Author: Laura Resnick
Paperback, 400 pages
Release Date: January 5th, 2010
As much as I love to read novels, I have a tendency to not read that many of them simply due to how many there are and not knowing which ones to read. I was recently browsing a book store for reference material, however, and the cover of this book caught my eye. The title alone, "Dopplegangster", was enough to get my attention. Being a fan of The Dresden Files, another modern fantasy series, I gave into impulse and picked it up.
I'm glad I did! Not only were the characters and story enjoyable, but there was plenty of humor to be had as well. That's something I demand from the novels I read. They don't have to be outright comedies, but if they don't have a sense of humor, I want nothing to do with them.
The story is about Esther, a struggling actress in New York with supernatural connections. She's not a vampire slayer, a sorceress, or anything fancy like that. She's just an actress who found herself in a bad situation once, became friends with a wizard, and feels a sense of responsibility. The fact that she's not some chosen one armed with mystical might is part of her charm.
As for the plot of Esther Diamond's first adventure, I didn't find the mystery to be particularly difficult to figure out, but the story has several twists and turns and is very enjoyable. The characters are well written and fleshed out to the point where I hope most of them return for future installments, and Esther's balancing act between her personal life and the mystery at hand makes the whole novel more fun without feeling tacked on or forced.
My only major gripe with this book is the main character's first name. I think I know how to pronounce it, but I have a slight speech impediment that I have to work at to keep under control. A name like "Esther" is a freaking land mine in that regard. I suspect I will find myself sounding rather formal when verbally discussing this book, referring to her as "Ms. Diamond".
Difficult to pronounce first names aside, this is the first book in a series and I'm already looking forward to the next one.