AUTHOR Elsie Chapman
PUBLICATION February 26th 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers
READ February 14 to 16, 2013
SOURCE Random House via Netgalley for review
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 is a 15 year old girl who has no one left. She's lost both of her parents and right at the beginning of the novel she loses the one sibling she has left as he dies a casualty in his best friends completion. I had my ups and downs with West, in the beginning I loved how she was so level headed and sure of her facts. When her brothers friend comes in just after receiving his assignment she knows that right then is the time to act. She pushes Chord into action and goes with him to find his Alt. While Chord is carrying out her assignment she loses her brother, Luc, and straight after that I was left to really question her. I didn't like how she closed up and I thought she made some pretty reckless decisions about where her life would go and I'm not sure I was given enough information to back up her decision to do so. I spent much of the middle of the novel kind of annoyed at her for becoming an assassin and also for running from her assignment for so damn long. Upon finishing the book I definitely think the last few chapters really vindicated West in my eyes and looking at the novel as a whole I think my middle frustrations with her were necessary for her progression as a character.
The secondary characters here aren't as well developed as West becomes. She has Chord by her side and also as her love interest but that's about it. I liked Chord, his persistence to be by her side and help out in any way he could definitely made me like him but I don't think I got to know him near enough to really connect with him. We get to see her family in flashbacks throughout the story but to me those felt pretty ineffective and awkward. In most flashbacks I found myself flipping back pages to see exactly how we were transitioned into it because I had no idea why all these characters were around all of a sudden. I really wish there was more development put into the side characters here so the novel would have felt a bit more whole to me and had me feeling for more of the people in it.
Another aspect that fell a bit short for me was the world building. I have to admit that there were details that I loved, so I will start with those. I loved that once an Alt was active they were on their own. They had to fend for themselves and be smart. Sure, they could get food, a bed to sleep in, and ride the train for free but they would have to succumb to a retina scan that would mark their location in a log easily accessible by their Alt. Sure they could access the log and find out exactly where their Alt is at any time but to do that they would also have a retina scan that would track their location. Little twisted details like that had me really fascinated with the world Chapman built, but I was also left with more than a few questions. I would have liked to know more about how the world came to be the way that it was, we know it was a vaccine but I don't think we were given enough information as to what events actually led up to this society. I also would like to know more about the judicial system within the city, some deaths are ok but when are they not? And what exactly are they building their society of the strongest to fight against?
All of these questions are ones that I hope will be addressed much more in the sequel and I hope we get to know much more about the characters still remaining. As a whole I really enjoyed Dualed. It was fascinating society with an MC that I came to like very much. I'm hoping that the issues I had with it are simply because it is an intro into a series and I am anxious to see where the series goes next.