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360 pages, Hardcover
First published April 5, 2016
“When the power of Light and Dark was discovered, the world was transformed. There was no going back: the shine and shadow of magic swallowed the old world up.”
“...his polite smile looked stretched at the edges, like rationed butter scraped over bread, as if he had only so much diplomacy in him.”
“It was as if time was a suitcase filled too full, about to burst and break."
Happiness is self sabotage, a mean trick that your own mind plays on you. It makes you careless, makes you lose your grip, and once you lose your grip, you lose everything.
"Carwyn, at this point, was smirking. "I like you. Can I put you on my list of demands?""
""I meant," I said, "where are you going on this train?"
"Same place you are," Carwyn said. "The Light City."
"What are you going to do when you get there?"
"Are you asking me out on a date?" asked Carwyn."Because your boyfriend's right here. Awkward.""
Carwyn, I loved the magic part of the story. I really wanted the writer to go into more details about it, but it was a small part of the story.
Light magic commands all things on this earth. So long as the sun burns in the sky, we rule the world.
All we need is the sun . . . and to be drained. The use of Light builds up in our blood, begins to be painful. It feels like burning in our veins, in the same way muscles burn when overstrained, but it does not stop there. If a Light magician is not drained, the pain gets worse. Eventually the magician will burn away from the inside out, bones turning to ash, and blood to flame.
Long ago, people used to drain patients’ blood with leeches to restore them to health, a barbaric ancient practice that did not work at all. Now the ancient lie has become truth. A practicing Light magician has to have their blood drained by a Dark magician. The more often we use magic, the more often we have to be drained. If we do not get drained regularly, we die.
They use our blood for power. But we need them in order to live.
That is why Dark magicians and all those whose families have produced Dark magicians live in Dark cities, rounded up and kept close to centers of Light, confined and controlled. We cannot afford to be without them.
We need them. That is the truth everybody knows and nobody speaks. That’s why we resent them and fear them and tell stories describing how they are evil, how they deserve all they get and we deserve all that we have.
People always hate those they rely on.
I’ve heard the process of making a doppelganger explained like this: Human souls are made of light. It is what makes people able to feel, to love and pity each other, and if there is an excess of light, it is what enables people to do Light magic. If a soul is slipping into the dark, the dark will give the light back . . . if the light gives the darkness form.
One goes into the shadow of death, but two come back: the real person, and the other, a creature made in the person’s image, but out of darkness.
“Do you remember the story of how they almost beat your grandfather to death when they found out he was practicing Dark magic in the Light city?” she asked.<...>
“That Grandma got in the way. She threw herself in front of him,” I answered, my voice a thread, barely hanging on. “Yes.”
“The mob caught him before he got to his house, and she saw him being beaten and went to run out into the road. Her family tried to stop her. They said, He broke the law, you mustn’t, there’s nothing you can do, think of your baby, stop, you can’t do it, please stop. And she said . . .” Aunt Leila prompted.
“Tell the wind and fire where to stop,” I answered. “But don’t tell me.”
“Would you stop?” Aunt Leila asked. “Or would you do what needs to be done?”
“Okay, Uncle Mark. So I have fairly liberal views, right? Me and my girlfriend from the Dark town, me and my whining about fair treatment and justice and free tiny pink unicorns for all. This military ball is going forward, even though we have blood, broken cages, and whispers in the streets. I talk and talk, but I don’t really do a damn thing, do I?
As for the characters: we have Lucie, her rich boyfriend Ethan and his doppelganger Carwyn. Carwyn, oh dear boy, so sad you were used in this book and didn't get all the honor you deserved. You see, Lucie's boyfriend is dumb as fuck. He is sweet, gentle, caring and absolutely spineless. Lucie is in charge of everything. She loves her Ethan but practically calls him stupid, because he had some kind of a genteel upbringing and it's okay to be dumb, but gentle. No. We, readers, do not like such characters. We want complex. Lucie was running the whole time, confession over and over again how much she loves her Ethan and how she will never let anyone hurt him. Agh, boring!
“Anyone would love him, but I do not know if anyone could love him as much as I do.”
Special snowflake Ethan alert!
But, thank god, I had Carwyn to save me from breaking my jaw from extreme yawing. He is complex, he is dark, he has dubious morals, excellent sense of humor, self-irony and hot looks. Any day of the week I will prefer him to thousands of boring Ethans.
“You’re here to express your appreciation by proposing a kinky doppelganger ménage à trois? In which case, I’m going to have to turn you down. I’m sad to say it, but Ethan gives me the impression he’d be about as exciting in the sack as an eggplant.”
“Why did you do it?” Ethan asked suddenly. “Why save my life?”
Carwyn looked at me. I had to admit, I was curious to know the answer as well. It didn’t seem like the kind of thing a doppelganger would do. “It was a whim. It was that or buy the weird cheese-and-crackers package off the food cart.”
I had honestly not expected a doppelganger to be sassy.”
I couldn't stop LOLing every time Carwyn called Lucie some perky pet name to spite her:
Don’t you agree, my strawberry of delight?”
Coming, my love panther?
I'll leave you here, tulip.
Give him some credit, the guy is inventive.
Well, funny part aside Carwyn was the only character that made me feel something. And you know what the author did to him? I mean, it was quite a good move in the end of the day, and I am not angry at why, I am angry at how
The ending was mostly disappointing, because we didn't get desired answers or resolution. We were stuck in the beginning. I don't see how a promise of future action can make us satisfied when we won't be witnessing those actions (it's a stand-alone as far as I am aware).
I wouldn't call this book bad, just underdeveloped. First 20% were amazing, the last 5% were good but not enough to make me appreciate the whole story. The language was simple but easily flowing. Again, I think that this book could've been brilliant if author decided to not go into Lucie's angst and concentrated instead on the world and what was happening in it.
Verdict: not the brightest book I've read, but it still has its positive sides and I am inclined to recommend it if you want an interesting world, beautiful language and complex character (Carwyn, that is). As for the rest, maybe some things will be more to your taste than it was to mine.
“It was the best of times until it was the worst of times.”
“Why did you do it?” Ethan asked suddenly. “Why save my life?”
Carwyn looked at me. I had to admit, I was curious to know the answer as well. It didn’t seem like the kind of thing a doppelgänger would do.
“It was a whim. It was that or buy the weird cheese-and-crackers package off the food cart.”
I had honestly not expected a doppelgänger to be sassy.