Book Review: Dualed

Book Review: DualedDualed by Elsie Chapman
Series: Dualed #1
Published by Random House Children's Books on February 26th 2013
Pages: 304
Buy on Amazon

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.

It is hard to come to terms with a book that you have such high expectations for. The disappointment. The confusion. Where did it all go so wrong?

The moment I first saw Dualed's cover and read its summary, I was sold. A kill or be killed kinda world. You against the other 'you'. I was so excited about this concept. But from the early pages of Dualed, something felt off.

The beginning of Dualed was slow. Now, slow beginnings are okay when there is something to off set it. But sadly, Dualed did not have an extra layer to add to any complexity, which would have made the slowness of the beginning more bearable. Instead, readers are treated to snippets of highly watered down world-building moments interwoven into everything else that was going on.

Granted, the moments of world-building had potential. But the snippets were far too few to make any lasting impression of this world. Which is sad, because part of my disappointment with Dualed is that I never fully came to terms with why these people are fine with the way things are. Who are the Board? What is this war I keep hearing about? Why a city of soldiers? There are too many questions that have little to no answers.

But sadly, this is not the worse part of it. After the first half of the book is done, most of the questions that I deemed so important in the beginning began to feel pointless. The war, the Board, citizen soldiers, all these plot possibilities just disappear like they never existed in the first place. Why? Because the one person, our main character, West, who I thought would be fighting against this system, never questioned any aspect of her world. EVER. Talk about anti-climactic.

Final Verdict:

Dualed fell short in almost every expectation I had for it. The world-building was basically non-existent. The characters flat. I am not even sure with the lack of world-building and the lack of motivation against the system, if I can truly even group this read as a dystopian. Granted, the copy of Dualed that I read was an ARC, so there is a chance that many of the aspects that I have issue with could change in the final product. And to be honest, I hope it does. Dualed was not a horrible read by any means. In the end, I came to terms with my issues, and enjoyed Dualed for what it was… not what I had hoped it would be.

Will I read the next installment?

Books like Dualed make me question the need for series. There was no big happy bow on the ending, but at least there was closure. Although, there is no blurb yet for the next installment, I honestly find it hard to believe that West and Chord will be back.

West was an interesting character, but this government needs a challenger, and sadly, West is probably not the best person for the job. So, my two cents believes that with the second installment, readers will probably meet a new set of characters, and one of them may have the fiery spirit to finally start asking questions.

To answer the question: maybe. But it would be with plenty of reservations.

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One response to “Book Review: Dualed

  1. You know – I agree. I enjoyed reading this book but I had such high hopes for the world and I really felt like it wasn’t developed. I want to know how she all of a sudden because this great assassin out of the middle of nowhere? Yea, I’ll probably skip book #2, but I didn’t necessarily mind reading the first one. Just not enough to pick up the second.

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