January 2, 2013

ARC Review ~ Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Title: Dualed
Author: Elsie Chapman
Series: Dualed #1
Publish Date: February 26, 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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.

When I first saw the cover, I immediately thought this is the kind of YA book I will like. I fel it. Then I read the blurb and I wanted the book right then right there. Didn't want to wait 'til February. So when I found it on NetGalley and requested it and actually got it.. I was in the clouds from the happiness.

Unfortunately I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed. Now, stop here for a minute- I'm not saying that it was bad or that I didn't like it. I'm saying, that it didn't quite live up to ALL of my expectations. There was something missing.

Let's be clear on something. This book is not for every fan og dystopian. But I think if someone is even a bit, deep down geeky they will enjoy it. I did. I loved the world its set in, I loved its society, its rules, even though they aren't pretty. Dualed set in a harsh world, where other than their families, people don’t really care if someone lives or die. And that's natural. Kids have to learn to fight so they could kill ther Alts later.

The story picked up with a good pace, West, the heroine and her brother witnessing an Alt completing his assignment. It's an everyday view. From then on, the reader learns how this society works piece by piece. And this is what I think you'll definitely enjoy if you're even a bit geeky. I especially liked that everything has a really simple name, like Alts, RK (Revenge Kills), AK (Assist Kills), completes - those who are completed their assignments, incompletes-those who are failed. Everything was simple, meaningful, and easy to remember but still perfectly fitting.

From the moment West leaves her home, everything is about survival. And that's where the pace is getting slow. West become a striker - an assassin paid by the filthy people, who are too afraid of or too weak to kill their Alts. The whole Striker community is a mystery, because what are they doing isn't allowed. Anyway, she gets a few contract, completes them, and here comes my first problem. They say this is the best training for an Alt who can't afford the Elite training. It's dangerous, yes, but by the time they get their own assignment at least they will know how to kill and will be prepared, won't freeze when the time comes. Plus it pays better than most jobs. Yeah well, I wanted to see more of this community and wanted to see more action when West goes after a strike-a target. But it happened either way too fast or it was too easy, or both. Didn't really see how dangerous this job really was and how it should help her when confronting her Alt.

I had the same problem after she got her assignment and went active - the Alts whose assignments kicks in. They have 31 days to complete, if neither one kills the other by the expiration date, they both will die by a self-detonating genetic timer embedded in their shared Alt code. West chooses to run away, keep doing the strikes, while her Alt is out somewhere searching for her to kill her. It was slow, nothing interesting really happens until she finally tries to kill her Alt (I really wanted to know her name, but we don't.). The twist there was a good surprise and it made pick up the pace again. But West's brain worked a little bit slow, so sometimes I was practically wanted to scream the only logic answer at her.

Then my other problem was with the logicality of this world. Because Kersh is the only "peaceful" city surrounded by constant War zones. And it sounds it's a freaking big city, but it looks just the opposite when West is on the run. So i didn't really see how this one "little" town can hold on.

I loved the names. Every character had a unique, unusual name, like West, Chord, Baer, Dire, Aave, Ehm, etc. I love when I don't have to read the same named over and over in different books. Also I liked their personalities. I even liked West most of the time, with her fifteen years old, she was a good YA character, maybe better than some adult.

OVERALL: So all in all, I think that the only think this book needs is more action, more excitement and more information about the Board and the Strikers and all the world. And I hope we'll get that in Divided, the second book. The title is definitely promising. I didn't regret that I picked up this book and I say maybe it's not a book you will want to re-read it hundreds of times, but definitely worth a read. And a movie. Yes, I think a movie would be extremely good. So where are you, big guns of Hollywood??

I recieved an e-ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you very much!
DhesiX Web Developer

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