Saturday, January 12, 2013

Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman


Title: Dualed
Series: Dualed Series
Book #: One
Author: Elsie Chapman 
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Source: ARC For Review 

My Rating: fullfullfullfullBlank
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. (taken from goodreads.com)
I've probably said this fifty times before, but I'll say it again: I love dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels. I devour them, even though most tend to blend together and are based on original, common concepts. When I was approved to review Dualed, I expected to find another Hunger Games wannabe. While the story does play on the same violent ideas as THG, Chapman throws in some other elements that made for a fresh and entertaining read. 

Most reviews I've seen for Dualed have been far from positive, which surprised me. People complained about the characters and story, saying they were boring and difficult to follow. I completely disagree. The story hooked me right away, and I couldn't stop reading. West Grayer (although a bit too stubborn and ignorant for her own good) is an interesting protagonist. She may try a little too hard to be a Katniss Everdeen, but I still rooted for her. 

However, it was the concept of Alternates that truly captured my attention. Maybe this is morbid of me, but systems based on violence and survival intrigue me. I couldn't help but imagine how I would handle every situation West faces. As Alts track one another, you never know when someone is safe. The suspense keeps you on edge almost 24/7. 

One of the reasons I didn't love the book was that I didn't understand why the city of Kersh and its traditions existed. I wish there had been more explanations- why were Alts made in the first place? Why are they even necessary? I had trouble suspending my disbelief. 

Overall, Dualed was an action-packed, addictive read. Even though I didn't adore it, I definitely enjoyed it more than most. I'd recommend it to anyone in search of more Hunger Games-eque novels! 

"To fight yourself and find a way to win is the greatest challenge for any soldier."