Title: Dualed (Dualed #1)
Author: Elsie Chapman
Release date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Random House BFYR
Reading level: YA
Two of you exist.
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.
Dualed has been at the top of my TBR ever since I first heard about it. Follow up the awesome cover with some fabulous reviews and I expected quite a bit from this book. While I enjoyed Dualed and thought it was a pretty strong debut, there were a few things I found lacking.
I started Dualed expecting an intense, fast-paced dystopian novel that I wouldn’t be able to put down. That’s not exactly what I got though. For me, Dualed took a while to get into. There was a lot of world building and not enough action. Things started off with a bang but from there things slowed way down and I started to lose interest. I wanted to see West kicking ass and that was really such a small part of the book. Really, the beginning and end were the only action packed parts of the book. They were some pretty intense chase scenes and the fighting between West and her Alt was awesome but it just wasn’t enough to make me love the book.
There is romance but it’s very subtle. It’s clear from the beginning how Cord feels about West but it’s not really clear how West feels about him. She definitely cares for him and wants to protect him but I didn’t really ever see her think of him romantically. While I thought Cord was awesome and super sweet, I wasn’t really sure about him and West. I would have liked more development of their relationship. As it was it just seemed a little random.
The characters, while enjoyable, were nothing special. Like I said, I liked Cord and thought he was sweet but I never felt any sort of connection to him. There was very little background information about him and I felt like I didn’t really know anything about him. It was actually almost the same with West. I knew that she was alone and I knew a little about how each family member died but that still didn’t explain much about her. She was cold and standoffish and she constantly pushed Cord away when he was really the only one she had left. Also, what I found rather odd is that Cord and West were really the only two characters. I mean, sure, West’s Alt played a part in the story but I felt that she didn’t really matter. However, I do think readers get more background information about West’s Alt than they do about West or Cord and that really bothered me.
The only thing that made this a three star read instead of two or one was the writing. Elsie Chapman definitely knows how to make a story beautiful even when it’s completely ugly. I mean, really, the story is about a world where teens are trained to become murderers. You’d think this was some hideous society that no one would ever want anything to do with. And sure, I’m not rushing out to buy real estate in Kersh (haha) but I kid you not, Elsie Chapman managed to make this dreary, scary world into something so much more. I really kept reading this story because of the writing alone. If you don’t mind rather lackluster characters and a slow building plot, check this one out just for the writing.
Overall, Dualed really let me down but I’m still planning on reading Elsie Chapman’s future books just for her writing. I really hope the sequel to Dualed (which I do find to be a little unnecessary) expands on some of the things I had problems with in this book. If you want to give this one a shot, I’d recommend checking it out from your library before spending the money.
Looking for more reviews of Dualed by Elsie Chapman?
Divided (#2) – February 2014