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Dualed #2


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The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .

West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.

The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.

How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published May 27, 2014

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About the author

Elsie Chapman

12 books355 followers
Hi there, Goodreads! I don't check messages or friend requests here. If you'd like to contact me, please find me at my website or on twitter. Thank you!

Elsie Chapman grew up in Prince George, Canada, and has a degree in English literature from the University of British Columbia. She is the author of the YA novels Dualed, Divided, Along the Indigo, and Caster as well as the MG novel All the Ways Home, and co-editor of A Thousand Beginnings and Endings and Hungry Hearts. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, with her family.

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5 stars
417 (26%)
4 stars
541 (34%)
3 stars
449 (28%)
2 stars
138 (8%)
1 star
41 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 234 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,976 reviews170k followers
June 4, 2020
call it a 2.5

ranganathan, don't fail me now!

so this might just be one of those YA books that doesn't make it into the crossover appeal basket. and that's fine - these books have an intended audience and i am way older than that audience and just because many books geared towards teens have gotten very sophisticated and challenging these days, it doesn't change the fact that they were written with a different age group in mind, one which is still rosy with youthful glow and able to accept certain things without question.

but for me, this world just doesn't make sense the way it is written. and i have read and enjoyed plenty of books whose world-building was implausible. i'm looking at you, divergent. but even there, veronica roth eventually, in the second and third parts, explained some of the things that made no sense. and this book also offers explanations to sort of mitigate the head-scratchers from dualed, but even these didn't work, for me. there are just too many variables, too many moments where i was like "well, but if they can do that, why wouldn't they just do that instead of going all roundybout?" and "how does this system prove anything when this and that can happen to so easily undermine it?" basically, everything i mention in my review for the first book plus more, new confusions.

so, bee in my bonnet and this not working for me aside, let's just get into the more useful, readers' advisory bits.

the book has plenty of things to appeal to its audience

1) strong female lead who isn't all superhero infallible, but makes real human mistakes and has emotions and moral conflict.

2) many satisfying action scenes.

3) romance. if there is a moment for these two to kiss, they will take it. so much earnest, tender kissing.

4) male lead who is both strong and capable but also sensitive and respectful. and who overlooks a lot of character flaws and tiny betrayals in his woman.

5) good cliffhanger, paving the way for the next book, which i will probably also read, because it is opening the door to new territory. literally. and maybe that territory will make more sense to me.

so, for me - no, but reading other reviews on here, it is clear i am an outlier, and no one should ever allow their mind to be made up by a stranger.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Courtney Wells.
112 reviews413 followers
April 8, 2015
Better than the first book in numerous respects, especially in expanding on the world-building and premise. I had a love-hate relationship with the whiplash pace for conflict and plot twists because it did keep me guessing and really squeezed a lot of story into a book its size.

My issue - which may just be a personal preference - West subverts or side-steps problems almost as quickly as they're introduced, which diminished my satisfaction or ability to feel suspense for a tense situation. It also seemed like a stretch that a 15 year old who showed limited skills for confrontation in the first book and suffers from debilitating PTSD in this book world have the wiles to keep out foxing people far more determined than herself.

So the bottom line is it's better and more action-packed than the first, West is more proactive, world-building is there, writing is still gorgeous but the plot tests your suspension of disbelief at times.
Profile Image for Trisha.
4,607 reviews159 followers
February 13, 2017
so...small confession. I was not a fan of book 1. I'm not sure, it just didn't seem to explain enough of the world or the reasons. So I started this one completely ready to hate it.


My issues with book one and the lack of explanation are FULLY covered in this one. World building, history explanation - everything.

Which left us, instead, with a kick butt Main character West. She's done striking and trying to get back to life. But the striking world just doesn't want to let her go. She's lured back in by an unlikely person who makes promises and silent threats too large for West to ignore.

But West is also handed a new weapon. And after a visit to Dire, West isn't so sure she has to do these new contracts exactly like before - there may be a new option now.

This is a fast paced, heart-thumping read. It had characters that were believable and a story that FINALLY answers all the questions from book 1. If you didn't like, liked or even loved book 1 - THEN DEFINITELY DON"T MISS THIS ONE!!! YOU'LL LOVE IT!

Just trust me :)
Profile Image for Ashleigh.
913 reviews13 followers
February 20, 2014
4.5 Read as digital ARC.

The Dualed/Divided world is a strange one, and Chapman deserves major credit for creating it in a way that actually makes sense once explained. This series is pure greatness. The action! The alts! The angst! All contained in this one city, the tension is high, and I am loving it. There are a lot of emotional elements at work here, and you'll no doubt end up asking yourself, "Would I be worthy? Would I be the one?" Among other questions. So good.
January 20, 2015
This was a pretty good sequel. I didn't love the first book, but I did enjoy it. This one wasn't quite as enjoyable, it took a bit longer to get into, but again in ended up being another pretty fun, interesting story. Only giving this a 3 star rating due to how I don't feel too attached to the characters, and the ending felt rather mediocre, with no real resolution. However, it was enjoyable, and if there's ever a 3rd book, I'll most likely read it.
Profile Image for Sarah.
217 reviews52 followers
January 8, 2015
Last week, I got an email from Netgalley informing me I had been pre-approved for the second book in the Dualed series by Elsie Chapman. I remembered reading the first book in the series and it not really being for me, but I decided to give Divided a shot anyway. I am so glad I did. All the problems I had with the first book have all but disappeared, leaving a suspenseful, exciting, thrilling story that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last.

In the first book, pacing was a real issue. Scenes felt either over-described or glanced over--there was never the right amount of detail. Not an issue in Divided. The plot moves along at a good clip, but not so quickly that you feel like you're missing out on information. The action scenes in this book are particularly well-described. I found myself cringing at every slash of a sword and waiting anxiously as West peered around each corner. And the plot twists just kept coming, one right after the other, each more shocking than the last.

In addition to the plot improvements, we are treated to a good amount of character development and world-building in this second installment of the series. The economy and society were fairly well sketched out in the first book, but the second book really does a fantastic job of filling in all the holes and making West's world feel real. Along with the world improvements, West and her companions are given much more well-defined personalities, and the relationships between them are fleshed out as well. I am not saying that the West-Chord romance is the best thing I've ever read, but it is definitely more believable than it was in the first book.
Really the only aspect of this story that drove me right up the wall was West's friend Dess. He has the uncanny ability of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, of making all the wrong decisions, and at the same time having little-to-no character development of his own at all. He speaks in cliches, acts in the most predictable and annoying fashions; he is little more than a glorified plot device that likes to whine.

Overall, Divided was a huge surprise. If you read Dualed and liked the premise but not the execution, you have got to pick up Divided. If you haven't read Dualed, but are intrigued by the idea of a Spartan society where you must kill a clone of yourself in order to survive, go pick the first book up now and trudge through it and then read Divided. I promise it is worth it.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,202 reviews24 followers
May 15, 2014
Received an advance ARC via Netgalley, the opinion in this review is of course my own.

Oh where to begin?

At first I really thought this book might get 1 maybe 2 stars, I felt it was slow and something just seemed off to me. Actually the more I thought about it the more I felt like the plot was about to be recycled from other stories.

Then the story got good, really good and I knew without a doubt I would be up pretty late reading the story.

Like the first book West was kinda on my nerves, but she is a 15 year old girl, and I am pretty sure every 15 year old girl (including myself) makes some pretty dumb decisions.

Which is the premise of this book, West makes a pretty bad decision which leads to the events of Divided.

I was happy to see that Chapman dived into the world a little bit more, and we learned why the world is the way it is. That was my biggest issue with the first book.

Our characters live in a world that society requires them to battle their clone to the death.

Why? Why clones? What happened? This makes zero sense...

Those were the constant questions that went through my head.

They were answered in this book, and believe me it is a pretty solid answer, one that hooked me enough I am going to read book 3.

This is an action packed book and believe me when I say you will have moments that cause you to groan and say "really West Really???" but a the same time you will have moments that make you say Didn't see that coming.

It is an action packed adventure that I am glad I am riding on.

Profile Image for Isis.
537 reviews26 followers
May 23, 2014
I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House BFYR for granting me the opportunity to read eARC in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review.

The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .

West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.

The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.

How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.

In the sequel to Dualed, West Grayer does some emotional maturing, all the while struggling to reconcile her past with her present and future. For West had gone rouge, becoming a Striker to gain the skills she needed to survive when she became active and was pitted in a life and death battle with her Alt. And while those skills saved her life, she's feeling guilty in retrospect, having bought in to the propaganda the Board spews out about the Alt competition; the entire point of the Alts competing until only one remains is to eliminate those who would not be the best potential soldier should those from the Surround ever attack, as Kersh has limited supplies and must use them accordingly.

She has taken a job as the Weaponry Assistant at her school, teaching with Baer, the person who led her to Dire and becoming a Striker. And she and Chord are spending more time together than apart. Plus she's seeing a therapist for the nightmares that haunt her. So altogether life is pretty good now that she's a complete. Silly West thinks that she is done being a Striker - she told Dire she was out and he agreed, though he wished she'd stay considering how good she'd become. However it seems the Board is not so willing to let her walk away from something they supposedly know nothing about.

Bastian is a Level One operator for the Board, the top of the heap. And he's contracted West for three more Strikes in exchange for fixing it so that any future kids she has will not have Alts. West really doesn't want to do it, but he bullies her into it, including preying upon her guilt of possibly weakening Alt by being a Striker and therefore not necessarily allowing the worthiest person to survive. She has 24 hours for each 'contract' he will send to her directly. She thinks that he is doing this to protect Kersh and his kids, like any parent with the power would do. West negotiates for a prototype of a new weapon that kills painlessly if used correctly, which Bastian grudging yields to her, giving her only three pieces of ammunition for the gun, so she has to be perfect each time.

Her first two hits go smoothly, but her third gives her the shock of her life. The third isn't an Alt, or an idle like the first two, he's a complete. So now she must protect him until she can figure out what the Board is up to, and the clock is ticking. She's going to need all the help she can get to survive this challenge.

The energy and action is smooth and engaging in this sequel. Watching West begin to grow up and start making some smarter decisions is nice, but she still falls back into her old pattern of trying to do it all alone. And that means more lies told to Chord, the man she supposedly loves and trusts with her life.

The thing that surprises me is how Chord keeps putting up with all of West's lies. She lied her way through book one, then swore she'd never Strike again. OK, so she meant it at the time, but when faced with an offer she couldn't refuse (both for her future kids and because the Board would likely kill her if she declined the offer since she knew too much at that point) she doesn't think to ask for help. She starts lying again. Sure she feels badly about it, but not enough to stop. Which is why I don't understand Chord staying with her knowing he can never trust if she's telling him the truth or not. It doesn't make sense to me, especially after all she put him through in the first book.

But that issue aside, the ending of this book is jet-fueled action and suspense, and will keep you turning the pages to the very end. The quagmire of past and present colliding, as well as the answers to several mysteries being revealed will suck you in. And the final gauntlet that West, with the help of her friends, must pass through contains some truly compelling action scenes, with serious thinking on her toes if she wants to survive. Can West drop back into that cold place that makes her such a good Striker, and then stop herself in time? Will she be able to come back from the edge before she plunges to far over? And will there be anyone left in her life even if she can? The answers to these questions and more will be revealed in this book, but there is still enough material to head into a third book should Ms. Chapman decide to travel down that path, blazing a trail for the rest of us to follow. And follow we will if she does write a third book in this series.
Profile Image for Erin Arkin.
1,657 reviews355 followers
April 19, 2014
Ahhh..this was so good!

Divided by Elsie Chapman is the second book in the Dualed series. It picks up shortly after the end of book one and I found myself yanked back into West’s world and I loved it! I though Chapman did a wonderful job of building out more of these characters as well as the world they live in.

West is now a weapons assistant to Baer at the high school and she helps with the student training. She is also in a relationship with Chord and trying to get on with her life. As part of her Post Completion Treatment, West is seeing a counselor to help her cope with the nightmares and aftermath of defeating her alt. While on her way home West is approached by a Board Operator and immediately worries The Board is coming for her because of her previous work as a striker. West is taken to the Board’s headquarters, and introduced to a Level 1 operator who asks her to do something she would never consider doing…under normal circumstances.

Let me pause here to say, there were times where I just wanted West to lean on Chord and not internalize every darn thing. I get it, she was trying to protect him and not get him involved but in the end, by keeping the secrets she only created larger issues. Chord clearly loves her and will do just about anything for her and that may be why she tried to keep him away from everything going on but again, she should have told him from the beginning what she was doing.

Ok….it turns out the Level 1 operator goes by the name Sabian and he offers up a trade. In exchange for her help killing the Alts of some Level One children, she can get something for the future…the lives of her children, free and clear. Clearly Sabian knows about her past as well as Dire Nation but he and the Board let it continue because it hasn’t hurt them in any way yet. Despite her misgivings, the opportunity it too good to pass by and when she does agree to the work, she also barters to have her striker marks removed.

Here is where the action starts and honestly doesn’t really stop until the end of the book. As West is hunting down these idles, she comes to find out more about Kersh, its founders, and some secrets the Board would probably kill her for if they knew she knew them. I feel like I can’t tell you much more without giving anything away and I really don’t want to do that because you should experience everything. Just know that there is danger and fighting and definitely kissing.

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I do love the characters in this series. Starting with West, she is strong and protective of those she loves. She will do anything, including sacrifice herself, for the people who are important to her. She’s also smart…she isn’t perfect though so she does make mistakes.

I liked learning more about Dire and Baer. Both are difficult guys to get to know but as we learn more about them, I understand why they are who they are and do what they do. They do truly care about West and she has a great group of people supporting her.

Chord….where to start. He is perfect for West in that he truly loves her and cares about her but he also isn’t afraid to call her out on something when he knows she did something wrong. AND even if he does disagree with something, he still completely supports her decision(s). He truly wants what is best for her and wants to keep her away from all the bad things in the world but he has come to realize that he can’t really do that in the world they live in. No question, he is one of my favorites and has made the swoony book boyfriends shelf.

In addition to a great story, there is a lot of action and some wonderful characters. If you enjoyed book one of this series, I definitely recommend you check this book out as soon as you can. Chapman did a fantastic job of pulling me back into this world and I couldn’t put this down until I finished. I look forward to more from her and while I can’t see another book listed, I’m hoping more of West and Chord’s story.
Profile Image for Brooke ♥booklife4life♥.
1,041 reviews87 followers
May 30, 2016
**Short "end of the month" Review**

Well, again, i have the major freaking issue. If this was me, i would take half the city out when i went to kill the other person. I would think the funds they would need to do clean up far outweigh the "balance" they are achieving by having them kill 1 freaking person.

That issue aside. Why would the government ask this girl who has done NOTHING but cause trouble for them to kill for them. They honestly think it would go right?! Come on. I see the problem there.

Then there is the writing. Every time a issue or conflict is presented, we either jump to something else or it's so quickly resolved, i don't even notice we were having a problem.

Also they spent too much time explaining stuff from book 1 again, not needed.
Profile Image for Cassie-la.
523 reviews64 followers
May 27, 2014
REVIEW ALSO ON: http://bibliomantics.wordpress.com/20...

When I last left protagonist West Grayer, it was in the novel Dualed , which while strong in premise, completely missed every single mark possible in terms of execution. Ultimately, a world in which two versions of you are brought into the world through some genetic mumbo jumbo (different parents are each pregnant with, give birth to and raise a different version of you) and only one can survive was an intriguing one, but author Elsie Chapman completely ignored all the interesting themes and questions her novel brought up. So much so that I demanded a reboot. Hey, if Hollywood can do it, why can't the literary community? Said no one ever.

Sadly, while I hoped my worries about the sequel would prove to be unfounded, Divided suffers from the same exact problems as the original, and once again chooses to glance over all the interesting ideas it poses to make room for a tepid romance and an even thinner plot. What even?

After having killed her Alt and living to completion (which just means being able to eat food that is more meat than non meat), Grayer is suffering from PTSD (a la Catching Fire) but only when its convenient and is busy training Idles to learn how to survive long enough to become Completes (see also The Hunger Games). She is also trying to readjust to her new life post kill by attending school, learning math, how to portion allotted food and water and how to be a well adjusted, not murderous member of society. As with other Completes, she must also man the barriers of Kersh once a year for five years on a tour of duty.

You would think there would be no plot here, and there isn't, so Elsie Chapman invents one where West is hired by a Level 1 Operator to kill the Alts of other Level 1 Operator's kids. In exchange, West is promised that her children will never have to face their own Alts and the trackers that mark West as an illegal Striker (read: hired assassin) will be removed. Because there's no one else more capable of completing this extremely difficult job except this one teenager?

If this book is about anything (which is a serious stretch), it's about further fleshing out West's world: the world of Kersh, which we learn was created by the Founders: Cris, Jackson and Tamryn. Dissatisfied with the never-ending wars in the United States, the Founders claimed land in the Pacific Northwest (presumably by putting a flag in it) and erected an electrified barrier around the land now known as Kersh.

The Founders created Alts when they began running out of space and resources, in order to ensure that they had the strongest citizens possible to protect them from the Surround. So obviously creating two sets of the same person to deal with this problem and force them to fight to the death is the best possible solution. Also, because everyone in Kersh is sterile and needs the government to help them procreate thanks to some pesky complications with a universal cold vaccine. Unfortunately, Chapman waits until the end of the novel to remind readers of this plot point. So too bad if you merely forgot about it.

The Board, AKA the Post-Completion Department also plays heavily in the novel, specifically the overly devious Operator Sabian who hires West, a former Striker who illegally killed others Alts in order to train for her own assignment one day. Specifically because she was too poor to be able to train otherwise. I'll get to that problem later. Operators are broken into three divisions, Level 1 which focuses on political matters, Level 2 which is military and Level 3, formerly of the science division. Operators children are born into their parents positions and the only way to move up in rank is if a Level 1 becomes Incomplete, prompting a Level 2 recruit to take their place. This will eventually be important because reasons.

The structure of the Board represents the class differences that Kersh suffers with throughout the novel. In order to ensure their survival, the rich are able to hire Strikers (even though Assist Kills are illegal) and the Operators are able to erase illegal hires so that their own children don't have to fight -- completely undermining the system that Kersh is built upon.

Even more confusing, the Alts of Peripheral Kills (Idles killed by other Alts incidentally) or Idles who die a natural or accidental death are viewed by Operator Sabian as not worthy of being citizens. Which seems to go against the idea that artificial selection is used in order to give Kersh the strongest citizens possible. According to him, Completes created by artificial selection are good and natural selection are bad. Why even nitpick? A richer Alt is not necessarily the stronger one, but since they have better advantages and more resources than their poorer Alt they are more likely to survive. And somehow in Kersh this is more acceptable than the strong surviving because they're stronger to further ensure the survival of society. Not that Chapman dwells on this at all.

Painfully, Chapman also refuses to address the implications of creating a society solely of killers. What does it mean when your entire world is made up of murderers? Besides the fact that it creates a corrupt government not beyond breaking its own rules to get what it wants for itself. Even if it means putting their own needs above those of Kersh: a place that needs citizens to be the strongest them they can be in case of war from the Surround. Not that we are clued into what this threat is or if there even is any.

Basically, we know nothing.

On the plus side, the novel gives us a brief glimpse at the true origins of Kersh (that one time), which while intriguing are ultimately glossed over for reasons unbeknownst to me. Probably because the tale of West Grayer and her super hot boyfriend Chord were considered far more important. I can't help but disagree.

The YA tome also introduces an intriguing new plot device: the Roark gun, a dangerous prototype still in the planning phases which uses poison to kill a target quickly and painlessly if hit in a pulse point. If you miss, the intended is melted from the inside out. Slowly. Thankfully for West and the plot, she learns that hitting someone in the eye with this device will erase their Alt code, turning them into an Incomplete while still allowing them to live. Just without an identity. Also forcing them to escape into the horrifying Surround. Again, not that it's necessarily dangerous.

This idea of an in-between human (neither a Complete or an Incomplete) is an intriguing premise, which is probably why Chapman chooses to ignore the implications of dealing with "non-humans" and never brought them up ever again.

I was sort of hoping that these two issues (as well as the others I've harped on) would be discussed in a third book, but Chapman has revealed that the series will end with Divided since this is apparently a "duology." Ugh. Is that a pun? That's a pun, isn't it?

You know what would have been better? A version of Dualed told from the perspective of West's Alt so we can more fully explore the class differences and broader themes of this series. But again, that would be ridiculous.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,220 reviews1,650 followers
October 7, 2014
Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

For more reviews, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.

I’d actually decided not to read Elsie Chapman’s sequel to Dualed. Though I did enjoy Dualed (I was one of the few), I also was aware of its flaws and unsure whether I could overlook them again. However, Divided arrived unsolicited from YABC, for the very reason that I was one of the only people who read and liked the first book in the series. As such, I decided to give it a try. That turned out about as well as could be expected. Elsie Chapman’s Divided has a few things to recommend it, but the shitty world building is insurmountable.

Divided falls into a subsection of dystopian novels written based on a really cool hook. Some author asked themselves “what if society made you do THIS?” and then they run with it. In theory, I love the idea of having to face down yourself. The concept is dark and creepy and it’s a good hook. Unfortunately, something being good in theory doesn’t make it good in practice. The compelling hooks that get these books picked up by publishers and anticipated by readers are the same things that keep the books from ultimately being particularly good.

Recently, I wrote a post on books that I think are placed in the wrong genre and listed Dualed among them. As I said, the idea has merit. However, placing this idea in a futuristic US means that it needs to be plausible in our world with the rules it functions by. Perhaps, had Chapman done something more speculative (think What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang) and set Dualed in some sort of alternate universe where everyone was born a twin because that’s just how the world worked, the world building might have been believable. Unfortunately, as it stands, it’s not.

In Dualed, I was able to sort of turn my brain off and not think too much about the world building, to let that slide somewhat and still enjoy the book. In Divided, I really couldn’t do that. Where Dualed had a paragraph of world building and then went off to play with action and stuff, Divided really wants to legitimize the world building. Chapman is trying to really explain the world she created and give more details. This does not, however, manage to make the world remotely believable and kept me from being able to ignore the illogic of the whole thing.

The world of Divided has a lot in common with Divergent on the base level. Both are set in a city, cordoned off by fences from a nebulous but dangerous outside world. There is, in both societies, a spectacular lack of curiosity about what’s going on outside the electrified fences and great fear of the people outside trying to get into the really terrible city. The first thing I find hard to believe is that no one tries to sneak out to the Surround. Heck, even in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, teens were sneaking out of the fences into zombie-laden territory because people are curious. They know there’s danger in a more real way than either the people of Divergent and Divided do, but they still want to know what’s outside. The lack of curiosity in Divided seems very unlikely.

Then there’s the whole concept. The people in the city are sterile. Thankfully, they have super science powers and are able to make babies with science. They decide to make everyone in twins (combining the DNA of four parents, each pair receiving one of the twins), who will then, at some point in their formative years, be activated and fight until one of them is dead and the other is “completed.” They set society up this way to limit the population, since a walled city doesn’t allow for population growth and to make sure that all of the adult population was tough and battle ready in case the scary whatever is out in the Surround should attack.

Let’s ignore the fact that the Surround has never once given any sign they give a shit about the people inside the fences. The problems with this are bigger than that. Most glaringly, why the fuck are these people worried about population control? The government is literally in control of all baby production. If they don’t make a baby, it won’t exist. Just make the number of babies desired and BAM the population is controlled. How about the strong population thing to face the nonexistent enemy? Well, they could just train all of their people on weaponry or build an actual military. If they’re determined to do the fight to the death to see who’s strong and tough thing, they’d be better off putting all the kids in an arena and having them battle until half of them were dead.

The alt system is flawed in so many ways, even by their own logic. Some complete by their alt dying of some other cause before they’re activated. This person then doesn’t have to prove themselves worthy of living in this shitty walled city. Then there’s the fact that both twins might be weak. Just because one managed to kill the other one does not make the winner the Hulk or Xena. All they’re achieving is making sure that most of their people are murderers. Plus, there’s also luck. The way the battles are set up, by which I mean they’re told to go find each other somewhere, anywhere, luck can easily win the day. They’re not put on an even playing field like an arena and told to compete. The weaker one could easily sneak up on the stronger and shoot him/her during sleep.

Then there’s the plot of Divided, which all hinges on West make an overtly stupid and not particularly West-ish decision. She agrees to kill three more alts on the promise of future favors from the Board. WITH NO WRITTEN AGREEMENT THAT SHE WILL GET HER PAYMENT. This whole thing is so obviously messed up. Chapman tries to make the comparison with West’s prior choice to be a striker, but it’s really not the same at all, motivation-wise. It doesn’t seem like something West would do. However, I guess if she didn’t take the deal, there wouldn’t be a plot, so you do what you have to, I guess.

For all that, I didn’t precisely dislike Divided. I do still enjoy Elsie Chapman’s writing. West is still delightfully closed off and unfriendly. The action scenes, based on illogical foundations though they may be, are still entertaining. It’s not a great book, but it wasn’t terrible, world building and plot aside. I don’t know. I considered rating lower, but I didn’t dislike it when it comes down to it. I fully believe Elsie Chapman could write good books, since her characters and writing are good, but this series isn’t it.

Unless you’re the sort of person who doesn’t mind at all if the world building doesn’t make any damn sense, do not read Dualed and Divvided. It will only make you sad and frustrated.
Profile Image for Jackie.
3,510 reviews113 followers
May 27, 2014
Book Info
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: May 27th 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers
edition language English
series Dualed #2
other editions (6)
Source:Netgalley EARC

Book Buy Links


Three started it all. One will end it.

Full of surprising twists, the much-anticipated sequel to Dualed delivers a fierce punch as West's decisions kindle rebellion.
"We need you to kill again . . . ."

West Grayer should be safe. But the Board isn't through with her. Somehow they know her past as an assassin, and they offer her a deal that's almost too good to be true: safety for her future children and a clean slate if she kills one more time. It should be an easy job. Except West recognizes her target: It's her dead brother's Alt—hauntingly familiar and yet a stranger. Someone is lying. Now West must uncover a secret that the Board would kill to keep quiet.

Goodreads Blurb

The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .

West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.

The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.

How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.

My Thoughts

Having only read the beginning excerpt from book 1 Dualed there is a lot of world building, character development and back story that I missed prior to reading Divided . A lot of this is covered quite well with intermittent flash backs, reminiscing by the characters and other avenues used to bring the reader up to speed as much as possible. You still miss quite a lot but I think that in the long run you get the gist of West Grayer’s background and can fill in some blanks without reading the first book.

Fifteen-year-old West is trying to leave behind her violent past and create a new future for herself with her boyfriend Chord. All of her plans come to a screeching halt the day she is contacted by a member of the Board and offered a deal that is too good to turn down.

This is a dark tale at times, it reminds one of author Suzanne Collins Hunger Games as just like Katniss West is given very little choice and also like Katniss she manages to overcome obstacles put in her way without losing her soul in the process.

Despite times of bleakness or perhaps because of it one becomes very invested in each development that leads West closer to the truth and also allows her to find a peaceful resolution to finally dealing with all the angst caused by actions in her past.

Though this seems to be the end of the story line the book leaves one with the feeling that it could continue at some point, personally it would work either way for me as satisfied with the ways things turned out for West.

[EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]
Profile Image for Eve (Functioning Insanity Reviews).
405 reviews17 followers
May 26, 2014
It was my great pleasure to receive another sequel to read and review thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children's. It was provided to me for an honest opinion and as I enjoyed the first book I was eager to read book 2.

Divided by Elsie Chapman is the sequel to the Dualed which I previously reviewed here. A dystopian series about a world protected from the Surround, the only catch to live in the safety you must prove yourself and be a killer. Each person is born with an Alt, an alternate them which upon activation both Alts have 30 days to find one another and kill. Only one can live if neither finishes both die. Only the worthy can live and protect the city if the walls should ever fall. A tough society. Everyone who completes is considered worthy and accept for few acceptations, a killer. Now from here there are spoilers for Book 1 so read on at your own risk.

In Dualed we left our main character West dealing with her completion and adjusting to what she did by becoming a striker, assassin for hire, to hone her skills and dull out the pain of losing the last of her family. Some may not agree with her choice. I personally look at it from an objective angle. I'm not in that situation, thankfully, and enjoy the ride. Besides if characters made decisions we wanted every single time there wouldn't be any story and wouldn’t be unique. Now West is done with that life, only the nightmares and marks to remind her. She has plans for her future with Chord, as a complete, making plans is more real and solid.

That is until a head honcho from the board, those who control everything, approaches West with an offer she can't refuse. Become a striker again for 3 unworthies for a chance at something much more precious. Is anything worth going back to that? And is there really a choice? What happens when she realizes she's been lied to and in order to secure her future she'll have to dig deeper to get to the bottom of things without endangering everyone she has left.

Much like Dualed this book is not only about the action and violence as it may seem but more importantly it's about ones struggle of self worth. West has been through so much and is just starting to get her feet on solid ground when the rug is ripped out from under her yet again. Life is all about the choices we make and how we live our lives.

As a character, West is different and I don't always agree with her train of thought sure but I can see her struggle with it and that back and forth with oneself. Still I like her and root for her get through it. See where she saw a choice given to her I didn't. I saw a threat laid out like a choice which is how I looked at everything that happened and sometimes when she would go through her rationalizations though I might not agree I still enjoyed hearing her ideas. Then you have the sturdy Chord who is her rock and you had to admit easy to love. He struggles with the past like West and with everything she does now but he loves her and he wants to be there for her even when he struggles to accept some things.

In Divided we get a better understanding of the world itself. Before it as about the Alts and the program to keep them all strong. Now we see more into that and how it came about, which was really interesting and have much more dimension. Seeing behind the curtain of the world and how it ticks and everyone works inside like bees of a hive. I give Divided 4-4.5 Stars. It had everything I expected in a sequel and I enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Yvette.
540 reviews33 followers
April 22, 2016
“What if actually believing you’re the worthy one is the only difference between winning and losing?”

Former assassin turned weapons instructor West Grayer offers advice to her student, but soon realizes that she too must believe in her own abilities if she is to survive yet another life or death battle. Only this time, the outcome will affect more than just her own life and she cannot afford to lose.

In her second novel of the Dualed series, Divided, Canadian author Elsie Chapman takes readers once more into the city of Kersh, where all inhabitants are controlled by The Board. They keep track of all fighters as they come of age with tracking devices or embedded code in their bodies, and perpetuate the tradition of pitting children against one another to determine which of the twins or alternate versions of the same person is more worthy to survive. It is the ultimate Darwinian experiment.

Our heroine, West tries to move forward with her life after finally becoming a “complete,” but suffers from an enervating guilt and is haunted by nightmares of the countless lives she struck down as a contract killer. Orphaned by the system, West clings to her boyfriend Chord and a semblance of a normal life until she is unexpectantly reeled back into one last contract hit for hire in exchange for promises never meant to be kept.

This novel ostensibly draws from La Femme Nikita and The Hunger Games in that the protagonist is a strong female juvenile trained to be a killer out of necessity and beats the odds that are never balanced in her favor. She sacrifices pieces of her own sanity, never quite losing her mind, but internally warring with herself over whether or not she is making the right decisions. Burdened with keeping her new assignment a secret from those she wants to protect, she endeavors to go it alone until circumstances change her mind.

Chapman explores the notion of how far will you go to protect your own children? The rogue board member, Sabien, who hires West to kill his children’s alternates, will not leave it up to chance to ensure their survival. And West is lured with the promise that her own future children’s survival will not be tested in a fight to the death if she completes the contract. Both Sabien and West want the same thing but who will get what they desire?

I enjoyed this story. It was a fun read! I was totally immersed in the epic battle that had me glued to my Nook. In my opinion, I would recommend that readers read the first book to better understand our heroine’s background and motivation. Divided delivers an action packed dystopian fantasy that will have you rooting for the underdog as she seeks to undermine the system that rules unequivocally over an oppressed people.

I was invited to read an ARC of Divided with an except from the first book Dualed through NetGalley for a review.
Profile Image for Jen.
1,847 reviews159 followers
January 4, 2015
Elsie Chapman, you have done it again with this sequel. It does not disappoint.

We return to the story of West Grayer, who now teaches weaponry at a local high school. She also attends the school. She is in a committed relationship with Chord, her dead brother's best friend. And they continue to live in a dystopian society where every person has an alternate, and when they are "activated" at some point during age 13-18, they must kill the other one. It is a society of assassins.

West was a "striker" in order to learn how to defend herself. This is essentially an assassin-for-hire; someone you can pay to kill your alt for you. It served her well, but is against the law and marked her for life. This doesn't matter to Chord but does play largely into the plot.

West is a fascinating character. She is private, logical, driven. She is able to evaluate a situation's politics and make good decisions as to what to do and why. She is sly, clever, detail-oriented. She is also able to defend herself well. And yet in spite of all these things, she admits to being terrified. She has enough wits about her to control her fear, though. And it's a good thing, because in this dystopian world, there is plenty to be afraid of.

While West tended to be desperate in Dualed, she is more conflicted in this sequel. Chapman balances West's drive with her conscience; West is haunted by the things she did in order to survive. When put in an impossible situation, the only thing she did that bothered me was to be unaware of the inevitable consequences of her actions. I knew what would happen, so shouldn't she? And yet Chapman is able to tell West's journey to the end so well that I didn't even mind. I wasn't really smarter than her, I just saw it coming. Perhaps West did as well, since so much of her thought processes were both hidden and revealed.

I did love the romance, which was grounded and consistent. West didn't trust anyone in Dualed; now she's learned to trust Chord and grows in her relationship with him. There are also other relationships which she views with compassion rather than the cold calculating style she had in Dualed. It is a natural progression for her character.

The plot is action packed and full of surprises. The fight scenes are stellar. The betrayals and details of the society are revealed, which accented the world-building nicely. It made for a great package that was both engaging and entertaining. The series would make a great movie.

I'm sad to see this dualogy end. The characters are great, the plot is great, the writing is great. It's got the total package. Thanks, Elsie Chapman, for the ride!
Profile Image for Heather.
482 reviews45 followers
October 3, 2015
**********SPOILERS IF YOU HAVE NOT READ DUALED****************************************************

Divided picks up a few weeks or so after Dualed. Life is back to "normal" for West and Chord. They are in a routine and things are good. From there, the novel is completely different from Dualed.

We find out the origins of Kresh, who created it and why. Who created the Alt. system, why it exists.
So many things are answered about the world that you might have had when you read Dualed. Completes are expected to serve time guarding the Surround which we learn about from Chord and a friend of West's. We learn more about the Alt code and how it works in the body. It is just an entirely different book.

West is conscripted into service by someone to do some dirty work. She trusts in the system and believes that some of the Alts she killed before may have been "worthy" so she wants to even up the score. She accepts the job against better judgement, against what her body is screaming at her, and against what she knows everyone else would say, all because she feels a need to make up for those Alts she killed when she was a Striker. What if they were the stronger ones and she has left the city vulnerable?

This novel is more of a head game. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of action, but a lot of it has to do with West and her conscience and what she can and can't live with. Again, I was stunned often to be reading something gritty and then have an almost poetic scene of beauty described in the midst of it. Maybe it's to show that there is something to live for in this almost impossibly violent and unsure world West lives in, when any moment someone she loves could be killed as an Alt fights with their other half.

I loved Dualed, the first novel in this series, but I think I loved this one even more. There was more strategy, more psychology, more action even than before. And yet, though the ending is complete, there is room for another book in the series. We have no idea what's on the outside. And what we discover about Kersh makes it even more interesting to know what's on the outside. I hope Ms. Chapman decides to write a third book in the series.

I highly recommend this one. There is a lot of violence as in Dualed. Use your own judgement about whether you can handle graphic descriptions of injuries, blood and death. It is an excellent book!

Thank you to the publishers for an E-ARC for review through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews63 followers
June 8, 2014
DIVIDED picks up several months after DUALED ends. West Grayer has moved on from her life as an assassin, and now teaches weaponry. But the government has discovered that she used to be a striker, and wants her to kill three teens to protect their children - and they offer her the motivation to go through with it.

I enjoyed DUALED, although I had some issues with it. The set up of the society made sense if I didn't think about it too long. Everyone is infertile, and born through genetic engineering. Everyone has four parents and a twin. Sometime during the ages of 10 and 20, you become active and kill your twin with the other set of parents, proving that you are more worthy of the city's resources and can join the army. (Seriously, that's just a way to end up with a seriously psychologically messed up population.) But if everyone is born through genetic engineering, just select for speed and strength and intelligence or whatever. I also had issues with the way the heroine's murder-for-hire was presented and the way it never quite gelled with her character. But I still moved on to the sequel.

DIVIDED does go deeper into the workings of the city of Kersh. It answers some of my questions about things being nonsensical, but brings up others. (Finally someone mentions that the surrounding populations must've figured out something to solve the infertile issue too, since it has been several generations and they would all be dead if they couldn't breed.) But the worldbuilding generally happens in the background of the plot. West's straightforward job for the government is much more layered than it initially appears.

In many ways, that works for me, because the plot does make sense. I could understand why the characters were doing what they were doing. I liked that the bad guy was paranoid, overreactive, and coldly murderous, but still a loving father. I might not have always agreed with the characters' decisions, but they were based on real human emotion.

Read DUALED and DIVIDED if you're looking for a plot-driven read with a crazily set-up society as the background. They're not bad, particularly not for dystopian fans, but not quite what I'm looking for in a sci-fi read.
Profile Image for Leila Reads.
75 reviews7 followers
May 15, 2014
Until about halfway through Divided, I definitely preferred Dualed and felt that it could have stood alone just fine, not as the first in a series. By the end of the book, however, Chapman added enough complexity to the story to make a series necessary given the nature of the young adult genre (keeping the books shorter and more easily digestible). And aren't these dystopian books always trilogies with past-tense titles (like Matched)? Score a million for publisher marketing departments.

But I digress... Anyway, I still don't like West a whole lot, and I don't think I'll ever buy her as a super-skilled dangerous assassin (maybe if the story weren't told by her in the first person, insecurities, weakness, and all). As in Dualed, the supporting characters were far more compelling and believable. Don't get me wrong, I still cared what happened to her, but she just doesn't give me the warm fuzzies. I guess she's like Katniss Everdeen that way. Snuggly as a porcupine, right? But no less interesting.

As expected, there are certain young adult dystopian formula elements in the story. The isolated society, the nasty conditions of membership, evil powers-that-be, and the allure of the world beyond the walls. I saw it all coming, and I'm sure you will, too. But that doesn't eliminate the excitement, or my desire to read the rest of the story, whenever it comes out. Chapman puts in a couple interesting twists, enough to keep me engaged.

While the Dualed series isn't the most awesome series I've ever read, it's definitely worth your time, as long as you don't take the premise too seriously. Just suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride.

Oh, and by the way, Divided does not reveal everything. Where would the fun be in having all the answers? Nowhere, that's where.

Take It

I received an advance copy of Divided from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ☼Bookish pam in Virginia☼ .
1,158 reviews46 followers
May 25, 2014
IF you liked DUALED you will probably adore DIVIDED. The wordsmithing is better and there are all sorts of plot twists and non-stop action that make this a fun read. Really, there's some good writing here with eye opening revelations.

For more mature readers I need to warn you that both books will require you to read with blinders on and the Suspension O' Disbelief Meter set at full speed ahead. If you ignore my advice you'll likely lose the momentum of the story every time some plot hole opens up and you pause to think... 'Whaa? That doesn't make sense. Wouldn't it be more likely that..." or 'that seems unlikely, wouldn't this be more logical'.

Personally-I was very much engaged until I hit the 77% point. I thought the world of Kersh was finally making more internal sense and West's character was finally hitting more solid ground. But then the proverbial deal-breaker appeared. A plot move that was just too concocted and weird for my poor brain. Many younger YA readers will no doubt calmly accept the challenge these events provide, but it was too great for me to grapple with.

--review copy

Profile Image for Keyreads.
219 reviews19 followers
May 22, 2014
More like 3.5

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Divided is the second novel in the Dualed Series by Elsie Chapman. I won’t go into a full synopsis as this is the second book in the series, but think of Hunger Games set in a City and you get the idea.
I actually enjoyed the first book more than this one. The action in Dualed was nonstop and I couldn't put the book down. Divided started right where Dualed left off, but I found it a little boring. It wasn't until the main character started to kick ass again that I really became involved in the story. A lot of burning questions I had from the first book were definitely answered in this one. I would have like more information about the world outside of the city, but I’m hoping a third book will provide that.
Overall, this was an entertaining read and I would definitely read more from this author.
Profile Image for Jillian Heise.
2,272 reviews481 followers
October 20, 2014
Just as suspenseful and action-packed as the first book, and none of the concerns with slower parts. I was sucked right back into this fast-paced story that had my heart pounding many times and was hard to put down. Divided jumps right back into the story with the aftermath of Dualed, and adds a twist to West's plans that has her questioning everything she thought was true. I enjoyed the larger roles of several of the secondary characters in this book as they all fight against time to solve a problem and learn what's really going on with the Board and their society.
Profile Image for Laurie-Ève.
79 reviews
August 19, 2016
I enjoyed it but that one isn't as good as the first book.
There are a twists and turns but they are not developed and well exposed. We have a twist and the explanation of this twist isn't brought by the author. The author lets us down. On the other hand, some twists were predictables.
West Grayer was a badass character in the first one. In this book, she was a little bit boring.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Melissa.
735 reviews6 followers
May 7, 2014
I liked this book, better than the first one. It was well paced and I have come to really like the characters. Every now and then I felt a little lost, had a hard time grasping the sci-fi parts and trying to remember the lingo from the first book. But overall, a good read, though you really have to read them in order so be sure and start with Dualed.
Profile Image for Kathy Davie.
4,654 reviews702 followers
May 28, 2014
Second in the Dualed dystopian Young Adult series set in an alternate history, one I hope never comes to pass.

I did receive this as an ARC from the publisher.

My Take
I would seriously recommend reading Dualed , 1, first as Chapman writes as if she expects you to understand some basics of the society in her story, and I have to assume that she spelled these out in the first installment.

Chapman’s put a nice twist on this dystopian thriller with a hint of Escape From New York, although Kersh’s inhabitants never did see the movie.
How sad that every child is brought up with the following as a mantra:

“Each one of them helps with reflexes, coordination, muscle strength. At all times you’ll need the three to defeat your Alt.”

I suspect Chapman’s world is more interesting for her lack of information, leaving my imagination to try and fill in the blanks or else she’d have to think harder. No, I haven’t read Dualed , which is probably part of my problem, but then Chapman should have written this so it could function without the reader having to read it. And I suspect this lack of info is coloring how I perceive this story.

There are no info dumps in here --- and, lol, no, this is not because Chapman doesn’t tell us much! Instead she gives us the background of a good variety of things as part of the story, so thank you for that. Unfortunately, she counters this bit of good news with a lack of show. I’m not feelin’ it.

If striker marks are so awful why does Grayer have them? I don’t understand why Grayer is so freaked out all the time. From what I can gather, an activation only lasts 24 hours or the Alts only have 24 hours to find each other and kill the other. Or, maybe they do have more time. It’s difficult to tell from this.

Julis’ words of encouragement and advice are good ones. Counsel that any of us could use in our own lives.

There’s a scene in which Chord is ordering pizza and West talks about not being used to being a complete in relation to what she can order. And I’m lost. She can have better quality food as a complete? Why? What’s the purpose of better? Wouldn’t it be more practical to ensure that an idle has good food so they’re at their best? What would she be allowed as an idle? There’s no sense of how the economy works. Supposedly she’s still in school and doesn’t work. Yet she’s appears to be an orphan, so who pays the rent, food, utilities?

It’s a series of tropes, some well used and some not. I do like the twist Chapman put on those assassinations West has to perform. I don’t really understand why West doesn’t talk to Dire about this new contract. He’d be able to give her good advice. And it’s not like he’d go blabbing it about. I do hate the trope in which one character keeps getting interrupted and can’t seem to progress beyond the first words or the apology bit. Why would the Board need to be kept safe from the Surround?

I’m confused about that comment West makes about Chord not wanting to be friends with his own Alt, the one who killed his best friend. If Chord is complete, doesn’t that mean his Alt is dead? So how could he be friends with him? Why doesn’t West text Chord about Dess finding out?

At least West is consistently stupid. She gets the black contract and doesn’t contact a soul. *major eye roll*

If Sabian’s daughter knows West has been hired by her father, then how can she not know she’s been hired by her father? I’m so confused by that exchange between Bryn and Chord. As for West, how lame is that “noble savage” trope West uses. How does West convey her location to Bryn?
”That part of you --- whether it’s technical skill or instinct --- that lets you kill is the same that knows when to show mercy. How you decide to use it is up to you.”

There are too many holes and too little information, combined with the lack of show, I’m not involved in the story. I’m not impressed.

The Story
West is enticed with an offer too good to be true: her future children will never have to face their Alt. All she has to do is kill on command. What she vowed she would never do again.

The Characters
West Grayer is complete and now working under Baer at Torth Prep. Aave, Luc, and Ehm are the siblings who were incomplete; Luc was Chord’s best friend.

Chord is complete and the man West loves. An incredibly patient one. Dess is a young boy whom West helped (his story must be in Dualed ).

Baer Tellyson is now the weapons instructor at the school. He was once a Level Three Operator. Quinn is Chord’s chem partner; it seems that Nash is in their class. Julis is a psychologist? a counselor? helping Grayer deal with her nightmares.

Dire Latimer runs Dire Nation, a shop that works as a front for his real operations, running strikers for money. Hestor is a duplicitous clerk in Dire Nation. Innes is a brilliant scientist.

Sabian is a Level One Operator who likes to work behind the scenes. Sabian’s kids --- Bryn and Hollis --- seem decent sorts.

Gracen Beck, Shaw Finley, and Auden Parrish are targets --- and Parrish is Luc’s Alt. A complete. His father is Meyer Parrish, a Level Two Operator.

Alts are twins, an Alternate version of each person. It’s a sterile society, and I’m guessing that people are impregnated or the children are test tube babies with the Lab creating the children, for there are always two who look alike but are raised by different families. There must be some connection as the parent-child relationship seems to be intense. The intention is for each pair of twins, the Alts, to hunt each other down and kill the other, to prove who is the best, who can face down their worst enemies. Rather barbaric…

A complete is the successful Alt, the one who killed her --- or his --- other half. A PK is a peripheral kill, not completed by his Alt. An EK is an early kill in which an Alt kills their other half as soon as they recognize him or her; it’s a criminal action. An incomplete is an Alt that didn’t survive their activation. I think an idle is someone who hasn’t been activated. A striker appears to be an assassin, not legal and subject to black contracts which are for those who overstep the rules. An activation is the signal for the Alts to drop whatever they’re doing and hunt each other. To kill.

Kersh is an isolated town, surrounded by a huge iron wall, protecting it from the Surround --- the rest of the world. Its current model was set up by its Founders: Cris, Jackson, and Tamryn. Cris became Level One, the political group; Jackson was Level Two and handled military matters; and, Tamryn became the Lab and was charged with the science of babies. Members of the Levels are Board Operators and feared by the rest. Level Three evolved from being intermediaries.

The Ronin Mark II is a Roark and delivers a variety of possibilities besides death, including removing any Alt code. Combined with Chord’s key-code disrupter, it should enable any Kershite to slip through the electrified barrier and get out of Kersh.

The Cover
The cover feels stylized and neon-y as a sword-bearing West faces a horde of her own Alts in the mirror maze...with Hollis racing up to her.

The title is how West feels, Divided by her choices.
Profile Image for Ashley Nordike.
47 reviews1 follower
September 10, 2019
While definitely an improvement over Dualed, I felt there was a lot of lost potential in this sequel. Many factors came into play that, while gripping the reader, eventually fizzled out or played out into nothing. The writing was still bland but fortunately wasn’t AS repetitive or annoying at times as much as Dualed. On the other hand, this book actually gripped me in suspense and even made me laugh a time or two. West’s abilities have greatly improved and while she definitely still makes horrible 15-year-old decisions, some of them aren’t entirely awful (and she actually fully takes opportunities rather than letting them slip by). All in all, I liked the book but felt it was an odd way to (end?) the novel/series. Seemed like an attempt to compete with Hunger Games/Divergent that didn’t quite hit the mark.
Profile Image for Misty Baker.
403 reviews131 followers
June 20, 2014
** As posted on KindleObsessed blog **

When Elsie Chapman’s publicists first contacted me about reviewing “Divided” I was quick to say yes. I hadn’t read “Dualed” yet (even though it had been out for more than a year, and I had it sitting there waiting for me) but I remember it’s synopsis and how intriguing it sounded. But it wasn’t until I finished “Dualed” a few days ago that I realized agreeing to “Divided” might not have been the best decision. Not because I disliked it’s predecessor. (Quite the opposite actually) but because “Dualed” was a completed (no pun intended) novel. There was no cliffhanger ending, not strings that needed to by tied, for all intents and purposes (at least in my humble opinion) a one and done, stand alone novel. There was no where left to go with West’s story. As a matter of fact, the entire concept of Alts that the story was built on was no longer an issue. A moot point if you will. But I had agreed to read it, and as a woman of my word (or at least I like to tell myself that I am) I picked up “Divided” and started to read. AND…for the first few chapters, my initial hesitation was completely justified. This book had NOWHERE to go. Then something shifted, and (excuse the language) shit got real! Suddenly West’s past came back to haunt her and her future began to taunt her. And just when I thought I had signed up for an inevitable “bad review” I was sucked in, and utterly enthralled.

"The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .

West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.

The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.

How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything."

If you read “Dualed” (or even my review of it) then what I’m about to say will probably surprise you. West (the lead character in Divided and probably one of the easiest characters to despise) is NOT the same person you were initially introduced to. Yes, she still sometimes acts without thinking of the consequences. She hasn’t stopped her lying, or misguided sacrifices, and no…she hasn’t stop her ‘flight” tendencies, but she HAS become decidedly more open and vulnerable. Which makes her relationships with Chord, Dess, Baer, even Dire a little easier to read, and a lot more believable. She is no longer the Ice Queen perched in her delusional ice castle, she is the girl who is finally starting to understand that asking for help is sometimes the best for everyone. Even if she doesn’t like it, and it was a last resort. You know….before getting killed. The shift in her personality sparks an entirely different road when it comes to the plot in Divided as apposed to the plot in Dualed. The most significant difference being that she does NOT spend the entire novel in solo situations. As a matter of fact, there are more supporting characters in the first two chapters of this novel than there were in the entirety of Dualed. Which means more dialogue. Which means more emotional connection. Which means a more well rounded feeling novel. (Do you see where I am going with this?)

The action of Dualed (which I LOVED) is still present in it’s sequel. But instead of it being a flat out sprint through the wards (illustrating the living conditions of West’s home) the focus is much more stationary, focusing on the wealth and opportunity of The Board. (ie: tours through restricted areas, spotlights on training facilitates, transportation, clothing of the rich…) There is also more detail concerning the world OUTSIDE of her homes walls. (Which I REALLY appreciated.) Descriptions like the following one helped me understand why exactly everyone felt the need to live in a world where murder was a viable option for life.

“…reminding me of pictures of old ships that used to sail the oceans before all the waters of the world became clogged with warships and wreckage.”

Other interesting plot points that I didn’t even BEGIN to think about in Dualed…

A) What Alt’s were REQUIRED to do AFTER they completed?

B) Who built the wall to begin with?

C) What happens if you try to escape?

D) Why do Dire and Baer hate each other?

I could keep going, but it’s safe to say…I was blindsided by my inability to think outside of the box. Thankfully, Elsie Chapman was not. And because she wasn’t, I got to enjoy a story I thought was incapable of existing.

I enjoyed Dualed, there is no doubt about that, but I thrived in Divided. Conspiracy theories, misinformation, love, anger…bombs. They kept my mind reeling and my fingers moving. I couldn’t wait to turn the page. I couldn’t wait to see West’s growth (however minute it was.) And on the last page when Chapman threw out a 3rd book bone, I was HAPPY! I want more of these characters. I want to see how they cope with their decision to “be horrible together.” I want to read more about Luc’s Alt, the eventual destruction of The Board. I want to SEE what’s on the other side of that freaking wall!!!

Here’s hoping you want to too…it would be a shame not to buy a ticket on this train.

Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: “Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.” – Alice Walker
Profile Image for pdbkwm.
346 reviews35 followers
November 2, 2015
Considering how disappointed I was with Dualed, I'm surprised by how much better Divided was...as long as you suspend your disbelief and just go with the flow. That's exactly what I did and found myself enjoying things.

It's still not perfect and the reader is left with even more questions by the end with no real resolution, which really sucks because Divided reads more like the second book in a trilogy and not the final book of a duology. Just when we got to the exciting bit, it ends.

There is still a lot of good in this book. I loved the Board and the fact that they used West for their own means. This sounds bad, but I kind of love it when the adult villains show these YA heroines/heroes that they're not exactly hot stuff. Sure you may be strong and smart, but you're still a teenager who lacks real world experience. This makes you the perfect target for manipulation, so I liked that Board manipulated West and that West fell for it. It may make her look stupid, but she's a 15-16 year old person who grew up believing that following the Board is the best thing to do. Add in the fact that she's currently suffering from PTSD and her actions seem believable.

Someone who is terrified of their present and lived in a state of survival mode will obviously agree to something that will benefit them and/or their children in the future. It just makes sense.

I also liked that the world building was a lot more fleshed out here. With Dualed, we weren't told much, but it seemed like Chapman enter into over drive in letting us know what was up. Granted, some of what we're told may come off as confusing. Like, why is there a need for Alts when the Board is the one in charge of making them? What's the point of Level One agents and a political system, when the Board's stance on things hasn't changed much since its creation? Why allow Alts to kill each other in the open, when placing them in a cage like room would serve as a safer bet for those who get hurt in the cross fire? The Board seems to know everything that is going on and there does seem to be some heavy security that is happening, so

Why is Chord not dead in this novel?

There are more questions, but I think you get the point. The more you think about the world that Chapman created, the more confusing it seems. I think that will probably be what makes or breaks the novel for a lot of people. After reading Dualed, I welcomed any new information that we could get.

I also enjoyed the fast paced nature of the novel. The writing style is a lot smoother here and instead of random time skips that occur in the same chapter, everything develops at its own pace, but it still feels high stakes. Maybe not high stakes, since the choices West made in this novel wasn't ever 'high stakes,' but the feeling of being on the edge of your seat was there....even if there wasn't anything really life threatening for West in this novel.

The only real downside I had when it came to reading Divided was Chord, West's love interest. He's a nice guy, which is great because a lot of novels seem to have jerks as the love interests and Chord is most definitely not a jerk. Unfortunately, he's a nice guy with no flaws. His main purpose is to prop up West and tell her that he loves her. He adds nothing to the story. Nothing. If he was dead, which I was really hoping would happen, or even non-existent then the story would still be the same.

Bleh. I really can't stand him, but if you like romance with a flawed heroine and a way too good to be true hero, then you might like this aspect of the novel.

I kind of hope that we learn more about the Surround and of the in-betweeners, because I really want to know what is going on with them, but alas a trilogy this is not. The ending is left open, so maybe a new series that is set in this world will happen. I'd be down for that and would definitely read it.

Overall: I found Divided to be a stronger book than Dualed, but it does feel more like the second novel of a trilogy and the world building is still confusing. The Board and West are great though and the writing is a lot better this round as well.
Profile Image for Daniel.
2,359 reviews37 followers
September 12, 2016
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.5 of 5

Divided, by Elsie Chapman, is the second book in a YA series.  I have not read book one (Dualed), though a sampler was provided by the publisher, through NetGalley, which did give me a little taste of what the series would be about.

What we have is a future/alternate world in which a community is controlled by a corrupt governing board.  All children are born with a genetic alternate ("Alt") twin.  To become 'complete' each youth must kill their Alt.  This insures that the children who succeed will grow up to be battle-tested and strong enough to be good members of society (survival of the fittest).

It would seem that our heroine, fifteen year old West Grayer, has already succeeded in killing her Alt and is hoping to move on with her life.  But some members of that board have other thoughts, needing West to assist in the elimination of other Alts.  She balks, but is made some promises which put her on a path she's never comfortable moving along.  When one of the Alts she's been assigned to eliminate turns out to be someone she recognizes...someone who is NOT an Alt but a 'Complete' ... she knows she's been set up.  Failure to follow through on her assignment means the board has issued a reward for her death.  West has to survive, and get some answers.

The book is pure teenage girl YA; filled with anger, angst, confusion, love, betrayal.  I'm pretty sure these are the ingredients necessary to make a classic YA book, and we definitely have them here.

West can't wait to start her private life with her boyfriend Chord, and while she's already planning having children with Chord, she hides everything from him.  She doesn't tell him what she's doing, or why.  But of course that's part of the YA-ness here...the fifteen-year-old making mistakes and not trusting in the right people, and thinking she can handle it all on her own.

West is a well-defined, though clearly flawed, character.  (Flawed is okay...we're all flawed.)  Chord is a bit of a patsy.  He clearly cares about West and is willing to do anything he can to support her.  Including not asking too many questions when he knows he won't get answers from her anyway.

The board members we meet are all appropriately slimy and grouchy government types.

Other friends and persons we come in contact with are generally not particularly memorable but serve their purpose and no one strikes me as poorly created, just not full of depth.

The story is very unique.  I read a lot of sci-fi/fantasy/YA and I don't recall a theme quite like this.  It's perfect for a YA book...I love the idea of survival of the fittest by the necessity of killing your own twin.  How perfectly manipulative!  And the reason West is asked to do the additional 'strikes' also comes across as very believable in this world, but what West learns in the process not only throws open the door wide for another book, but really helps identify what sort of world we are in and what West and Chord might have to deal with.

There's plenty of action, including an obligatory sword fight!  West is well-trained and the fighting action really keeps the story moving along quickly.

And while I enjoyed the book, there's something just a little bit hollow inside of me.  I don't know that I will take any of this book with me once I close the pages and finish this review.  I wasn't particularly attached to anyone here, and while I very much like the new-ness of the concept and the creation of the characters, this will never reach too high on my favorite books lists.  I will rate it well (3.5) and I can definitely see where it will get a decent fan base, but it falls short when compared to other books I've read recently in the same genre.  It just lacked that little extra 'kick' for me.

Looking for a good book?  Divided by Elsie Chapman has all the ingredients for a superb, classic YA book and keeps the door open for book three in the Dualed series.
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