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Dualed by Elsie Chapman
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Dualed

by Elsie Chapman

Series: Dualed (1)

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1603274,131 (3.29)4
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  1. 00
    Doppelganger by Marie Brennan (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Very similar concepts, but one book is a YA dystopia and one is high fantasy.
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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
I wanted to like this story. And I wanted to like the characters, but it was hard to do. There were too many inconsistencies and gaps to make this a smooth read. The basic premise might have been believable if it had been built with a better foundation.

And it was totally jacked that the heroine doesn't even begin to think about bucking the system. Maybe that's slated for a book two.

This book is shelved as an Older Teen selection at our branch, but I think the audience that could appreciate this will be the Younger Teen (12-14 year old) crowd. ( )
  Angelina-Justice | Feb 3, 2014 |
See more reviews on Short & Sweet Reviews.

Dualed presents a pretty creepy alternate future, one which the characters only barely question throughout the book. The characters are living in a world which trains children to be killers, and expects no one to ever question why this is done. Knowing that this is a planned series, I shouldn't expect these characters to solve their universe's problems all in one book, but I still got to the end thinking there should have been more done to push the characters towards questioning Kersh's government.

I enjoyed this book but didn't love it as much as I'd hoped to. Sometimes it felt like several different stories just tacked together -- West's life as a striker (a hired assassin), her quest to kill her own Alt, and her budding romance with Chord all felt like three different stories. West makes a lot of decisions which are never fully explained and which don't make a lot of sense. I guess some of it can be chalked up to her being fifteen, but not all of it. While reading, I had a ton of questions that could have been answered by some basic worldbuilding, but which were never addressed. The very fact that Kersh's government spends so many resources on a population where 50% of them will eventually wind up dead and the survivors, who are expected to be elite, the best and the strongest, are allowed to get lazy and complacent didn't make much sense to me. There's clearly more to the story of why Kersh has the Alt program. Maybe later books in the series will help fill in some gaps.

West can be a difficult character to like. She's emotionally distant, which is understandable given her past, and she does her best to push everyone else in her life away. Even though she's the narrator of the story, we still have a hard time getting inside her head. She seems to ping-pong between being this stone-cold killer and a scared little girl. Again, understandable, given her situation, but it can give the reader a bit of whiplash sometimes. It's hard to reconcile the West who can put her feelings aside and gun people down for money with the West who is afraid of facing off with her own Alt.

Overall, I felt like like this was a good book which had glimmers of something which could have been even better. Chapman's a strong writer, but I had a hard time connecting emotionally to the story, especially the romance angle, and there were times where I honestly didn't care too much what happened to West. I'll probably still check out the next book in the series, just to see what happens next. ( )
  goorgoahead | Dec 4, 2013 |
This book is disturbing on so many levels...I liked it. :) ( )
  emmyson | Oct 9, 2013 |
I'm conflicted about this one. There were things I loved, but then other things...not so much. Thus, the middle-of-the-road three star rating.

The general idea is this (from the book):

When the universal cold vaccine had the nasty side effect of irreversible infertility, it was the Board who managed to keep the human race alive through a system of constant and carefully controlled biological intervention. But human nature has a way of disintegrating no matter how many chances it’s given, and the world fell into war. An offshoot of the Board broke off, claimed the upper West Coast of North America as its own, and turned its back on everyone else. It called the massive gated city Kersh, the last war- free zone in the world.

The Board, in its genius, created Alts, manipulating genes so two identical children are born to two sets of parents... both active Alts must hunt each other down until only one remains. It’s the ultimate survival- of- the- fittest test, allowing only those capable of killing to go on and become adults in Kersh.

West has lost her entire family and has recently gone "active." She is also a "striker" - an assassin hired to kill other people's alts. While she has no trouble completing her striker assignments, she is conflicted about killing her own Alt.

The thing I was really most disappointed in was the world-building and the backstory. I want to know why and how the world disintegrated to the point that Kersh had to wall itself off. I want to know what the world is like outside of Kersh. I want to know why people just go along with this idea of killing their Alt. Why does no one rebel? Why did no one rebel when it all started? I wanted to know more about the structure of the city. Chapman gives us bits and pieces - how the city is sectioned and what each section produces - but I didn't really get a great picture of how things would look. I'm hoping that some of these things will be explored more as the series continues.

I was also surprised at where this book led. The ending didn't really shock me, but I was surprised that there wasn't much of a rebellion against the status quo. Most dystopian novels show a progression from acceptance of how things are to questioning of the status quo to full out rebellion and change. Here, there really wasn't any of that. Sure, there were some things that hinted at rebellion - the strikers, for instance - but there is no great fight against the Board. This is really just the story of one girl following the rules in this society. On the one hand, I like that this book didn't follow the same formula as every other book in the genre, but on the other hand, I wanted to see these horrible practices come to an end. Again, I'm hoping that this will change as the series continues.

I really loved the characters. I loved how West was conflicted. She carries an immense amount of guilt, she is angry, she feels defeated. Yet, through it all she is strong. She is convinced that her rutheless Alt is the one who should win, never really acknowledging that her own perseverance, smarts and will to live make her just as worthy.

I loved that there is a hint of romance between West and Chord. West continually pushes him away, feeling that if he is too close, he is in danger. The tension and frustration (not just sexual in nature) is written well. I wanted to smack her for pushing him away, yet I understood why she felt she had too. The romance never overtakes the plot as it does in so many other books. It's important to the book but does not overwhelm it. I look forward to seeing where things go with West and Chord.

Overall I enjoyed Dualed. I look forward to reading the second book in the series in hopes that some of my questions will be answered. This is a good original storyline that could be great if fleshed out a bit more. ( )
  CherieReads | Sep 23, 2013 |
The latest trend I’ve noticed in YA seems to be some kind of alternate reality or version of yourself, parallel universes, or twins. Honestly, I think they sound pretty cool. If you read my review of Parallel last week, you’ll know that I really enjoyed it. After hearing great things and really liking Parallel, I was pretty excited for both Dualed and Pivot Point by Kasie West. I haven’t read Pivot Point yet, but I was disappointed by Dualed.

I thought that the synopsis of Dualed sounded really good, but I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting. Dualed started off pretty well, with West’s brother’s best friend, Chord, receiving his assignment. West and Luc go with Chord to find his Alt, though they know better than to assist him in the actual kill. However, the assignment doesn’t end well, leading West to the deepest grief of her life. Honestly, after the beginning, I thought I was off to a great start.

But from there, I just felt that the story dragged. I didn’t really like West very much, and she started to irritate me. As the main character and narrator of Dualed, West was the central focus of the story, but I just couldn’t relate to her. Also, as I went along, I found the premise bothered me a little. I’m not sure why, because I loved The Hunger Games, and both of them contain teenagers killing other teenagers, but for some reason, it just bothered me with Dualed. Maybe it’s because the way the book starts out, the description, or the cover, but I was expecting bad-ass Alts with gladiator-style fights to the death, or one Alt to be obviously evil. However, it turned out to seem more like totally normal kids trying to kill each other, otherwise they’d be killed themselves. There are even pathetic Alts who beg for their lives. I guess, after a while, it just rubbed me the wrong way.

I considered DNF’ing Dualed several times, but I pushed on. First, I almost never DNF books. I really don’t like to do it. But more importantly, I had heard really good things about Dualed, so I figured it must get better. I did really like the last 30 or so pages. They were pretty much exactly what I was expecting throughout the rest of the book, but honestly, I can’t say that the ending was good enough to justify my trudging slowly through the rest of the book. Dualed is also going to be part of a series, but I can’t think of anything the rest could be about, and honestly, I just didn’t connect enough to the characters or the story line to continue the series.

Honestly, I’ve seen several good reviews for Dualed, so I can’t say that I wouldn’t recommend it, but it just wasn’t the book for me. The beginning and the end were pretty good, and though I wasn’t invested, I never really hated the book, so I’ll rate it as okay.

This review can also be found on my blog ( )
  mrso822 | Sep 21, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307931544, Hardcover)

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.

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:50 -0400)

"West Grayer lives in a world where every person has a twin, or Alt. Only one can survive to adulthood, and West has just received her notice to kill her Alt"--Provided by publisher.

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