My publisher wants them to have continued life; the reissue is timed for two months after the release of Midnight Never Come, to attract new readers from that book. The change in title comes about because they wanted to redesign these two to more obviously form a pair, the change in cover because everyone agrees Warrior and Witch (now Witch) has the much more arresting image.
I guess that makes sense, but it still doesn’t effect the story, so let’s get back to what’s really important. The premise of the story is really original. Basically, whenever a witch is born, the infant goes through a ceremony to help contain her magic so it doesn’t consume her. During this ritual, a doppelganger is born and usually killed. Why you ask…because if the doppelganger survives, then the witch will not be able to control her magic when she comes of age. For Miryo, this becomes an issue when it’s revealed her doppelganger, Mirage, was never killed and now she must go and do the deed herself. She’s not allowed to do magic and it must be by her hand. Sounds relative simple, right? What Miryo doesn’t know is that Mirage has been trained as a Hunter, a mercenary, who is considered one of the best.
I love reading fantasy novels and this new twist to a classic tale of witches and magic is interesting. The story is told by both Miryo and Mirage and it’s done really well. I’m not a fan of flashbacks or novels that jump around a lot, but Brennan breaks each point of view into chapters and she clearly marks at the beginning who is speaking. Not only does this keep me from being confused, but she doesn’t switch POVs in mid thought or while one is thinking of something. She finishes the scene and leaves you with a cliffhanger or something to think about while you read to see what the other twin is doing. This scored big points for me.
The dual storytelling doesn’t last for the whole book, because eventually Miryo and Mirage meet up. When they do, they realize that they have more in common, and not in common, then they thought they would. Miryo can’t kill Mirage. I mean, who would be able to look themselves in the eye and kill their mirror image. Especially a person who wasn’t trained to do so. The struggle Miryo and Mirage go through in order to understand the reasoning behind the need for the doppelganger to be destroyed takes the strengths from both of them and creates a really good story. Once the twins know what they need to do, and receive the answers they need, they go and do it. I’ve read a lot of books that will drag out scenes and conflicts in order to fill pages and Brennan didn’t have to do this. She had a great story being told by great characters and she didn’t need to throw in obstacles to keep a reader interested.
Overall, this was a really good novel and I’m glad my cousin recommended it. I’m definitely going to go out and add this novel (and the second one) to my personal collection. Marie Brennan was a new author for me and I can’t wait to go out and find more of her novels.