Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Title: Dualed (Dualed #1)
Author: Elsie Chapman
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
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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.
Review by Nara

Wow, what an interesting and original premise! Look at that promise of murder! (Okay, those of you who've read my review of Hysteria probably think that I'm obsessed with murder. It could be true....) Seriously though, what a horrible thing it would be to have to kill someone who is essentially your twin. Although right now, not faced with the situation, I can say that I wouldn't do it, when put into the situation where if I didn't kill my Alt, I would die, who's to say that I wouldn't actually do it?

Dualed is quite heavy on the action, with an incredibly fast pace. I found that perhaps there was a bit too much action- although clearly this was entertaining enough for me to enjoy the novel, I would definitely have liked to see a bit more character development- particularly more interactions with the other characters and greater development of the romance.

I didn't really like the characters overall, and somehow the main character, West, was too distant, making it difficult to connect with her. At times, I didn't really understand why West acted the way she did. Even though the novel is in first person, I felt like I wasn't immersed in her thoughts- and perhaps this was done on purpose by the author- but either way, I didn't particularly like it.

In the novel, West becomes a "Striker", basically an assassin who deals with people's Alts for them. I found it interesting how West deals with the morality side of things- she could kill her own Alt or kill a strike (i.e. her target as a Striker), but shudders at the thought of killing an innocent bystander. What makes the Alt or the strike different to a random bystander? Particularly the strike- is it worth becoming a Striker and killing others just in order to prepare for killing your own Alt?

The ending was quite unexpected. Actually, pretty much everything went the opposite way I expected, which is good, but I still found that there was something lacking in this unexpectedness- normally I would be really excited that an author had managed to pull the rug out from under me, but there was something about the events in Dualed that just wasn't at the same level as a novel like Shadowlands (where the completely unexpected ending had me reeling).

I feel that you can tell that there will be a sequel as there are a few too many loose ends in this one. Although this seems like a negative review, I'm definitely still looking forward to reading the next one and seeing what aspects of the novel Chapman will be expanding on.

Liked it

Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 2/5
Cover: 3/5


  1. I remember thinking this book sounded interesting when it first came out, but I never ended up picking it up. The premise is definitely original and I like books that are fast-paced, but it's a bummer that you couldn't really connect with the lead. I may still pick this one up sometime. Great review!

    1. The premise is freaking epic! I really wish Chapman had pulled it off a little better because the book could have been absolutely incredible. Instead, it was a good book, just not a great one. I'd love to hear what you think if you end up reading it!

  2. I'm glad you liked this, Nara! I've heard some mixed reviews about this and when I finally got it, I was simply too busy with other books to finish it. I agree with you - the premise does sound very interesting so I might give this another shot! But the things you wrote about the characters makes me a bit hesitant. I need my characters to be good in order for me to enjoy a book... What do you say? Should I read it? :)

    1. Hmmm if you base your opinion of books mostly on characters, then I'm not 100% sure that you'd enjoy this one, to be honest. I personally don't mind if the characters are a little shaky as long as there's enough action and intrigue to keep me interested in the book. Maybe read it when you feel like reading something with a fast pace and lots of killing haha

    2. I'll remember that! Thanks! :)

  3. I hear that about the characters a lot, not many people seemed to enjoy that aspect and since I am a character-driven person, I'm not sure I would enjoy this one. However, the concept and originality behind the Alt concept seems like it might be too cool to pass up!

    Alise @ Readers in Wonderland

    1. The whole Alt thing is definitely an awesome concept! I'd probably say maybe give it a try if you want a quick read with lots of action. I do feel like Chapman will do some further character development in sequels though. (Or at least I really really hope she does haha)