Feb 25, 2013

Dualed by Elsie Chapman Review

Dualed by Elsie Chapman
(Dualed, #1)
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Random House; 304 pages
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.

Wow seriously read the summary of this book again.  Sounds intense right?  Dualed is the type of book that you pick up on a day off from work (or school) and once you start it you just can't put it down.  I read this book in one sitting.  Now for me, that is a big deal.  For a book blogger, I am actually a pretty slow reader.  It usually takes me about 3 sittings to read a book, on average about 2 and a half days around my work schedule.  But this book was just so good, that I just had to keep going.  In fact, I think I only took 2 breaks while reading.

Dualed centers around West Grayer.  A fifteen year old who has had a very hard life.  She lives in a world where everyone has an alt.  An alt is sort of like your twin.  Someone born into a different family, but is nearly identical to you due to a genetic process developed to help save the human population.  During a random time between the ages of 10 and 20, each person is given an assignment.  This assignment is for you to kill your alt in 30 days.  And only you or your alt will survive.  You are given a month for this assignment, if you and your alt fail, both of you will die.  Because of this West has lost majority of her family at a very young age.  And Dualed starts out with her once again losing a loved one.  This traumatic event causes her to decide to become a Striker.  A Striker is a member of an underground illegal organization that kills another person's all the alt for money.

As a reader, it was very interesting to read West's journey.  To see her gradually change as the story went on.  I wouldn't say that she changed for the worse, but sometimes I really questioned her judgement.  Like when she became a Striker.  I honestly found myself scratching my head.  But then as I kept reading, I was able to understand why.  

There aren't too many main characters, or even support characters in this book, but I thought this was a good thing.  It really kept the focus of the story on West.  The one character that is in the book a lot is West's brother's friend Chord.  Now I absolutely loved Chord.  Chord is the type of person that has your best interest at heart.  And at the time you can find that person to be very annoying, but then you realize how much you need that person.  It was fun to read and see the changes in West and Chord's relationship.

I really enjoyed the climax of the book.  It definitely didn't let me down.  I feel like this book could have been a stand alone novel, but I am definitely looking forward to reading more in the series.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of either post apocalyptic or dystopian novels.

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