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Duplicity, March 2015
by N.K. Traver

Thomas Dunne
Featuring: Emma; Brandon
256 pages
ISBN: 1250059143
EAN: 9781250059147
Kindle: B00N046Z48
Hardcover / e-Book
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"Surprising Thrill Ride With Very Human Three Dimensional Character"

Fresh Fiction Review

Duplicity
N.K. Traver

Reviewed by Mav` S
Posted March 13, 2015

Young Adult

Brandon Eriks is a seventeen year old typical high school bad boy, with tattoos and piercings to prove, on the surface. This is a careful façade he has created in front of his fellow mates. A deeper reason being he would do anything drastic to actually get a reaction out of his mostly work-involved parents to see if they care. Hiding in his room, he is a brilliant hacker whose work no one has been able to track till one fine day when he breaks a mirror.

Apparently Brandon has a good double, OBran, living in the mirror who now wants to trade lives with him. Starting off he begins by forcefully taking off Brandon's piercings, followed by complete change in wardrobe and skinning off those permanent tattoos. In the real world Brandon is thinking he is losing his mind seeing his mirror image pull off feats which should be impossible and the reaction the world is showing at his cleaned up image. Then, there is Emma. The one girl who has managed to get inside his walls and creep into his heart, no matter how much he denies it. But before long, Brandon suddenly finds himself trapped inside a digital realm while OBran lives his life. Now he has to figure a way to trade back or he will remain trapped, programming forever till he old and wrinkly while no one notices OBran is not him.

Brilliant brilliant brilliant debut!! I feel overwhelmed after finishing DUPLICITY. N.K. Traver has created a world which fully pulled me in. It is vibrant and terrifying in its own right. It is Matrix meeting a young badass rebellious teen. Books written in first POV have never been my first preference for reading and nor are they usually able to pull me in the story as much as other POVs. In case of DUPLICITY, the tone and the prose used by Ms. Traver, I was living in the mind of Brandon, living his life. He is a three --dimensional character with amazing depths. It has been over a decade since I was a teenager but I connected on a level with Brandon I never imagined; his insecurities and how he avoids showing, even admitting, how much he cares and the façade he maintains. The secondary characters just add depth to the story and Brandon, revealing a new side to him with each interaction.

I finished this book in one sitting and then picked it up to re-read because I wanted more. Each chapter is a thrill ride with twists leaving you on the edge of your seat. There are emotional moments of despair, loss, death (this one broke my heart), moments of questioning the sanity and then some humour to lighten the mood. I have read a few other books in YA on overuse and technology gone wrong but DUPLICITY is a class in its own and a breathe of fresh air in this genre of science fiction, cyberthriller. And what an ending!! Ms. Traver blended the world of computers, excitement of hacking, bad boy personas and a regular teenager looking for love and attention brilliantly. Along with all this, she did not forget to remind us that every action has a consequence and sometimes even the best of intentions are not always the best for the society. Without wanting to sound like a broken record, pick this book up immediately. It is not to be missed by all the fans of the genre. N.K. Traver is an author to watch out for and I cannot wait to read more from her.

Learn more about Duplicity

SUMMARY

A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both.

In private, 17-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts for thousands of dollars just for the hell of it. In public, he looks like any other tattooed bad boy with a fast car and devil-may-care attitude. He should know, he’s worked hard to maintain that façade. With inattentive parents who move cities every two years, he’s learned not to get tangled up in friends and relationships. So he’ll just keep living like a machine, all gears and wires.

Then two things shatter his carefully-built image: Emma, the kind, preppy girl who insists on looking beneath the surface — and the small matter of a mirror reflection that starts moving by itself. Not only does Brandon’s reflection have a mind of its own, but it seems to be grooming him for something— washing the dye from his hair, yanking out his piercings, swapping his black shirts for … pastels. Changes he can’t explain to his classmates, who think he’s having an identity crisis, and certainly not to nosy Emma, who thinks this is his backward apology for telling her to get lost. Then Brandon’s reflection tells him: it thinks it can live his life better, and it’s preparing to trade places.

And when it pulls Brandon through the looking-glass, not only will he need all his ill-gotten hacking skills to escape, but he’ll have to face some hard truths about who he’s become. Otherwise he’ll be stuck in a digital hell until he’s old and gray, and Emma and his parents won't even know he's gone.


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