Book Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

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Title: Dualed
Series: (Dualed #1)
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Characters: West Grayer, Chord Jameson
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre Type: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publication Date: February 26th 2013
Publisher: Random House for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages:  304 pages
Source: Bought
Challenge: 2013 Debut Author Challenge

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer lives in the city of Kersh where only the best citizens are allowed to have good jobs, marriage, and families. In fact, only the best citizens are allowed to live. Ruled by the Board, a dangerous game has been created where only the strongest, and smartest survive into adulthood.

In Kersch, every baby is assigned a twin, a genetic Alternate version created by the Board and raised by another family. Each Alt must prove their worth as a citizen by hunting down and killing their Alt by their twentieth birthday. West has just received her activation assignment-she has one month to hunt down and complete her kill.

For the most part I enjoyed Elsie Chapman’s debut novel Dualed. It was fast paced, suspenseful, with good action sequences, and a small amount of romance. And yes, I did find it thought-provoking; I couldn’t help but wonder how awful it would be to live in society where you knew two of you existed and only one of you could survive. That every young adult is trained to be a murderer. What’s even worse, every child growing up with the fear of knowing that there is another version of them-waiting to kill them.

Although I could empathize with West about how terrible her situations was, I had trouble understanding the need for her to become a Striker, which basically is an assassin.  In fact, once she became a Striker, I really didn’t care for her as much anymore. Fighting for your survival against your Alt is one thing, but becoming an assassin for hire is another. Becoming an Striker (assassin) just seemed out of character for West, and really didn't seem to have anything to do with the main plot of the story nor advance it.

Whereas I didn’t care as much for the protagonist West, I thought Chord, the main supporting character, was very likeable. I thought Elsie Chapman did a great job portraying his strengths and weaknesses. Even though Chord was strong and smart, I had no trouble identifying with him. His fear and concern for West, along with his obvious love for her, made him seem a much more genuine and realistic character.

I enjoyed Dualed’s intriguing storyline, and thought it was a unique young adult Dystopian. The great action scenes and suspense kept me turning the pages. What I would have liked from the book was better characterization of the protagonist West, a little more world-building, and further development of West and Chords relationship. It will be interesting to seeing what Ms. Chapman has in store for us in book two. 

My Rating: 3 Stars

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