The Replaced continues shortly after the events of book one, The Taking, and contains Derting’s winning combination of loveable down-to-earth characters and action-oriented plot. Yes, this is a twinkie – a guilty pleasure of a YA title – but it is also an easy read with some fun plot twists at the end. But the lamentable decision to add a love triangle and amnesia as well as a bit of a slow slog through the middle mean this very much feels like a candidate for middle book syndrome. Not quite as good as the first but still very enjoyable.
Story: Kyra had let the aliens take Tyler, her father, and the NSA agent Truman. Now, with Simon, she hopes to find Tyler once he appears in the 48 hour Taken window. When clues begin to emerge as to both his whereabouts as well as her conspiracy theory father’s, She will stage an attack on an NSA base, join up with two other underground alien abduction groups, and discover there’s a lot more to her mysterious telekinetic powers and other abilities. For it appears the aliens are upping their research game.
A lot of the book feels like filler – with pointless actions and a lot of angst. Kyra is exploring her enhanced ‘gifts’ and discovering more about the nature of her abduction and the unusual amount of time she was abducted. With Taylor out of the picture, we have Simon falling into insta-luv and constantly trying to seduce her. Since the story has Kyra in love first with Austen, then with Tayler, and now she’s kissing Simon, it’s hard to take any of her romance situations seriously.
Much of the action in the story doesn’t further the plot or accomplish much beyond creating a second volume. There are some fun reveals at the end and all that action does make for an invested read. But at the end of the book, it does all feel a bit hollow.
What really works in The Replaced is Derting’s ability to create fun and likeable characters. Sure, the writing is simplistic but it is also accessible and engaging. Readers want to invest their time in Kyra, Simon, Taylor, and all the interesting side characters. Nor does Derting go for big ideas that too often fall into logic traps. She keeps the story tight and focuses on the interrelations.
The Replaced is the kind of book that makes for a great afternoon read but that you quickly forget by the next day. Often, that’s exactly what a person is looking for when choosing their next book. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.