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My youngest niece is pushing 3, and I’m happy to report it looks like the horror genre has another young fan. The other day she’s playing with my sister’s tablet, pulls up Netflix and start’s watching a movie. My sister assume’s it’s a kids’ movie because she’s giggling and I’m just amazed an almost 3-year-old is more technologically intuitive than I. A few minutes in she starts screaming and we realize she was actually watching Child’s Play. She refused to let us turn it off and later starts sawing at my arm with a toy shovel. Here’s how it went:

Me: Are you trying to take my arm off?

3 yr old: Yes.

Me: Like in that move?

3 yr old: Yeeesss.

Me: You know that would hurt me, right, if it were real?

3 yr old: Yeeessss!!!

Here’s the little lady looking happily scared:

happily scared little niece

happily scared little niece

A love for the frightful runs in the family. First the cover for Brenna Yovanoff’s The Replacement drew me in. It’s evocative and fog is almost always irresistible, especially when it’s accompanied with a messed up faery changeling premise. Plus, this is the kind of book that feels good in your hands and it’s not just because the cover is shiny. Though it came out in 2010, I only recently heard about it.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Told in first person through Mackie Doyle’s point of view, this story has a somber tone that wheels you in with its bleak mystique. Almost right away we learn the Mackie is more than a pale teen with black eyes who came into his family’s life a baby with a full set of teeth. He’s a replacement for their real baby boy, but that’s not something anyone in town is willing to talk about. Not until his classmate Tate’s sister is taken, too, in exactly the same way the real young Mackie Doyle once was.

You don’t really know what Mackie is (a weakness to iron in a world full of iron renders him too sick to be a monster), but you like him at first. You want him to get the girl he really likes even though that girl is clearly too angry about her taken sister for romance. What’s worse for Mackie is that Tate seems to know he’s the only one who can give her answers.

We have mystery, young romance, and creepy living dead girls who think nothing of crashing a Halloween party to chat with him. The first half of the book is cohesive – the old coal town and rainy weather is a perfect setting for this depressingly meek town. Then we hit a few information dumps as Mackie learns about what he is and the silliness of what he has to do to keep the good monsters healthy and the town just content enough to turn their heads on what the bad monsters do every few years.

The first half could have been a great, messy novella. The second half crashes in explainistan and that’s probably why I dragged through the last hundred pages. For me this story fell flat at the mid-point and never recovered. Now I have to put it away because the little lady is eyeing it for story time.

For positive reviews, check out Respiring Thoughts and There’s A Book.

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