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.
On the front cover, a quote from Maggie Stiefvater reads, "I loved this eerie and beautiful story of ugly things." I could not agree more. This was such a unique story about an ugly boy who didn't belong with humans and came from another race entirely. There were so many intriguing things about this whole world.
The problem — I wanted to know more. I was saddened to learn that I wouldn't find out why the superstition that scissors above a baby bassinet would keep that child safe was true. I wanted to know more about the underbelly of Gentry, and how exactly the town worked. I wanted to know much more backstory than was given. But I suppose that was part of the whole mystery of the story. The unknown was what Gentry thrived on anyway, but I was so mad to learn that more of its history was never explained.
Mackie himself was an interesting character. He wasn't particularly likeable, but he wasn't unlikeable. He angered me that he assumed everyone hated him. I wanted to slap him and get him out of that mindset. It seemed like he was in the middle of a coming-of-age scenario, but the town was so weird and manipulated that it was a lot more intense than the path of normal teens. There was just so much about him that was left in an unknown abyss that I wanted to reach out and find somewhere.
The story moved along, too, but not in the compelling way that makes you sit on the edge of your seat, yearning to know more, and then appalled when you discover something ridiculous and awesome. This one never answered anything. I felt like more mysteries and histories kept developing, but I never got answers or backgrounds on anything that I was truly wanting more information on.
I wanted relationships to develop, I wanted to know why Mackie and his people were allergic to iron and blood. There were just so many tiny details that I feel would have made the story so much greater than it was. Though it was a lovely little tale of ugly things, I felt that the ugly was emphasized too much, and the why behind the ugly was not emphasized enough. I had such high hopes for this book. In a way, they were met. But I wanted the book to soar beyond my expectations. But I was just longing for more from the story, so it fell short.