Review of DOPPLEGANGER by Marie Brennan
Aspect, April 2006
To be a full witch, to access her powers, Miryo need do one simple thing--track down and kill her doppelganger. As long as her doppelganger is alive, Miryo is a threat to herself and everyone around her. She's compelled by her access to power, but her doppelganger's survival means that she can touch that power only with dire consequences. In fact, as she learns, the consequences will backfire not only on herself, but to the entire planet. Then again, her doppelganger, Mirage, doesn't exactly want to be killed. Because Mirage is a professional bounty hunter and trained assassin, she's going to be hard for Miryo to control--especially without access to magic.
Killing someone who not only looks like you but who shares many of the same values, many of the same tastes--but with different abilities because the purpose of the doppelganger is to separate talents and let the witch be pure in her energies--is difficult. More difficult, in fact, than either Miryo or Mirage had imagined. Still, there's no way the two can simply live and let live. If Miryo doesn't kill her doppelganger, the witches are sworn to hunt both of them down and make sure the threat to their way of life is ended.
Author Marie Brennan creates an interesting universe with a rich history, fascinating magic, and a high-potential profession in its schools of trained bounty-hunters/assassins/bodyguards. Brennan adds a touch of mystery with Mirage's assignment to learn who killed one of the senior witches--an assignment that unexpectedly ties into the nature of witches and the danger that doppelgangers represent.
I would have liked to see more angst from Miryo as she wrestled with her decision. I suspect few readers will believe that Miryo will go through with her plan to kill Mirage, but ultimately her decision seemed too easy to me. Still, while I think Brennan could have done more, DOPPELGANGER is an enjoyable and fast-paced read.
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