Author: Elsie Chapman
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Acquired Via: 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.
In Dualed, we are brought into Kersh: a city-state in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been left infertile. The Board - the governing body - somehow has managed to find a way to create/grow human clones in labs two at a time. Every set of twins (or Alts) are separated at birth (hatching?) and each baby is raised by a different family. They never meet until the time comes for them to hunt down and kill their clone upon their activation. You see, the Board teaches that the survival of Kersh depends upon the strength of its population, so only those who kill their Alts are worthy of living there. This world-building is interesting, but it left me hungering for more. It seemed like there were holes in the story and zip-aheads (you know, when you fast forward in time - roll with it) that confused me a bit. When it came to other aspects of the story, I could suspend disbelief enough to believe Kersh wanted to be a land of killers, but I wanted to read more about why the Board activated certain individuals when they did. I also wish there would have been more showing of the parents and how they dealt with the loss of one child, but having another walking around, genetically the same.
The writing itself in Dualed was gripping, but I did have a bit of trouble connecting with the characters. West Grayer is a young girl surrounded by death and loss, and I think she is a fair representation of that. She is withdrawn and pushes away anyone who attempts to get close to or help her. I think this included me. However, West was fascinating to observe (I never felt like I was there with her like I do in many books), and I enjoyed her interactions with Chord. My favorite thing about her was the doubt she felt about being the worthy one, being as she was a hired assassin for other people's Alts. As for West's Alt, I wish I could have known her a little better. We were only given brief glimpses of her life, and mystery does not always translate to villainy.
After it's all said and done, I have to applaud Elsie Chapman for Dualed. There were times that I was left scratching my head because of the pace, but I never felt the urge to put the book down. I think the strange and broken future world that saw kids killing kids on the streets kept my attention trained so completely upon it. I knew from a few chapters into the book that it may not be for me, but Chapman had me and wasn't going to let me go. And though I know that Dualed's sequel, Divided, will be coming out next year, I found the ending to be completely satisfying. I'm a huge fan of Old School science fiction's open endings, but that's not the case with Dualed. I can't imagine that any readers will be left standing at the edge of a cliff begging for book 2 because of how it all wraps up. Then again, I just read the ARC, so there may be a huge twist at the end that I completely missed.
Teen or adult reader alike, I think you should read the book for yourself. It's so fast and action-packed, it's likely you will forget that you are reading.
Be sure to order your copy of Dualed today!
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About the Author
Elsie grew up in Prince George, BC, before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a BA in English Literature. She currently lives in Vancouver with her husband and two kids, where she writes to either movies on a loop or music turned up way too loud (and sometimes both at the same time).
She's repped by The Chudney Agency, and her debut novel, Dualed, published by Random House is out! The sequel, Divided, will be published February 2014.
She's also a contributing member of Friday the Thirteeners and The Lucky 13s group author blogs.
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Sarah @ The Book Life – Tour kick-off and Interview w/ Elsie
Jenna @ Making the Grade - Guest Post
Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves - Review
Anna @ Literary Exploration - Guest Post
Inky @ Book Haven Extraordinaire - Review
Joli @ Actin’ Up with Books - Guest Post
Sara @ Forever 17 Books - Review
Tara @ Hobbitsies - Guest Post
Lilian @ A Novel Toybox - Guest Post
Kayla @ Bibliophilia, Please - Review
Emily @ Emily's Crammed Bookshelf - Review
Michelle @ Passionate Bookworm – Review
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a digital eARC of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
This book counts toward my completion of the Debut Author Challenge.