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Dualed by Elsie Chapman
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Dualed (edition 2013)

by Elsie Chapman

Series: Dualed (1)

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1853563,896 (3.36)4
Member:pnh002
Title:Dualed
Authors:Elsie Chapman
Info:Random House Books for Young Readers (2013), Hardcover, 304 pages
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Dualed by Elsie Chapman

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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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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Hmm. Not sure what I think. The explanation for the world/situation was clear, but it didn't seem that the MC grew or changed her view of the world. She just went with it and did what she needed to do and that was it. I didn't really like her as a person because of that. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
"They're Alts. Enemies from birth. And now one's dead, which means the survivor has completed his assignment. He takes off down the road, leaving behind his childhood, a past life so easily shed as a prisoner's jumpsuit."

In this YA dystopian thriller, the world has has fallen into war, but a small section of the northwest US, Kersh, has managed to block itself off from the warring Surround. However, since Kersh is always looming under the threat of war, The Board decides to make sure their citizens are the strongest and best fighters available. Although, they way that they do this seems just plain ridiculous. When two sets of parents are ready to have children, all four sets of DNA are combined and both mothers are implanted with identical eggs, twins or Alts, born to separate families. When the children are anywhere between 10 and 20 they are 'activated,' meaning that one Alt must kill the other or they both die. This is supposed to leave Kersh with the strongest fighters. Even though once you have killed your Alt there is nothing stopping you from becoming fat and lazy and unskilled. There are also hired assassins, strikers, that can kill your Alt for you, and, not to mention all of the other ways in the world a person could die are still out there, too. It is not covered in the book what happens if your Alt dies before you are activated, which seems to happen a lot when one Alt is trying to kill the other.

Anyway, 15 year old West is quite traumatized by all the death around her. Her siblings were all killed by their activated by their Alts, and now her father has just passed shortly after the death of her mother. Then her best friend, Chord, becomes activated and West makes sure he is the one to kill his Alt. After witnessing this, West still feels unprepared for when her own day of activation will come. Taking the advice of her weapons teacher at school, West decides to become a striker. A hired assassin, outside the law, who is paid to kill other people's Alts.

While the plot sounded really interesting to me, the world set-up and the rules just did not work for me. The rule that the world set up and for the reasons the rules were set up were clearly not working. Kersh wanted the strongest people for it's army, however, it may just get the richest, the sneakiest or the luckiest. It also did not seem like Kersh was ever actively in a war. It seemed like there would have been much simpler ways to go about training good soldiers, but that's me. West's character was slightly annoying, she wanted to be the Alt that did everything right; but she stalled out and seem to make a lot of mistakes. West and Chord's relationship was a mess. I'm not sure I've ever seen a 15 year old girl push away a guy so many times, even though she thought she was protecting him. Here is what I hope will be happening in the next book, since there is potential here: The world of Kersh is obviously flawed, hopefully West and Chord will begin to see that and push back against authority. West obviously has a rule breaking streak in her and is a good fighter, she might be able to go up against The Board. Let's see what Divided will bring. ( )
  Mishker | May 19, 2014 |
In the city of Kersh, everyone must eliminate their genetic Alternate twin, raised by another family, before their twentieth birthday. West Grayer, 15, has trained as a fighter, and has one month to hunt and kill her Alt. A tragic misstep shakes her confidence. Guilty, grieving, she feels unworthy, runs from her Alt and from love - both can destroy her.

West Grayer grew up in a happy home. For a time anyway. She was surround by beloved siblings and two loving parents, until things took a wrong turn one day. That was the day her mother became a PK, or peripheral kill; someone in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught between two active Alts and killed by a stray bullet in their Kersh-mandated battle to "be the one, be worthy." In other words to become complete and kill their Alt. Then her oldest brother Aave lost to his Alt thanks to alcohol slowing him down. Next was Ehm, possibly the cruelest since she was only 11-years-old, one one year into her training - while West and Luc were trying to figure out how to get her to safety her Alt caught Ehm crawling out her window to sneak over to her best friend's house for a sleep over party. After that West's father took half a bottle of sleeping pills and just left Luc and West on their own.

Chord, Luc's best friend, and also a friend of West's, was up next. He went active just after their father's funereal, he was still dressed in the clothes he wore to the funereal. Luc insists on at least driving Chord, and West insists on joining them. It ended up being a disaster with the survivors blaming themselves, and initially blaming Chord, even though West knew she was being irrational. It's just that it was Chord's face she saw pulling the trigger on the gun that killed her last family member, even when it was actually Chord's Alt who killed Luc. In her head she knows its wrong to blame Chord, but her emotions need some time to catch up.

After watching that mess, and knowing that both Luc and Chord had been in Weapons Training class at the school, something she was still too young for, West makes a major decision. She knows she needs more training and experience before she goes up against her Alt, and as she could go live at any time she can't just sit and wait to grow old enough to attend Weapons Class. She becomes a myth, an urban legend, a Striker. Strikers are contract killers hired by Alts with enough money to take out their Alt once active so that they need not do it. But everyone knows Strikers aren't real...

After some time and successful contracts pass, the dreaded day finally comes. West is active and has a month to kill her Alt, be killed, or, if neither succeed, they will both self-termination due to something written into their DNA sequence. In her family it was always assumed that of all the kids West would be the one to immediately burst into action upon going active, not freeze like so many new actives do - which is frequently their downfall. Without Chord rushing over after seeing a Board member leave her house West could have easily become one of those statistics. But he manages to get through to her, and she gets out of her house before her Alt can show up to kill her.

West continues to accept jobs as a Striker even while she's active, mostly to put off having to face her Alt. She has an irrational fear of her Alt. Her greatest fear however, is that Chord will become a PK, because he keeps following her around and trying to help her. And she couldn't live in a world without a last link to her family/her best friend/the man she loves. Not that she'd ever tell him she lives him. Instead she does her best to keep pushing him away.

Will West manage to pull herself together and face her Alt before time runs out for both, or before her Alt gets the drop on her? Can she handle the added complication that gets tossed into the mix? How will she keep Chord safely out if the way when he keeps finding her? And if she does survive to become a complete, will she be able live with herself and everything she's done to gain the advantage over her Alt? ( )
  Isisunit | May 10, 2014 |
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 |
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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.

(summary from another edition)

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