Twice as nice or double the trouble?


I’ve always loved the concept of duality. Of doubles and replacements. Twins fascinate me, I think clones are really cool, and the conflict between dark/light personalities (especially personalities in the same body!) is so much fun to watch or read about. So I suppose it’s not entirely surprising that when I wrote The Lost Girl, the story entwined with that conflict between two opposing sides of the same coin.

Top 10 double by The Lost Girl author Sangu Mandanna

Eva is an echo. That kind of makes her Amarra’s clone. It also makes her Amarra’s replacement. On the surface, Amarra is the good side of the coin. She’s sweet, sensible, human, a girl who’s life is being copied halfway across the world. Eva, on the other hand, is the monster. She was stitched together, made under the cover of darkness at the Weavers’ Loom. But this is her story. I got to write about what it was like to be the strange, eerie, frightening thing. What it was like to be the unnatural double. And it turns out Eva’s not such a monster after all.

So, to show my love for the replacements, the lookalikes and the misguided, misunderstood, mis-created (eh, it totally counts as a word) monsters in fiction, here are my ten favourite doubles.

10. Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield from the Sweet Valley books created by Francine Pascal

It’s embarrassing to admit this now, but these books were a staple of my childhood. I followed unrealistically beautiful blonde twins Liz and Jess from middle school to high school to senior year to university and, finally, to the Hollyoaks-esque drama of Jessica pretending to be Elizabeth and kissing Elizabeth’s boyfriend right before she knew Elizabeth would walk in just to show her the kind of cheating scum he was.

At which point Elizabeth ran away and jumped on a plane and fled all the way to London where she proceeded to become a scullery maid at an Earl’s house… er, yeah.

9. Viola from Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Viola is, possibly, the earliest iconic example of a girl dressing up as a boy. And dressing up and disguising herself as her own brother Sebastian? Chaos.

Here we have almost the entire spectrum of duality, covering dual identities, twins, and replacements. (No clones or echoes, though. Hmm. Someone should write a sci-fi retelling of Twelfth Night with clones… *mind wanders off*) I really love books and stories with this hook – there’s so much potential for drama and hilarity.

8. Hallie and Annie from The Parent Trap (1998)

Another set of twins! I can watch The Parent Trap over and over. Identical twins meeting for the first time via an implausibly huge coincidence… what’s not to like?

Hallie and Annie have such distinct characters. They’re fun, they’re funny, and their ending gives me the warm fuzzies every time (once you get past the ohmyGodLindsayLohanlookssoyoungandinnocent and herBritishaccentisbloodyawful moments).

7. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Ah, Jekyll and Hyde. It’s the story of doubles. One man, two characters. A good man goes one step too far and become, literally, a monster by night. This one speaks for itself.

6. Lincoln from The Island (2005)

Ewan McGregor. Yummy. That is all.

Click next for Sangu's Top 5 including Stephanie Meyer, Batman and MORE >>