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Doppelganger Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jun 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (1 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446616982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446616980
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.5 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,530,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Brennan's debut novel is served up with a dramatic edge. I can't wait for the next adventure (Kate Elliott)

Book Description

* A startlingly original fantasy novel written by a 19 year old

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By Detra Fitch TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 May 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When a witch is born, a doppelganger is created. The mother normally kills the doppelganger on the fifth night during a ritual. The witch cannot master her powers until the twin is dead. Everyone knows this. Everyone accepts this.

When Miryo became a full witch, she was unable to use her magic. She must search the world to find her doppelganger, that has somehow survived, and kill it. Until then, Miryo must resist using her powers or they will kill her. But with each hour that passes it gets harder to keep from using those powers. Soon Miryo will be unable to resist. Miryo has another problem plaguing her mind too. Since the doppelganger has lived twenty-five years, will it still be a shell without a soul? And if it does have a soul, can Miryo bring herself to kill her twin?

Mirage is a bounty hunter. She lives by her wits and lethal fighting skills. This mission she must work with another hunter, Eclipse. This is not too difficult since she knows him well and they have worked together before. But this mission is a rare one. To accept it, Mirage and Eclipse must give a blood oath. They either succeed in the mission or die. Their task is to find out who assassinated Tari-nakana, a witch that was high in her Fire Order. After killing the person who did the deed, they must also go after the one who ordered it done. Sounds simple, but nothing is simple when it involves witches.

**** Hard to believe that this is Marie Brennan's debut novel. The author has crafted a divine world of magic and warriors. She gives just enough information to make it real. This could easily evolve into a wonderful series. Recommended. ****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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By Book Addict TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Mar. 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In her 25th year and following life long study, Miryo faces her witches trial and passes; allowing the magic within her to finally flow freely. Yet despite passing and now formally recognised as a witch, Miryo has no control over her power and learns her slightest magic could prove devastating to both herself and those around her. It is during this time that a dark secret of the witches is revealed. At birth a witch baby become splintered; one twin containing the channel to access magic and the other viewed as a soulless doppelganger; killed shortly after it comes into existence during the fracturing. Now Miryo must find her surviving doppelganger; a thing of destruction and imbalance and kill it with her own hand before the untapped power within her consumes her.

Mirage is one of the best bounty hunters around. Despite her aversion to witches as she is often mistaken for one due to her red hair, she finds herself blood oathed by magic to find the assassin of a high ranking witch and the person behind the execution; should she fail, she dies. Yet during her investigation she learns that the assassination was an internal affair and to go public means facing the wrath of the Primes, the five most powerful witches alive.

Both Miryo and Mirage are great characters and MB certainly creates a great contrast between two people who are effectively the same person; showing how their lives have marked them in different ways. Although emphasis is placed on the fact that Mirage should die, I found myself preferring her to Miryo, yet in all fairness Miryo is kept at a distinct disadvantage throughout most of this book; lacking the fighting skills of her doppelganger and unable to safely cast the most simple of spells.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 35 reviews
51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new twist on the world of witches and magic.... 3 April 2006
By Deborah Wiley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Marie Brennan has created a new twist on the world of magic. Miryo is a young witch who goes through her testing to obtain her powers with magic only to find out that she can't use those powers until she kills her doppelganger. Apparently, all witches born are split in two at birth- one is the doppelganger and one is the witch. Generally, the doppelganger is killed at birth but because Miryo's doppelganger obtained a soul (by being exposed to starlight), her doppelganger can only be killed by Miryo herself. Miryo is therefore told that if she ever wants to use her magic (which now calls to her and is difficult to restrain from using), she must kill her doppelganger. Meanwhile, the doppelganger, Mirage, has become a Hunter and accepted a commission to find the murderer of the witch, Tari. Sha and her partner in the commission, Eclipse, become suspicious that other witches are behind Tari's death. Mirage and Miryo meet and both are unable mentally to kill the other so instead they begin searching for a way to set things right. The story is very complex but well worth reading. The glossary at the end is helpful with keeping up with the characters and the terminology of the world. It is particularly useful for understanding the structure and hierarchy of the witches in this world. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next in the series. Highly recommended!
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Beginning... 1 May 2006
By Detra Fitch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
When a witch is born, a doppelganger is created. The mother normally kills the doppelganger on the fifth night during a ritual. The witch cannot master her powers until the twin is dead. Everyone knows this. Everyone accepts this.

When Miryo became a full witch, she was unable to use her magic. She must search the world to find her doppelganger, that has somehow survived, and kill it. Until then, Miryo must resist using her powers or they will kill her. But with each hour that passes it gets harder to keep from using those powers. Soon Miryo will be unable to resist. Miryo has another problem plaguing her mind too. Since the doppelganger has lived twenty-five years, will it still be a shell without a soul? And if it does have a soul, can Miryo bring herself to kill her twin?

Mirage is a bounty hunter. She lives by her wits and lethal fighting skills. This mission she must work with another hunter, Eclipse. This is not too difficult since she knows him well and they have worked together before. But this mission is a rare one. To accept it, Mirage and Eclipse must give a blood oath. They either succeed in the mission or die. Their task is to find out who assassinated Tari-nakana, a witch that was high in her Fire Order. After killing the person who did the deed, they must also go after the one who ordered it done. Sounds simple, but nothing is simple when it involves witches.

**** Hard to believe that this is Marie Brennan's debut novel. The author has crafted a divine world of magic and warriors. She gives just enough information to make it real. This could easily evolve into a wonderful series. Recommended. ****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doppelgang-ed 22 Mar. 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I finished Doppelganger in just over a day. The last novel I devoured as voraciously was Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys.

This is a tight, exciting, tension-packed novel with pacing that forces a reader to plod ever onward. The cultures are well-formed, especially the witches and the Go Rin No Sho-style 5-elemental cosmology, along with other Japanese-influenced cultural bits like the many honorifics, which sent me into pleasantly twitchy flashbacks of my Japanese classes in high school.

The magic is evocative and complex without being overinvolved, weaving the elemental cosmology in with song. Magic's cosmological implications play an important part in the novel, to satisfying effects.

The fight scenes rock all over the place. The fights are exciting, clear, and most of all, I can easily visualize them in my mind. Some novels, the fights come up in my mind's eye as an abstraction, whereas in Doppelganger, I could go shot-to-shot in my imagination.

My only regret is that Warrior and Witch (the sequel) doesn't come out for another half-a-year.

Marie Brennan is well on her way to becoming a name in the fantasy genre.

So, if you haven't already, go and find yourself a copy.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Debut 18 Aug. 2006
By Jim C. Hines - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In brief: This is a good book. An original world, interesting protagonists, a fun story, and a satisfying conclusion.

The book jumps back and forth between two points of view. Miryo is a young witch who must kill her doppelganger before she can control her own magic. Mirage is the doppelganger, a particularly gifted warrior and Hunter. Both characters are strong, independent, determined, and likable. Naturally, Miryo's mission to kill her double soon becomes far more complicated and messier than expected, drawing them into the middle of a conspiracy with the potential to destroy them both.

The doppelganger issue originally made me stumble a little. When a witch is born, a spell is cast to help her channel her magic, and to block that channel until she's ready. The side effect is a doppelganger, who must be killed if the witch is to survive and come into her power. To me, it felt a little forced. It's a wonderful setup for the novel, but I never understood why the doppelganger was a natural side effect of the magic, for instance. And for me, the ritual murder of infants is too drastic a thing to be glossed over by saying the infants don't have souls until they're five days old, so it's not really murder.

The story gets stronger as it goes. I like the relationship between Miryo and Mirage. In many ways, they truly are the same person, and it's fun to watch Brennan explore their similarities and differences, and the connection between them. They complement one another, and the book reflects that; the parts where the characters come together really do feel more complete than the earlier chapters.

Bonus points to Brennan for avoiding the typical medieval European fantasyland world. This is a world of Brennan's own creation, but its roots appear to be more Eastern in origin, which is refreshing. Yes, we have swords and magic and horses and witchcraft. But while some aspects were familiar, the book doesn't feel like something I've read a thousand times before. Brennan also incorporates religion and prayer into the story, not in an evangelistic, preachy way, but as a natural part of the world and the characters. Fantasy and SF sometimes tends to ignore or simplify religion, but Brennan presents a rich, honest faith, and shows both the good and the evil that can come of it.

The book includes a short preview of the sequel, Warrior and Witch. I rarely glance at these excerpts, but in this case, I immediately read it and wanted more. Happily, Warrior and Witch will be out in less than two months. Sooner would be better, but I suppose I can wait that long.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Promising Beginning 11 Oct. 2006
By D. Kent Camp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel takes an ancient concept, that there are five elements not four, and uses it for the basis of an original magic system. This concept is from several ancient cultures, all of whom agreed on what the first four elements were, but varied in what constitutes the fifth element. Marie Brennan choses the Void, or that which negates the other elements, as the fifth element in this book.

The original part of the concept is the creation of a Doppelganger 5 days after the birth of a magic child, always a girl for reasons explained at the end of the book. This is a splitting of the baby into two separate bodies, one with the ability to perform magic of the four traditional elements, and the other without the ability to perform magic but holding the control of the fifth element, the void. This seems to be done so that the magic channel can be blocked until the child is old enough and trained enough to handle it. If the fifth element cancels other magic it is probably necessary to remove that control until that time to allow the magic channel to be blocked. Leaving it available might allow the block to break before time.

Somehow this concept has been misunderstood and the doppelgangers are killed during the ritual before the child is exposed to starlight and gains a soul. After that time the doppelganger can only be killed by her other half. For this reason baby's are kept away from starlight until after the ritual so that the doppelganger can be killed by someone else before getting the protection of a soul. We learn that there are two groups who are trying to prevent this tragedy later on. Miryo's problem is that she can never use her magic unless she kills her doppelganger Mirage.

The action is well paced and original, which is promising for the series. It is a refreshing change from the usual magic swords/stones/etc of the average Fantasy novel. The use of magic is consistent and believable, including a believable origin for how such a system could come about, and why there are consequences. Pitting the Witch Miryo, who can't control her magic and has no advantage, against the Warrior Mirage actually leaves the advantage with Mirage, also a departure from the usual run of fantasy fare. Although the ending is one of several obvious possibilities, it is well written and highly believeable. Still, I won't ruin it for you - Enjoy!
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