cover image Fair Coin

Fair Coin

E.C. Myers. Pyr, $16.95 (287p) ISBN 978-1-61614-609-2

Myers' debut begins with an intriguing premise, but ultimately falls short. Teenager Ephraim Scott's mother is distraught when she is called to identify her son's dead body, the shock of which impels her to commit suicide. However, Ephraim returns home and wakes her up before she succumbs to the combination of pills and liquor. Later, going through the belongings of his deceased doppelganger, Ephraim discovers a mysterious coin. With a flip, this magic coin grants Ephraim's wishes (e.g., that his mother would reform her ways; that the girl of his dreams would notice him), but with a price%E2%80%94each wish transports Ephraim into a parallel universe (which explains the dead lookalike). When an enemy from another universe shows up looking to take advantage of the coin, Ephraim must harness the coin's power to stop him and get back to his "home reality." Myers' concept is gripping and thought-provoking, but he stumbles between too many characters and twists, and the layering of multiple universes minimizes the emotional impact of characters' decisions, conflicts, and deaths. (Mar.)