Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Review of Dualed by Elsie Chapman published by Random House

Author: Elsie Chapman
Category: Young Adult
Format: eGalley
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2-26-13
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. – Goodreads

I thought the idea of this world was very interesting.  Because everyone must eventually kill their alt, every adult who is living has killed someone.  The idea that this system essentially turned everyone into a murderer was fascinating.  What does that do to a society’s sense of justice and empathy?  What does it do to a parent’s relationship with their child?  What does it do to your sense of self to know that there is another person out there, identical to you, and you have to kill them?  West and her family have known a lot of tragedy and I thought that was a good way to communicate the toll that this system can have on your parents or your siblings.  Kersh was a brutal place, in many ways.

Although the idea behind this book was so unique, I had a hard time connecting to the story.  I’m not sure if I wanted more about the city, about why alts existed or why this system was better than any other, but it just didn’t come together for me.  While I found West’s personal situation to be very tragic, I didn’t really connect with her, which made it hard to read this book as anything more than your run-of-the-mill sci-fi thriller.  Overall, the the characters didn’t seem fleshed out, so that would explain my feeling of disengagement.  I did like that while there was a small romantic subplot, the focus was on West and her feelings as she fought to survive.  This is the first book in a series, so despite my reservations, I think there is still room for more character development.  The world was really interesting, so I’m not ready to give up on this series, yet.  I think that fans of this type of post-apocalyptic sci-fi will find Dualed to be entertaining.

This book earned 3 birds:
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9 responses to “Dualed by Elsie Chapman

  1. I totally agree – I thought the concept was so interesting but the details just didn’t quite come together. I really wanted to like West but she got on my nerves a lot instead of being a strong character. I was just a little let down since I had such high hopes but I’m still a little interested in reading the sequel…

  2. I found it hard to connect to the characters as well but I appreciated the action scenes in the book. It flew by really quickly for me. Great review!

  3. This is EXACTLY how I felt about this book. I felt like there was definitely a lot of potential for the story and these characters, but something just fell flat for me. Hopefully, when the next book comes out, things are fleshed out more and we find a way to empathize with the characters!

  4. It does sound like a really interesting premise. Hopefully in the next book there will be better character development so the connection to them is stronger. I have been wanting to read this book for a while, so now I know a little better what to expect. Great review. 🙂

  5. I find this happens to me a lot… the premise is awesome and then the book doesn’t live up to it. Great review, Kate! I’ll probably give this one a go.

  6. I also had trouble connecting with West. And I can’t say I was too terribly invested in her story because of it. It’s too bad because it really is an interesting concept!

  7. I agree, I liked the idea of this book but I felt like there needed to be something more to it. I really loved how Chapman showed the loss and what many people have to deal with, but the way West handled things was not what I expected from her character. I also wonder what will happen next in the series after that ending.

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