Series: Dualed #1
Received: Received from publisher through NetGalleyRelease Date: February 26, 2013
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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.
There was quite a bit of talk about this book before it came out and I was really intrigued by the synopsis of it, a world where you must prove your worth by killing your twin. I really wanted to know more about this world and the characters that would occupy it. The book opened up with a huge bang, I felt like I was hit with a lot of emotions all at once as we realize all the people that West has lost in her life, and now she is close to losing someone else. I loved seeing what many people had to go through.
But following the opening, I really felt like the story slowed down quite a bit for a while, and I had a bit of a difficult time picking up this book. I just found that there was not much to the story, and there really wasn't any world building, I didn't know why the idea of the Alternates was brought about, and why there is this city of people raised to be violent. I wanted and needed more information to really understand this world and the characters that exist in it.
I also found there to be a lot of descriptions throughout the story as to what each place West was staying at looked like and the clothes she would wear each day. The descriptions definitely helped me picture the city but I felt that at times it was taking over the story and it made it difficult to get through, I am a person of action and can't sit through while everything is described. Not that this story didn't have it's fair share of action as well, because it definitely did! Which helped me continue on, this is a book about people continually killing their Alts all over the city so the action was definitely intense it just took time to get to it.
I will say that I loved West as a character in this book. She had her faults but she learns a lot about herself in the book. When she first receives her assignment, she does the only thing she thinks of, runs and hides, and we see her over the course of the month trying to decide if she really deserves to be the one to live. I found that West learns a lot about herself and that she develops over the course of the novel, learning that she can't run away from everything, and that trying to protect someone can still put them in danger.
This book was a lot different than I was expecting it to be, I went into this thinking it would be similar to many of the other dystopian books out there, but Chapman gave this book a different twist. DUALED is more about the characters themselves than the world that they live in, and I really enjoyed the uniqueness of this story. If you're looking for something a little different, this is a great book to pick up.