Dualedby Elise Chapman (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Random House on February 26th 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
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.
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, 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!
Get your own Audiobook at Audible.com: 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!
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