Sometimes I pick up a book just for its cover. This was one of those times.
Summary from the inside jacket:
Mackie is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murkey 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 unconsecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world.
Mackie would give anything to live among us. He just wants to play bass guitar and find out more about an oddly intriguing girl named 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.
This is not my typical kind of read. I’m not a big fan of “horror” or “scary stories” and the like, but as I said, this twisted cover was too beautiful to ignore. The premise behind this cover is also rather interesting. Mackie is an intriguing character, and while he is not entirely human, his constant struggle to fit in, to feel as if he belongs, is one that I’m sure many readers can relate to.
My absolute favorite part about this book though, was Gentry. Yes, the town, the setting for the story. This book is proof of how a setting can become a character. Gentry is a living, breathing, beautiful thing. Yovanoff has crafted Gentry with such love and care that it comes to life on the pages effortlessly. Picture Halloween. Picture a raw fall day, when the ground is wet from rain and the leaves cling to black pavement. Picture mist dissipating, rising up from the earth and snaking through dark tree limbs. Got that in your head? Good. Now imagine that scene following you through the entire story. Everywhere Mackie goes, Gentry surrounds him. It follows him. It whispers to him. In the same way that supporting characters interact with Mackie, Gentry does as well. The town is always present, saying something through its weather or silence. It is creepy as hell, and downright fantastic.
There are also some interesting relationships drawn out in this book. Mackie has a very believable friendship with his best bud, Roswell, and an up-and-down relationship with the turbulent Tate. The world of Mayhem is also full of weird, quirky characters, and while suspending my belief so far as to accept this world beneath the slag heap proved difficult, it didn’t prohibit me from enjoying the book.
If eerie things can be beautiful, they live in this book. I think this is the “horror” book for people who don’t like horror. It’s not exactly scary, just weird. (I absolutely despise being scared, so rest assured this endorsement is coming from the biggest baby in the world). So if you’re a baby like me, but want to try something just a tad creepy, read this. And if for nothing else, read it for Gentry, because the town is phenomenal.