Mackie Doyle is not Mackie Doyle. He’s a replacement. Left in exchange for the real Mackie Doyle sixteen years ago, he’s lived with humans his whole life knowing he was different, but not fully knowing why. All he knows is that the mere presence of iron makes him deathly ill and he can’t go onto consecrated ground, but no one is willing to talk about what he really is. When another child is taken and Mackie finds himself becoming friends with the child’s sister Mackie decides to go with her into an underworld known as Mayhem and face the creatures that left him in the first place and his own destiny.
This is a confidently written first novel from Yovanoff. It’s got well developed characters an unusual plot, and great descriptive language. It draws very well from the darker of Irish folk tales and keeps things gross and ghoulish like the classic Grimm fairy tales that usually ended with children dying horribly for misbehaving. If you like heroic journeys with lots of strange creatures in fantastic lands then you should really like this one. It reminded me some of Goto’s Half World (YP FIC GOTO), which I also quite enjoyed.