Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: Dualed by Elise Chapman

By Elise Chapman
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher:  Random House Books for Young Readers
Source:  Publisher/NetGalley

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.

My Thoughts:  West Grayer is 15 years old and has grown up in a world where only the best survive.  Kersh, the city where West lives, is considered a safe haven in this dystopian world that has been ravaged by war, one of the results now being that everyone is infertile and unable to have children on their own.  The way the government handles this problem is that two sets of parents are chosen and the genes from all four parents are manipulated, resulting in a set of identical twins.  The twins are known as Alts.  Each set of parents receives one of the twins to raise, love, train, and prepare for what they must do in order to survive.  They are known as idles.  Then, sometime between the ages of 10 and 20 a signal or assignment is received by each set of Alts, from the government, causing them to go active.  After they go active, they have 30 days to find and kill their Alt.  The one who survives, then becomes a Complete.  The government's rationale for this process is that the weakest are rooted out in order for the strongest and best to survive, their motto being "Be the one, be worthy."  

West's family began with a loving mom and dad, two brothers, and one sister.  Now all that is left of her family is her and her older brother Luc.  As the novel begins West, her brother Luc, and his best friend Chord, who is 17, are together in a cafe when Chord receives his assignment.  What happens next causes West's world to spin out of control, leaving her barely able to hang onto her sanity, consumed by grief and an overwhelming sense of loss, even though she knows she must do what she has to in order to survive.  

In the academy they train at, the first three years are composed of basic combat techniques.  It isn't until years 4 and 5 that they are allowed into weapons training.  Luc has taught West as best he can how to use weapons, but she know she needs more.  Unfortunately, she comes from a poorer family and has no funds available for private lessons.  As fate would have it, she runs into weapons instructor from the Academy and he tells her about a secret covert group known as Strikers, assassins for hire, trained professionals, weapons and all.  Chord doesn't want West to join them.  West knows she must.  She must forget.  She must survive.  When West receives her assignment, Chord is determined to go with her.  It is obvious how he feels about her, but West cares for him too much to put him in danger.  She can't bear to lose anyone else, so she runs from him.  Thirty days is all she has, but is she ready to destroy her Alt, or will her Alt destroy her?  When the battle leads her back to own front door and threatens the one she loves and has tried so desperately to protect, will she have what it takes to complete the assignment set before her?

This novel is set in a dystopian world that has sort of a Hunger Games feel to it, only it's not a game.  I expected the novel to be mostly about the battle between West and her Alt, but the majority of it is about West being a Striker, the things she has to do as an assassin, and her month on the run after she receives her assignment, culminating in the final battle.  I liked West.  She was a pretty badass heroine, though her independent streak got on my nerves, especially when she kept shutting Chord out.  Her love interest, Chord, was a really great guy and it was obvious he was willing to do anything for West, just as she was for him, though neither of them had yet admitted their true feelings for one another.  It isn't until near the end, when things begin to spiral out of control, that they confess their love, but will it be too little and too late to do anything about it?  

One thing I would have liked to have known more about was West's Alt.  She was portrayed as cold and hard, though we really didn't get to know much about her, and I think if we had been able to get a glimpse inside of her head and thought processes, it would have added a lot more to the story. I would have also liked to have seen more about Chord and what he was going through while West was on the run, shutting him out.  The novel did have some intense action, danger, and a few sweet romantic moments, and did keep me intrigued and interested.  While this was a good novel, it wasn't quite on the level of The Hunger Games, though it is an action packed, dystopian futuristic thriller, with a little romance mixed it, which is always an important element in my book.  I did enjoy it and would recommend it, and I am looking forward to seeing where Elise Chapman takes this story in the next installment.     

Links:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Goodreads

About the Author
I grew up in Prince George, BC, before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a BA in English Literature. I currently live in Vancouver with my husband and two kids, where I write to either movies on a loop or music turned up way too loud (and sometimes both at the same time).

I’m represented by The Chudney Agency, and my debut novel, DUALED, will be published by Random House in February, 2013. A sequel, DIVIDED, will be published February, 2014.

Find me on TumblrFacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

I’m also a contributing member of Friday the Thirteeners and The Lucky 13s group author blogs.


  1. This book sounds really interesting. I've read a few mixed reviews on it. It has a Hunger Games feel to it even?! Hopefully, we will learn more about the missing "pieces" from book 1 in book 2. Have a great day!

    1. It does, though it is not up to the same caliber as the Hunger Games. It is good, but had the potential to be a lot better. I am looking forward to see what book #2 reveals. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I admit, I have been dying to read a review by a blogger that I trust! I so want to buy this on Tuesday but I haven't seen a whole lot of reviews. I am glad you liked it even if it lacked in some areas. I can only hope that means the next installment is even better.

    Great honest review!

  3. I have this one! I thought it sounded really good and I think it still does, but I do have some concern about getting annoyed by West, especially if she's shutting out her love interest, that drives me nuts! I guess we'll see when I read it!

    1. I hope you enjoy it. I'll look forward to hearing what you think.

  4. Even if it isn't perfect, this one sounds like a fascinating read! And i have a soft spot for dystopia, so there's that too. :)

    1. I love dystopia to, and it is definitely worth reading I will be be checking out the sequel also.


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