Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Posted 11 April, 2013 by Pushy in Blog, Featured, Pushy, Pushy Book Review, Uncategorized / 16 Comments

Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman


by Elise Chapman (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Random House on February 26th 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: Audiobook
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3.5 Stars
You or your Alt? Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.

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West Grayer lives in a bleak world. In her walled off, sectioned up city of Kersh, she’s seen in a lot in her 15 years. Her parents have died. Her siblings have been slaughtered. All she has left is her brother and the knowledge that one day her turn will come. She will be tested and only the strongest will survive.

While I loved the premise of this book and many of the details within it, I had a hard time connecting with West. She consistently makes decisions that seemed completely non-sensical to me. She’s a tough as nails killer, but afraid to defend her own life. She loves Chord but treats him like trash. She sees the problems with the system she lives in but follows along as if she had no other choice. For all of these reasons, West was a difficult character for me to read.

And yet…

And yet, there truly is something about this book that made it compelling. With the same heightened drama of The Hunger Games, I was invested in the story, unable to stop reading it until I found out just how West’s journey unfolded and if she truly would be found worthy. The writing was good as was the pacing. There was a section of time missing in the middle of the book that confused me, but I’m wondering if that was a glitch in the audiobook I listened to rather than in the book, which kept track of time quite well. I certainly hope so at any rate.

As for West, I think allowances have to be made for the fact that she’s a 15 year old who essentially grew up in a war zone. Her mind definitely doesn’t work the way mine does. And I loved Chord, who is the gentle yin to her harsh yang. Plus with many side characters I’d like to hear more about in the next book, this is definitely worth picking up!

Bewitched Rating


Bottom Line

While frustrating at points, this book is definitely thought provoking and I’m looking forward to reading the second book, Divided, when it comes out early next year.


Get your own Audiobook at Dualed (unabridged, 9hrs 59min)

Alicyn Packard does a great job of bringing the tough yet vulnerable West to life, as well as the myriad of other tough customers that populate this YA dystopian. I give the audiobook version of Dualed by Elsie Chapman a big thumbs up!

Now go and get lost…in a book!
Lover of words and authors; absolute fan girl of books! Give me a good story, with characters I can love (and hate) and I’ll follow you anywhere. Sing me a song of worlds I can dream of, and I’ll listen forever.

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16 Responses to “Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman”

  1. We seem to have similar views with this! I had a hard time connecting with West too. She wasn’t a very appealing character to me, especially with the way she treated Chord. The back and forth between them was too much and it got frustrating — BUT I was also drawn in by the action, like you said! I’ll probably end up picking up book two, but I won’t be going crazy for it.

  2. I reviewed this on my blog on Monday and I had similar thoughts. I loved the HG premise very chilling but West drove me nuts. I at times wished that she would get killed because her behavior was so annoying. Yet, like you I was invested in the story and wanted to see how it all played out. I don’t recall any missing time sections while reading it??
    Heidi recently posted..Trapped (The Iron Druid Chronicles #5) by Kevin HearneMy Profile

    • AHA! I knew it was my book! It was in between day 30 and day 10, 20 days disappeared, which I found odd since she’d been keeping such careful track of them! LOL!

  3. Ooo, I love thought provoking books. I was supposed to have read this one ages ago, but school hasn’t allowed me to do so yet. You thoughts about it being compelling with good pacing and writing has me even more excited to pick it up, despite any negatives 🙂

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