I read The Replacement back in 2011, and I liked it for a number of things it did differently from most of the YA dark fantasy I’d been reading at the time. The biggest thing that impressed me was how the town where the story took place was very much aware of the supernatural creatures living among them, and they chose not to talk about it for some very unsavory but (in my opinion) realistic reasons. So when I read the blurb for Fiendish, I said, “Oooh, it’s another town like in The Replacement.”
Well…no, not quite. There’s still that same premise that the town is in the loop, but instead of fae manipulating the locals to buy their silence, this is a town where the locals are afraid of magic users, who they call “crooked people.” When the story starts, Clementine DeVore is a child who is put in a basement and sealed away during a riot, and she is not found until she’s…sixteen, I think. (I’m not entirely clear on that point.) She’s found by another crooked person, Eric Fisher, and he takes her to the wrecked house of her aunt and cousin, Myloria and Shiny Blackwood. And throughout the rest of the story, Clementine slowly uncovers what a crappy place she lives in.
There’s a lot to like in this story, and the first is obviously the way everyone knows what’s going on. I get so tired of the “what are these monsters?” trope, especially with something that’s so obviously a part of our modern culture like vampires or zombies. Here, people know what witches and warlocks are, and they’ve done a halfway decent attempt to wipe out as many crooked people as they could to avert a cyclical magic disaster called the reckoning. Continue reading