The most fascinating aspect of this second story of the Djinn is the argument of nature versus nurture, of exploring how experiences in life shape a person and change them from who they are to who they could be. I realize the focus of The Double is on the continued romance between, Elyse and Cade, and now, Arcadius, but I couldn’t stop being fascinated by the differences and similarities between the two men who used to be one man.
The crux of Elyse’s relationship with Cade is trying to resist being interested in Arcadius too. Personally, I couldn’t see how she could realistically expect to be unaffected by the man. He is as Cade was when she first met him. There was something about him then, so Arcadius is like a condensed, purer form of Cade’s former self. Sound confusing? Guess that means this isn’t a standalone read. A reader really needs to read the first book to understand not only what I’m talking about in this review but to also understand the ramifications of the guy with the black tattoos. Very cool stuff.
Joseph’s character, although secondary, is a strong and pivotal plot stirrer. He isn’t what he used to be but he’s much, much better in some aspects. That creates new problems for him that only in this book was I able to understand just what is now at stake for him. It will be very interesting to see what happens next. His sub-story is just as fascinating and complex as the primary plot. And yet, he compliments Elyse and Cade extremely well.
The problem of one or two men to the one woman notwithstanding, The Double also provides a reader with a devious villain with a suspenseful plot that is nasty in nature. In the process of the heroine and heroes trying to solve the mystery before more people die, I learned some more facts about Elyse’s childhood. That cousin of hers was a harridan in the making, a dastardly twisted and self-centered little snot even back then who only got worse as she grew up. How much of that was nature and how much was nurture? With the father she had I’m of the mind that she had the worst of both and, I’m thinking she was doomed to be a prideful, evil, depraved woman. I think she got what she deserved but only time and Ms. Holly knows for sure.
As for the sex in this book, Ms. Holly pulled out all the stops and let the lust fly. Erotic romance readers should be plenty satisfied with the scope, the titillating complexity and the amount of sexy encounters between Elyse, Cade and eventually Arcadius too. There are emotional landmines to navigate, some of which are very unique to this particular book because of the split man/men. It’s a fascinating scenario but plenty hot too.
I remember the cliff hanger from the first book with regards to Elyse’s dad. I’m glad that was explored and explained in this novel. I liked his character. I also find interesting the author’s twisting of faith and religion between a fantasy world and the contemporary world. A few sentences in this tale were a bit hard for me to swallow, but it is a fantasy and fiction so I can’t begrudge an author exploring alternative scenarios to fit her fantastical characters.
Yasmin and Balu were introduced in this tale and they added to the plot conflict on various levels. I suspect that readers will see more of them in a future story. As for this novel, the happy ever after for Elyse and her men is getting closer. There were definite steps taken to make me believe it will happen soon, but Ms. Holly is a masterful storyteller so I’ll wait and see what happens next. There are still some missing people that have to be accounted for, one of which is the insane female who caused the entire ruckus in the first place. This series is addictive.
The Double should not be missed by anyone who read the first book, The Guardian. If fans thought that one was exciting, this one bumped it up a notch. There is a pivotal scene with a special book that almost turns the tide in a different and expected direction. I was biting my nails at that part. But Ms. Holly knows her readers and I am thrilled she chose what she did as the outcome. I’m a happy reader. I would definitely recommend this novel to everyone who read The Guardian but caution new readers – there will be parts that won’t make sense unless the first book is read. It’s worth checking out so they can get the full WOW factor of this one.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.