
So far, it’s a stand-alone novel and maybe it’s best if it stays that way.
Things I enjoyed about the story itself being told were the main character Mackie and the fact that he wants to be nothing more than normal, which is quite the opposite of what he actually is. I also enjoy the fact that Emma, his sister, loves him for who he is and not necessarily what he is, and that Roswell comes across as a very understanding and supportive friend that he can count on. All I know, is he’s someone that I wouldn’t mind having in my corner.
Thing is, Mackie is the furthest from normal that you can get. He’s not human, but it’s not exactly said what he is, except that he’s a replacement. His sister’s love for him, is what kept him alive this long given that he has allergies (shall we say) to blood, iron, and consecrated ground. He has to be very careful not to draw attention to himself, for when one draws attention bad things start to happen. Perhaps, bad things were already happening beneath their feet, to begin with.
Giving something a name, means giving it meaning – acknowledging that it exists. It gives it power. The Lady, the Cutter, the Morrigan – they have names. They have power, albeit different types, but power just the same and you will see them exercise them throughout the story being told. One thing I enjoyed was the character of Carlina Carlyle who talks about what people have called them through the years and why she doesn’t actually say what they are specifically, just that they are. Like the little pink girl with the magic wand, I got the feeling that maybe she was supposed to represent the fae people but the book never really put a name to it and it was a new way of looking at the sort of the same story being told.
The character's that come out of the House of Mayhem just may very well be some of the most colorful, unique, and favorite character's ever among many. From the Morrigan to the little pink girl, to the dead girls, and Carlina Carlyle it was all so interesting. The history and the mythology there, the fact that there was a whole world that lay beneath the town of Gentry in the Slag Heap.
Strange how sometimes something so ugly can come across so beautiful in ways that you couldn't begin to imagine, something that takes on a life of their own. It's not exactly that these beings were evil and ugly; so much as they were just different and creepy and had their own agenda's and reasoning’s behind their actions. They were very well portrayed in everything they did or said. Nothing was without meaning.
The only drawback for me as far as this book goes, was the pacing of the first half of it. For me, personally, it started off pretty slow and didn't seem to really pick up and gain momentum until about half way into the story itself. I can definitely say that there were a couple of instances where I got a bit frustrated and wanted to hurl it across the room. But, I’m really sort of glad that I didn’t, because I wanted to finish this book because I truly felt like it had potential and the back half of it just did not disappoint. The rich storytelling and the creative imagery that she wove into it, has made me enjoy this book in ways that I hadn't imagined I would.
And I have no doubts that I will re-visit it at some point, later on.