Published by Thomas Dunne Books on March 17th 2015
Genres: Cyber Punk, Science Fiction, Thriller, YA Romance, Young Adult
A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both.Amazon •
In private, seventeen-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts just for the thrill 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 constantly from city to city, he’s learned not to get tangled up in things like 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, stubborn 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. Then it 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’s going to 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 no one will even know he's gone.
Mature-Content Rating: Language, Sexual Content, Violence
“I had a horrible dream about someone hacking my computer and my reflection moving and taking out all the piercings in my face. And possibly worse, it had ended with the revelation that I’d be toting around a slacker sheet at school. I rub my eyes. Roll my tongue through my mouth. And freeze. I check my ears, my nose. No metal. You’re not dreaming.”
Duplicity lands the reading right in the middle of a relationship gone bad and a failing family.
Brandon the hacker is the boy mama always warned you about: tattoos, dozens of piercings, and a background that can have the FEDs on him in seconds. His favorite tattoo is one that pulls back his skin to show gears and wires, exposing himself to be just a machine. This tattoo is very important to how the character sees himself as well as his relationship with his ignorant parents.
Brandon’s parents are both married to their jobs and can’t understand why Brandon didn’t turn into a well balanced teenager on his own. They worry more about how his behavior will affect their business image than his future, and often ignore him until he acts out.
Emma is the good girl. Puts up with Brandon’s antics and isn’t afraid to do a little shoving back. The author also kept this character real and believable and not just one Brandon can fall back on.
Seb is my favorite side character! He/she is a hacker that is trapped in the program with Brandon but has figured out a few random hacks, including changing his/her avatar back and forth better male and female characters. He/she flirts with “Bran Bran” endlessly, making him completely uncomfortable, as she recruits him to hack their way out of the program.
JENA is a supercomputer that keeps the hackers trapped and monitored. She reminds me of Red Queen from Resident Evil. Her avatar is an innocent little girl, but her mannerisms and words are ominous and evil.
Obran is the name Brandon gives to the preppy duplicate that takes over his life. He does his homework, dresses nice, and helps his mother. What gets under Brandon’s skin the most is that with Obran his parents start to notice they have a son again, despite Brandon’s attempts to distract them from their jobs.
The story itself is amazing and made up of so many layers of sci-fi elements it’ll make fans drool: nanobots, sentient computers, downloaded consciences, overlords, hackers, and bodysnatchers (oh my!). It also brings up plenty of ethics questions so readers who like a good debate on morality would love discussions on this book later. The romance was there, but it didn’t take away from the main plot. Well done.
The story is setup so there might be a possible sequel, and here’s hoping!
Overall, Duplicity is an engrossing debut novel that will keep the reader enthralled throughout the story. I recommend to anyone who likes cyberpunk, young adult romance, and thrillers.