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The Hunger Games meets Matched in this high-concept thriller where citizens must prove their worth by defeating the other version of themselves—their twin.

Two of you exist. Only one will survive.

West Grayer is ready. She's trained for years to confront her Alternate, a twin raised by another family. Survival means a good job, marriage—life.

But then a tragic misstep leaves West Is she 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 herself, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Fast-paced and unpredictable, Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a chilling, unforgettable world.

Praise for

"A gripping, thought-provoking thriller that keeps your heart racing and your palms sweaty. . . . The kind of book Katniss Everdeen and Jason Bourne would devour. " —Andrew Fukuda, author of the Hunt series

"Full of unexpected turns. . . . Fans of the Divergent trilogy will want to read this imaginative tale. " — VOYA

"A fast ride from first to final pages, Dualed combines action and heart ." —Mindy McGinnis, author of Not a Drop to Drink

" Intense and swift , Dualed grabbed me by the throat and kept me turning pages all the way to the end. Romance and action fans alike will love it ." —Elana Johnson, author of the Possession series

" Stylish , frenetic, and violent, . . . the textual equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino movie."— Publishers Weekly

"A double dose of intensity and danger in this riveting tale of survival, heartache, and love."—Kasie West, author of Pivot Point

"This thought-provoking survival-of-the-fittest story will leave you breathless for more." —Ellen Oh, author of Prophecy

" Clever suspense —here, stalking is a two-way street." — Kirkus Reviews

320 pages, Paperback

First published February 26, 2013

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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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 949 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
September 28, 2018
i am so torn.

on the one hand - it is a book about twins (clones) where, by law, one must eventually kill the other, thereby leaving only one human instead of two, the way it should be (see shelf title). on the other hand, most of this "world" MAKES NO SENSE.

but how much does that matter, when you are reading a lightweight YA dysto-sci-fi novel?i have a tendency to shrug off inconsistencies depending on the answer to the following question:

is it fun??

well, yeah, it's pretty fun. but i'm not sure it is fun enough to wash away the oversights and underdeveloped-ness that are still bothering me.

basically, in this version of the world, the united states is a war zone. somehow, the upper western quarter or so has established a sort of fortress-like city, called "kersh", which has its own resources, and is protected from the rest of the country.

but at what cost? you ask.

well, despite having found a cure for the common cold (yay!) this cure has caused infertility in humans (oops!) so the scientists have stepped in with a plan that sounds straight out of some sadistic kid's daydreams:

parents who want to conceive go to a clinic and their genes are randomly mixed with those of another couple, and then both prospective mothers are implanted with the seedlings of these mixed-gene babies, creating two little clones.

and then they are supposed to train them as mini-warriors because when the children are between 10 and 20, they will one day "activate" and they will have a month to kill their "alt" which will create a society of strong fighters in case the war from outside their perimeters ever comes knocking.

because that makes sense.

my feeling is that if you have the technology and scientific know-how to clone people, could you not just bypass this weird-ass plan altogether and just filter out the genetic weaknesses to make strong supersoldier-type individuals? could you not just create an ideal human warrior without all the fanfare? i mean, the system is not used as a social tool like in hunger games; it isn't televised for entertainment or instruction or punishment. it doesn't seem to create solidarity or even necessarily people with pronounced killer-instincts. people who have been through the test and survived still avert their eyes when there is a "completion" in front of them, and some get scared when there is gunfire and killing of others in their vicinity. as they should, because there is always the danger of accidentally getting shot by an overenthusiastic and inept teenage killer.it is all so haphazard and poorly-monitored, so even if you have been deemed worthy by killing your own alt, you can still die for no reason.

and then what? you are left with a nation of killers. awesome?

i mean, the purpose is to create a population of people who know how to kill and are comfortable doing so, just in case the war ever crosses the border, but is this really the best measure of a person's fitness as a soldier? being terrified into killing one person, even if they look exactly like you?

it all seems so relative. because west's (this is our heroine - i am losing the plot-points in my rant - sorry) alt seems a lot more killer-instincted than who was the winner in his own self-on-self challenge, but who doesn't seem as soldierly as west's alt. at all. he just happened to get lucky.

and that's another thing - if this society is so keen on creating little killers, why stagger the training? if you become "active" between 10 and 20, why wait to ramp up the fighting classes? gun-training doesn't start until 16 (i think?) so if you become "active" at 11, you are pretty much only able to fight with a knife or your hands. you would think that the training would be intensive, from day one, for best results. and it is way easier to kill someone with a gun than with your bare hands. so even though it might not be the best idea to give a ten-year-old a gun, wouldn't that have better results? "better" in this case is a very tricky word, but we are in a tricky world.

it all just seems so casual. with no intervention or monitoring. it is completely bizarre to me.

and how are you supposed to find your alt, really? there are measures in place, but they seem slapdash and easily avoided. i know that if i were to stand on the corner of 14th street and 6th avenue and greg were to stand on the corner of 83rd street and broadway and we decided to meet... "somewhere", the odds of us actually crossing paths would be quite small. it is so easy to misplace someone. and just knowing the person's point of origin is not enough. and if you don't find and kill your alt within 30 days, you both automatically and spontaneously die. which seems unfair. if you have a timid alt who is scared of killing and just hides in a closet for a month, you are screwed.

a dystopia is supposed to be tightly controlled, that is the whole point. this is less structured than a frat initiation.

and there just isn't enough going on psychologically, for me. this kind of institutionalized, ritualized killing would have all kinds of aftereffects on the nature of family, on the value of life, on the very structure of the community. but not here. everything operates as it does in "our" world. there are food vendors and train conductors and people still have attachments to their kin. all of the survivors are killers, but killers with no repercussions. they don't seem like survivors who have survived by violent means. they don't seem like soldiers. they are just... people. in a world where there is so much violence, every single day could be witness to a "murder," and here the suicide of a parent is treated completely casually, which i guess speaks to a deadening of affect, but for the record, a person who kills themselves is not my idea of a super-tough warrior.

and loopholes abound! fortunately for the squeamish, if you have money, you can illegally hire someone to kill your alt for you. which is another problem. because west becomes one of those killers for hire, even though she is untested and lord knows why a super secret society would allow someone like that to join their ranks, when if they are found out, their punishments would be severe and teenage girls are not the best secret-keepers, and "spunk" is really not an attractive enough quality to risk discovery.

oh, god and west...

and briefly - love subplot, you make no sense. the less said about that, the better.

what i would love is to have the second book be told from the POV of west's alt. true, we would know where it was all headed, but i think it would still have a strong emotional impact precisely because of that, and it would be fascinating to have that as a counterbalance. and to know if the outcome was the right one. because, frankly, i am unsure.

all of my complaints seem like they should make this book a two-star one, but i didn't dislike it, i just have a million issues with the lack of development. for me, it always comes down to fun, to "did i enjoy reading this?" and i did. the action was fun, i thought there were some strong scenes,and i loved the premise, but the more i start to think about it as a whole, more and more logic-gaps keep opening. that is a huge problem for some readers, but i can compartmentalize and separate my thinking-parts from my entertainment-parts. and this one was entertaining.

just don't think about it.

but it might be a two-and-a-half, because the mess that is this review is really indicative of the mess that is this story.and it wasn't until i started writing (ranting) that i realized how frustrated it left me. so let's say two and a half.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,576 reviews33.9k followers
February 21, 2013
Stop by The Midnight Garden to win a Dualed ARC!

3.5 stars Every person in the city of Kersh has a genetic Alternate--but only one will survive! Dun dun dun. At the age of fifteen, West Grayer has just been notified of her Alt's location, and it's a race against the clock to find and eliminate her...before she herself is killed.

I really enjoy YA science fiction, so Dualed is right up my alley. Who wouldn't be intrigued by a concept like that? The blurb sold it to me, and I'm guessing it will hook a lot of other readers, too. I thought this was a pretty entertaining story, though I did have a few reservations.

What I liked:

-- West. Instead of being a more typical butt-kicking heroine, she's just an ordinary girl--albeit one well-trained to fight--who is placed in circumstances where she has to kill in order to survive.

-- The narrative. I liked being in West's head, and her internal dialogue was written in a way that gave insight into emotions she was hiding from everyone else.

-- The suspenseful cat-and-mouse aspect of West and her Alt hunting each other down kept me guessing.

-- The book is well-paced overall, with good tension and release.

-- Kersh is described in a way that felt reasonably solid in a physical sense, if not overly complex in its philosophies and structure.

-- Some of the fight sequences were really, really fun! A lot of thought was put into the choreography of the movements, as well as sensory details that added to the experience.

What could have been further developed:

-- The secondary characters, particularly the Alts, are pretty one-dimensional. Aren't West and Chord also Alts themselves, after all? It would have been interesting to have more nuanced antagonists.

-- While a certain amount of suspension of belief is certainly required in science fiction that is centered around a concept like this, there aren't really enough convincing explanations as to why there are Alts, what purpose they serve, how all this is administered, why the second one has to be killed, etc.

-- I didn't really understand West becoming a striker, which are assassins hired by the rich and powerful. It happens pretty early on in the book, and the scenes where West is acting in this capacity are among my least favorite. They are where she seems the most lost, and where her actions (or lack of them) are the least understandable.

-- West and Chord have known each other all their lives, so I wish there had been more shared history or feeling there. The connection between them didn't seem any stronger than that between two strangers who had just met.

-- A little more humor, and dialogue that was a little punchier, would have made the characters more relateable--and endearing.

-- A few important scenes could have been written with an aim towards greater emotional impact.

All that said, this one definitely satisfies if you're looking for a fast-paced, suspenseful read. I literally read it in a day, which is a statement in itself of its high entertainment factor! I'll also read the sequel when it comes out next year, although it's with the hope that some of the logic questions and character development are addressed. Fun stuff, if you can suspend your disbelief for a bit.

Recommended for: fans of Divergent, False Memory, and other action-oriented YA science fiction thrillers.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
319 reviews1,884 followers
February 20, 2013
Upon finishing Dualed, all I am overcome with is an overwhelming sense of complete and utter mediocrity. Running through my head last night, while reading, and ultimately finishing Dualed was a giant list of 'what-ifs' and 'should-haves' that, in my opinion, would have made reading Dualed a much more interesting experience. Should these issues have been addressed, Dualed could have easily been a four star read for me, but in the end, there are far too many holes in the world and the character development for me to give Dualed anything more than a disappointed two stars.

1. What if the world-building were thorough, and the novel itself actually made a shred of sense?
I'm sure you've read about the world-building in other reviews for this before. While I do acknowledge and maybe even appreciate that Chapman took the time into developing a world and its past, which many authors seem to look over, it just doesn't feel like Chapman put much time and thought into the world-building. Each of the explanations we are given are incredibly poor at best, and at worst, make absolutely no sense whatsoever, and with each passing page I found myself asking the same questions: "Why? How?" And, if I even received an answer to one of my questions, I was not left satisfied with the answer. In the world of Dualed, there are Alts, which are basically clones, or doppelgängers (but not the Petrova ones. Those are actually cool.). At a certain time in each person's life in Kersh, the Alts are assigned to kill each other, that way the Alt left standing will be the stronger one, and thereby deemed worthy to live in Kersh.

Why? Why go through all this trouble, and have minors kill other minors, just so your city can be populated by strong people? And what if the Alt that wins isn't necessarily the stronger Alt? What if the Alt that wins gets lucky, or strategizes, whereas the other Alt is far more stronger than the winner? And another gap in logic concerning the Alts is their lifestyle. In Dualed, Alts are described as being identical in every way, shape, and form. They must have the same exact body shape as you, body fat composition as you, personality as you, voice as you, and on and on.

But then where does lifestyle choices come into play? What if one Alt is less athletic than the other? With that, one Alt would be outside running miles daily, hiking strenuously through forests, and then what? The other Alt would just magically gain the muscles his other Alt gains while he/she is sitting on her computer or eating dinner?

I don't think so.

And also, now that I've brought up food and eating, where does diet come into play, as well? One Alt could have a much worse diet than the other, yet they must have the same exact body fat composition?

"High metabolism!" Someone shouts to me through the computer.

Yes. Because metabolism is something every author puts into consideration while writing a YA dystopian novel.

Though, someone did bring up an interesting point to contradict my above issue in the comments of one of my status updates, and that point brought up was food rationing. This was a very good point to bring up, and would have set my complaints about body fat composition being identical to rest. If it were presented to us in Dualed, that is.

You may tell me I looked too far into the world-building to come across the above few points, when I really should have been "having fun and going along with the ride", but I find it quite difficult to "have fun and go along with the ride" when the roller-coaster I'm riding on is bumpy and has large holes in its tracks.

2. What if I cared about the characters?
This issue with Dualed is pretty straightforward, and there's not much to explain, but it's certainly worth point out, considering that next to the awful world-building, this is the novel's biggest fault. Honestly, I just didn't care about any of the characters or what happened to them. Dualed would have been a lot more engaging read if I actually cared about whether or not West would win against her Alt, but, if I'm going to be honest, I was rooting against her. It's not that West was an unlikeable character, because she isn't. She's just a very frustrating one. Before she got her assignment to kill her Alt, she preached to everyone how they shouldn't stall, that they should kill their Alt the very second they receive their assignment, and on and on, and snore and snore. But then what does West do? Oh, that's right.

Stall, and wait until the very last chapter minute to kill her Alt. While I suppose this is understandable, and maybe is intentional by the author, that doesn't defeat the fact that the hypocrisy of West's character was thoroughly frustrating for me. And as for her relationship with Chord, I really couldn't care less about that, either. Chord was a nice character. I did like him, but was this romance really necessary? They've known each other all their lives, but just now take the time to realize that they're in love? And even then, I felt absolutely no connection between the two characters. We're told that they're in love - multiple times - but I never felt that they actually were in love.

3. What if this were told by the POVs of both West and her Alt?
This is one of the 'should haves' that ran through my head while reading Dualed. But really, what if this book were told by the POVs of both West and her Alt? I feel that Dualed would have been a much more interesting and engaging read if we saw the world through the perspectives of two people trying to kill each other. There's not much to say about this 'should have' other than the fact that it would have made the cat-and-mouse aspect of Dualed a lot more fun and multi-layered than it was just told by the POV of West (and, admittedly, I did have some fun reading the cat-and-mouse aspect from her perspective, too), and it would have given the other Alt a good deal of character development and maybe have the readers grow to like both Alts, so that the impact of the finale when one of them wins would have more emotional impact.

Before this review turns into too long of a rant (and I'm afraid it's already become that), Dualed was a thoroughly disappointing read for me, even though I had gone into it with incredibly low expectations. With those low expectations, I was still expecting more from Dualed, and that only made the mediocrity of everything that much more devastating. Dualed is the epitome of a good premise killed brutally by execution, and the most ironic thing is that I think the execution may have killed more than West herself.
Profile Image for Kevin.
175 reviews31 followers
December 27, 2012
1.5 stars

You know that Grumpy Cat Meme that has been floating around the inter webs the last few weeks? Well if you have forgotten here is a friendly reminder of the true face of evil


That pretty much sums it up for me when it comes to Dualed.

It's one thing for an author to make their character a complete badass, it's a whole other thing when said character is utterly unlikable. West has got to be one of the worst main characters I have ever had the misfortune to of met. From the first chapter I couldn't stand her, and it seriously only got worse!

Dualedis basically about this future city that apparently broke off from the rest of the U.S. due to the constant wars on the outside. This city is so hypocritical though in the sense of there very own system causing an internal war on a daily basis.

In this city every child is born with an identical twin. At sometime starting at the tender age of 10 these two twins become "active," which basically means they need to start actively trying to kill each other. The victor of this 30 day battle, becomes a "complete" and can start living their life as if they didn't just kill someone who looks and acts the same as themselves.

I just couldn't take a second of the world building serious. They said that the winner of battle, would be better equip to protect the city if someone were to attack. So killing off your twin basically said you were worthy of being there. My question is...what is the point? Instead of starting internal conflicts on a daily basis, why doesn't your society as a whole prepare for a possible invasion? The citizens whether complete or not, were in danger every day of their lives!

The world building and plot idea as a whole, while different, was completely cringe worthy.


Thanks Brit.

Let's get back to why I loathed the main character, West. West has had a tough life with basically no family to lean on, because of the system taking away all of her loved ones. I'm not sure I would have handled things any better, but I like to think I would have. In this place, there is such things as a "striker." Said strikers, are basically hit-men for people that don't/can't kill their duplicates themselves. West thinks its a great idea to become one. So here we have our main character going about life KILLING people for no other reason then to get her mind off how her siblings who have been killed. UGH. Like why? It was her way of fighting the system..but I feel like there were literally thousands of better ways she could have gone about it. She was generally annoying as well.

She continually pushed away the one good part of the book that being Chord, her brothers best friend and her potential love interest. Chord is caring, smart, and generally wants to help West get through this difficult part of her life. He tries and tries, I seriously would of gave up after the 5th time, but Chord is a good person and, West is well...not. Chord truly was this books saving grace if there was one at all.

Chapman is a very skilled writer when it comes to action scenes and giving a level of suspense, I just wish her talents in this degree were used in a more enticing plot. The story and the main character truly ended any chance of me liking this book. There were like a total of 4 characters in this book that I can even remember, and we never actually found out the name of West's Alt.

This may have just been me, but going into this book based on the blurb, I thought that West and her Alt would work as a team and become friends to try and stop this horrid system..but no I was sadly mistaken. I feel like that would have been predictable, but I still would of enjoyed it more so than what did happen.

Also, throughout the book West and other characters mention like government powers and how they have an iron fist towards the whole "Dualed" system, but they literally serve no point or have a purpose in the book. In fact, they don't even show up! I felt like the characters could get away with a lot more then what they were leading on. I don't know how this book is a series...and I'm not curious enough to find out.

I hope Chapman gets the opportunity to write something with a far better plot and characters in the future, I do think her writing style, especially in those action scenes, is worthy of something special. Dualed was just not that book.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,366 followers
February 22, 2013
Dualed was one of my most anticipated books of this year, as soon as I saw the synopsis I was in. The book itself is entertaining, to say the least. I was easily kept on my toes during this story, it's just a shame to say that if you stop and think about it for a minute, there is quite a bit of empty space as far as the world building is concerned. The characters as well, left a little too much to be desired.

Dualed introduces us to a a world where they make it so for every person born, another will share the same DNA as a way to get only the best and brightest for their city. Which means one of them has to prove to be the stronger, better Alt. One of them has to survive! Fans of sic fi as much as fans of dystopian novels would get the urge to read a book with such a fascinating premise. Some of it is done quite well, too, like how their system for active Alts is put in place to make the "hunt" exactly that--a hunt. It's exhilarating and you always feel the need to look over your shoulder. The book is not without excitement and it's fair share of gore. You have to take it as it comes, however. If you start thinking to much about the ways of their world, how all of this would actually work in a society, you'll come by a few walls and greyed out areas. For instance, if this world would come to play, I'd presume there would be a constant problem of people--be the parents, or the kids themselves--killing the Alts before they even become active. It's not hard to make a death look like an accident when kids with guns are flying high in the streets shooting at their alter egos. Where bullet proof glass is needed in establishments because stray bullets are a thing of every day life. Details such as this left this world into a bit of an implausible slur. I'm aware this is a fictional sci-fi novel, but what makes dystopians especially poignant, like The Hunger Games for one, is the realistic setting they've been given. Details are fleshed out, every aspect of their world is explored making it easy to get submerged into the novel, but even more important, making it easy to sympathize, to feel the emotional consequences of it all.

West, our protagonist, is a difficult character to talk about because she lands in the middle of about everything. She's not weak nor tough, she's not super intelligent nor dumb, she just is. There are some parts where she shows a lot of strength and definite courage, but I was disappointed by her running and hiding once she became active. She could put a bullet into a stranger's head, yet she turns coward to her own completion. I'm fairly certain we were meant to understand the difference between killing a stranger versus your own face, but that wasn't communicated to me as a reader. May it be the lack of character or world building, or a simple miss in terms of emotional involvement, it was not made possible for me to put myself in her shoes and understand her hesitations.

Chord, the main supporting character, is the "boy next door" that we all love. It was great to have a character who knew when to leave well enough alone. He knew when he was welcome, and when he was not helping. Though he still found a way to make sure that West was ok. Those looking for a big romantic subplot won't find it here, however. These two do have a strong bond from being friends for so long, and there is definite attraction there, but the romance is not a part of the book at all. We see a glimpse of it towards the end and that's that. This is a positive aspect for me, though, since I've become a little tired of the cookie cutter romances dystopians often have.

At least, even with the world building issues I had with this novel, there was enough going on to keep most of my questions at bay. The constant moving, running, killings, easily invested me in the plot, making it an easy and quick read through to the end. An end, might I add, that I was really satisfied with. There were great plot shifts that kept it exciting, giving it the perfect pacing, not anticlimactic nor too drawn out. I've also been noticing that often when it comes to a series, the world building gets halted until the sequel which is where we really start to collect details that brings this world into existence. I guess it will all depend in what you're expecting, if you want an exciting, non stop ride and you're a fan of dytopians, then yes, this is one for you, my friend!
Profile Image for Ash Wednesday.
441 reviews524 followers
May 23, 2014

DNF at 44%

I feel like I'd have much better luck at enjoying a book written in Greek. Plot twist, just in case I inadvertently offend Greek literature lovers, I speak/understand no Greek.

This was so incomprehensible and unrelatable, I can't even fool myself to write a ranting review.

Profile Image for Becca.
315 reviews29 followers
January 18, 2013
The problem with Dualed, aside from its irritating title (I just find it, personally, irritating, and think this could have come with a way better title) is that it just doesn't make sense. [SPOILERS] [TO AVOID SPOILERS, DO NOT READ FURTHER.] I can accept some very wild, crazy premises. Heck, one of my favorite series is about high society London in the 1800's being ruled over by werewolves and vampires. Crazy premise. But Gail Carriger pulls it off excellently. But here in Dualed, nothing actually makes any sense. The world is all like a crazy set-up for the author to pull off her story, but it never feels rational or logical, and was in fact so frustrating to read that I couldn't bear it at points.

So, the idea of this being a dystopian society, and the one "safe" city, is kind of ridiculous. Because people walk around killing each other all the time. I kept waiting for it to make sense, like, tell me why the Board (government) essentially decides to kill off HALF OF ITS POPULATION. To make an "army" of citizens? Except then they let them get desk jobs and get old and fat and decidedly un-army like? So, what was the point of making your people kill their alternate before they turn 20, if you're just going to let them dwindle into something entirely useless, should there ever be a war? And also, the few times the outside ("Surround") is mentioned, it sounds like they have high-tech warfare equipment, such as bombers and fighter jets. So what is the point of making your citizens kill with knives and guns?

Also, there are so few rules surrounding the kids killing their alternate thing. Like, dude, totes okay if you accidentally kill a passerby in the job? So, not only do you have your population killing half of itself off every single day, you also have them killing more of the people around them. You're effectively reducing your population by 3/4's every single time you send an alt their kill code. What is the point of that? If you want to create a population of soldiers, just enforce them to enlist into the army and train them all. What I'm saying is, the furiously ill-thought out premise makes the entire book shaky and ridiculous.

I didn't even care about the main character or her very infrequently mentioned love interest by the end. When the end comes, I was just glad it was over. This book failed entirely on its promising idea, and also cluttered up the middle with endless kill scenes that did nothing to further the plot. It was a huge disappointment, to say the least.

(I was given an advanced reader's copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
January 13, 2014
I had an ARC of this for a while, but never really got around to reading it. So when I say it on Overdrive, I went ahead and tried out an audiobook. This was the very first audiobook I’ve ever listened to and I was really impressed with the narration. The premise is what originally drew me to this one since the heroine is on a mission to kill her Alt, a girl who is just like her in every aspect. Unfortunately, the science doesn’t really make sense to me because I really don’t think genetics works the way it was portrayed in the book, but I’m no expert. The biggest problems I had with it was the heroine herself and the romance. West is annoying at best and induced a few *headdesk* quite a few times. I understood her fear, but at times, it felt exaggerated to prolong the romantic tension. The romance fell very flat for me as there was very little development. I wouldn’t consider it insta-love at all, but I never got a feeling the heroine and love interest had any feelings whatsoever until closer to the end. The ending also was interesting because there’s no resolution to the main character’s dystopian society (later I found out this is apart of a Duology, but it honestly reads like a standalone), which is very different from the genre. Regardless, I enjoyed the narration quite a bit, but I’m unsure if I would like the print version equally considering the issues I already had, so I probably won’t be checking out the second book.
Profile Image for Katy.
611 reviews333 followers
June 21, 2012
2.5 stars - I really thought I would love this book. To think somewhere in this world, there's an alternate version of you that grew up in a different home, had different friends, was a different person and only one of you will survive a showdown. And the first chapter had me hooked with West's grief over losing her family, her concern for Chord who just received his assignment, their playful banter and the tragedy that just broke my heart.

But that was as far as my loving it went. After that, the book failed to capture my attention, and I had a really hard time focusing on the book. And I'm not sure how to explain it other than it was just eh.

I guess I just didn't really connect with West. I can understand her pushing Chord away, but I just found myself annoyed with her dramatic antics than doing it for sacrificial reasons. And when she became a striker, I wish I felt more of that desperation to seek a last resort or that feeling she had after her first kill. I wouldn't say West was a stoic character. I just didn't think Chapman did a good job showing us her feelings and letting us sympathize with her.

I felt the book had enough action, but it didn't suck you in, and the showdown with West and her Alt and with Glade just failed to meet my expectations.

I don't know. The book was good, and I liked it enough, but I just couldn't get into it as much as I would have liked, and I'm disappointed because I think it had a lot of potential to be great.
Profile Image for Kaye.
214 reviews430 followers
July 4, 2012
You know, I think there are one or two sites on the Web where you're allowed to creep - and no, Facebook isn't one of them. (Believe me - I was totally freaked when one of my friend's younger sisters confessed that she's seen her sister look me up no less than five times to "see what I'm up to". Laugh at me all you want, but it's different when you're not the stalker. Trust me.)

NetGalley and GoodReads on the other hand...Go ahead. Knock yourself out. You can never have enough reading material. And books totally don't mind it when you check out their biodata before starting a conversation.

So anyway, I was stalking...*cough*...browsing NetGalley the other day, when I happened upon Dualed. I scrolled down, and back up. I checked the link to make sure it wasn't for some obscure country (read: any country that Kaye doesn't have access to galleys from). And then I clicked Request and prayed that someone, somewhere in Random House, would take pity on a little blogger girl from a small town and let me have this galley the first time around, please and thank you, Amen.

And what do you know? It worked.

As stated up there (in all that gobbledygook I'm pretty sure you just scroll by - after all, my reviews are the best part right?) it took me two nights to finish Dualed. Two nights of nail-biting and cringing and one moment where I calmly shut off my Kindle, closed my eyes and hoped that the author wouldn't be cruel enough to leave it right there.

Confession: She isn't cruel at all. She's really sweet. (That does count as unbiased still, right?

Anyway, after those two nights of nail-biting and cringing and eye-closing, I finished it. And I immediately went on Twitter to tease...er...compliment the author on her great achievement.

This is pretty much how it went...

Kaye: I finished Dualed last night. Wow...just wow.

Elsie: Really? How did you like it?

Kaye: *hums innocently*

Elsie: Gah. Tell me.

Kaye: You can take comfort in the fact that I don't tweet authors about their books if I totally hated them. I'm not that cruel.

(See how I answer the question, and don't answer it at the same time? Smooth, Kaye. Very smooth.)

Elsie: GAH.

So yes, maybe it wasn't complimenting so much as teasing. But here's the part where I tell you exactly what I told her: this is some good dystopian, right here.

West is one of those heroines that you can feel in your blood. Every single moment, from when she entered the secret world of assassins, or strikers, to receiving her assignment and seeing her own other self for the first time - you can see it.

And it really, really will freak you out.

I mean, this is a world where the government creates another you just so you can fight it out and possibly lose your life, all for the sake of a better society.

Um, what kind of logic is that?

I know that some people will totally jump down my throat for this - mainly because so many comparisons are being drawn to the Hunger Games recently - but West really reminds me of Katniss. Minus the annoying "Peeta or Gale? Bread boy or wild hunter?" debate. And the long braid. And the whole being the Girl on Fire imagery. They are both caught in this dog-eat-dog world, having to kill or be killed, and both authors have the skill to yank you into the book by the arm and drag you along for the ride. There's fast-paced drama, sniper missions and assassin assignments (I mean, what's a future world without some dude finding a loophole to override the system?).

Of course, it's not all fun and games. West can be a little - how to phrase this politely? - annoying. Picture her as the cousin you have to babysit who plays with matches, opens the door for a stranger, and doesn't know how to turn off the oven. There were a few times I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and scream, "WEST! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

Also, despite being spared of the typical Dystopian Formula (see my review of Masque of the Red Death for further details), it's obvious that she and Chord are going to end up together, regardless of the arguments and the stomping out the door and the near-death escapades. If you're the type of person who wants the heroine to spend 50% of the storyline playing Eenie-Meanie-Mini-Mo between two buff, mysterious, snarky-mouthed heroes, this is not the dystopian for you.

(Thank God.)

So, since my spoiler filter is being strained to the max, and my inner goody-two-shoes blogger is screaming, "THIS IS A 2013 RELEASE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, GIRL?!", it's time for a review:

1. 2013 = releases of win.

2. Elsie Chapman = debut author of win.

3. Dualed = read whenever you can get your hands on it.

Which, seeing as NetGalley and Edelweiss have pulled it for the time being, won't be soon enough for your liking, I'm afraid.

And here I've gone and wound you up. What a cruel blogger I can be. But then again, I think Elsie can attest to that now.
Profile Image for Gray Cox.
Author 4 books164 followers
November 6, 2017
Let's just kill half of the nation... that sounds brilliant, and totally original.

Let's have a bland, blah, boring, girl character who is super hot but is tougher than everyone else be the main character and the most un-relatable character ever, who, to quote Herminie Granger, has "...the emotional range of a teaspoon..." Once again, this is so original, WOW!
It looks like terribly cliché YA dystopians being published has been the trend since 2013 (and probably way before that if we're being honest).

DNFed at pg. 171. I'm done. I've read and disliked this storyline so many times.
Profile Image for Susana.
988 reviews243 followers
June 25, 2014

More than a though cookie, this is a very strange cookie....from a dystopian perspective.

Truth is _for me _ this book crashed and burned as a dystopia. There's one two many lose ends, a very problematic use of science _that would probably leave other readers in fits of anger, lol _, and a very underdeveloped world building...

This was one of many books that never actually caught my interest during its release last year.

Of course I saw it being mentioned on GR's, but there's always books that will not be read, because time will never be enough for all of them. And that's too bad.

This year, to my surprise, I was pre-approved on Netgalley to read it's sequence "Divided", and I thought to myself : Why not?

When I started reading it: ~Good first line~

I’ve buried nearly everyone I love.

After awhile: ~Oh, my God, this is a poisoned apple!~

Since the city is closed off to the rest of the world, limiting space and resources, only the best of us are wanted. The Board, in their genius, created Alts, manipulating genes so two identical children are born to two sets of parents.

A little after: ~Okay... the world building is a disaster, and the science doesn't make sense, but I'm curious to see where this is going~

"But now they’re also the eyes of an Alt gone active, no longer an idle. Encoded on each pupil is a black spiral of tiny numbers. The sequence seems random, (..)"

Towards the last chapters: ~Staring avidly into the pc's screen~

I bend down to the coffee table, studying its glossy surface now covered with a layer of dust.
It’s a water ring.
From a careless cup or mug. It cuts through the dust right down to the wood, so I know it’s recent.
I straighten, my heart pounding just a little bit louder now, a new thought forming in my mind. In the wake of my discovery of her ability to make herself at home here, I go to the front door.
It’s unlocked.

This dystopia makes absolutely no sense!

In the future (???) the cold vaccine has had the side effect of rendering most of us (???) infertile.

Apparently people have been living in a constant state of War outside this enclave.
Enclave that was created due to some sort of split in the territory (how?), and the people who wanted to stay *of the warzone* would have to live according to some very harsh rules (of course according to this reality, I would have liked to see any of these characters consider leaving this place!):

_People are infertile _ Solution _ Lets create clones/twins _and lets allow for each of them to get raised by a different set of parents.

_We live in a closed environment so_ Lets make those twins/clones fight one another in order to make sure that only the strongest one, survives.

Did I mention the infertility thing?

Why create them, to end up killing them in the end?

I have an idea: Military training from childhood!

Oh wait, that already happens... O_O

And then there's the fact, that you could be over this phase _that happens until the 20' mark _ and end up dead, because you found yourself in the middle of some completion of an assignment!

Once again, if people numbers are so important, why risk killing bystanders?

And then it's not like these idles (people waiting to become Actives, which in turn will fight to become Completes) only fight when they reach at least puberty! No, eleven years old can turn into actives (30 day period that the two alts have to fight one another), without having had any proper training!

On one side, I understand the author's approach: If things aren't fair, why would the rules to this unfair way of living, be as "fair", moral and neatly as possible?

On the other hand... societies need some form of stability, and a strong set of rules, and having, I don't know, dozens, hundreds of people all at a same time, walking around with guns, striking collateral damages*collateral deaths* as they wish, would be like having a bomb waiting to defuse at any single time!
What would stop these people of turning against the Board?

So, like I said:

This dystopia, *cough sorry*, kind of sucks...

But as an action book... hello!!

West, could be a young, female, Jason Bourne.

Get ready for some seriously grisly moments. Honestly I lost count to how many people, the girl _fifteen years old_ends up killing.

Once again I wish that had been more development towards certain parts of the story: she becomes an hired assassin when she hasn't even completed her training . And since she works for a part that relies heavily on not being compromised _as things normally do _, where's the logic of allowing a green girl into that type of job? She could have been caught, and forced to reveal what she knew. Not much _true _but even so, it could turn out to be an unnecessary complication.

Okay, action story....

As an action story this definitely worked. The writing was crisp enough, with enough parts of emotion, to keep me hooked into the story.

West is a character who is grieving for her family, and I liked that the author didn't try to turn her into a robot.

She has human reactions, despite the fact that she has been training through most of her life to kill another person.

I would have liked however to have seen West's Alt, portrayed in a less emotionless form...because we only got West's emotions, it was as if we were being desensitized towards her Alt.

The romance

Thank God, it was kept to a minimum (lol) and on the background, where it should be! ;)

Very well done, it never stole the spotlight of what was actually happening:

West's fight for survival.

So, do I recommend it?

Well, the first half, with all it's dystopian strange rules, is like I said, quite problematic.

But if this kind of thing, doesn't bother you, and if you want to read a real action page turner, this is the book for you... if you're not squirmish, that is.

Also, if you're interested in reading a book that features a real female assassin, this is your book!

Forget about wannabe assassins that end up not being more than spoiled princess!! *coughcoughCalaenacough*

Myself, after the way this turned out to be, and since I got an arc from Netgalley, I'll be reviewing Divided in the next couple of days.

Profile Image for Kyle.
493 reviews22 followers
December 24, 2012
To see this review and more, please visit my blog at Living Is Reading!


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

Well, it looks like the never-ending train of bad YA dystopians being published will continue onward into 2013. When I read The Hunger Games series back in the summer of 2010, I was completely enchanted, and was so happy at the outpour and demand for dystopians that quickly accompanied the release of the last book.

Then I read the majority of them.

I mean, don't get me wrong: there are some decent ones out there.

It just so happens that Dualed isn't one of them.

The book was good for about the first 5%, maybe even go as far as to say the entire first chapter, but after that I lost all enjoyment I was getting from it, and I actually stopped reading for about a month almost before I picked it back up (two days ago). There's a multitude of problems, so I'll try not to delay:

I was left with quite a few questions regarding this world. I understood why they had the idea of Alts, and it kind of made a little sense up to a point. I mean, why did they REALLY have to kill each other? Couldn't they just test out which Alt was stronger and then have them in a kind of drafting system in case a military was needed? Was the senseless killing really that nessecary? Just because one Alt is stronger than the other, doesn't mean that Alt will win. The other Alt could have a stroke of good luck and win by accident, but that doesn't mean their stronger.

Did the Alts have to share a name? Throughout the entire book, we're never given West's Alt's name. It's always just "she" or "her" and that it's. Is her name West? Why would it have to be? If there's so much violence in the outside world, how exactly has Kersh been able to support itself and not see any of the violence of the outside world? Did they just happen to be in an area that never runs out of supplies?

Like I said before, I was liked this for the first 5%. After that I just wanted this book to end. It's not like this is a long book - it only clocks in at 290 pages, which is a far cry from long. It's just that the plot doesn't start to kick in until you're almost 100 pages in, and nothing particularly interesting happens up until that point except for in the beginning, when West's brother is killed when they're trying to assist their friend in tracking down his Alt.

I mean, how can assassins not be interesting? I guess that was proven to be possible when people read Grave Mercy which didn't recieve the highest acclaim from my friends, but still! ASSASSINS! BORING! DOES NOT COMPUTE.

Lackluster Romance
Boring romance. Was hoping once I was 80% of the way through and not even a kiss had been exchanged between the MC and the love interest that it would stay that way. Alas, they declare their love for one another shortly after, and it evoked no emotion from me. Kind of because the love interest had no depth/complexity to him, and I didn't care for West either.

Never got invested in these people, which also added to my boredom. There is a specific focus on certain characters, yet they never feel fully fleshed out to any extent. We have West, Chord, West's Alt (who never speaks a WORD of dialogue - no exaggeration) . . . and that's kind of it. Because West virtually isolates herself from her surroundings, no character really ever lasts for longer than a scene before they're dropped completely to never appear again. So, with only three continuous characters, they should be very well-developed.

Unfortunately for Dualed that just isn't the case. Their personalities and complexity were very one dimensional, and lacked any kind of substance. I did not connect with these people. I did not care for these people. I wouldn't have cared if West and her Alt had reached the self-detonation point in their challenge.

West's Alt is a very strange character. We're never given her name, which makes her a very impersonal, distant person. Is she the antagonist of the story? What about the Board, the people that are making her act against West the way she is? Very strange.

You'd think that West would have a very large internal conflict with killing somebody who is basically her twin! Nope, not really. There's some thoughts of anguish, but it's moreso her fear of killing somebody else by accident or she herself dying. It could be explained as how desensitived everybody may have become because of the Board (the government of Kersh). Which is a perfect lead-in to my final point as to why I hated this book.

The Lack of Fire/Rebellion
Never once in this book is rebellion ever implied. Yes, it is mentioned that some people aren't very happy with some of the Board's methods, but never talk of an uprising, and the main character herself never questions the unethical methods of the Board. What's the fire in this series then? I'll find it very hard to believe that in the next book West will just decide to uprise and "fight the man" when she didn't think to do it when she was fighting for her own survival.

Not impressed in the slightest. The writing was decent, which is why it gets 1.5 stars, as well as the interesting first chapter. Will probably NOT continue on with this series.
Profile Image for Ashley.
667 reviews716 followers
October 31, 2012
booknook — Young Adult book reviews

The first few chapters of this book blew me away. Like, blew my life to bits. The intensity, the devastation, the near-tears reaction, the morally questionable assassination... I got so wrapped up in the story and the kick-ass-ness that I think I lost my sanity for a while. Dualed turned me into a monster. I was only 25% done and I had already morphed into some sort of Gladiator Game spectator: demanding blood and screaming at West to kill people. I was some sort of insane, bloodthirsty reader.

Much to my devastation, that's about the extent of my excitement for this book.

My biggest problem with Dualed is the main character herself: West. She is the biggest hypocrite and it drove me nuts. Let me explain. At the beginning of the book, Chord (West's friend) gets his assignment to kill his Alt. He's in a daze and doesn't know what to do. West completely gets on his case for not acting immediately because every second of a head start counts. She pushes him to find his Alt and insists that she comes along, despite Chord's protests. Then, when West gets her assignment, she freezes up. She doesn't act immediately—she just stalls. Chord has to come in and push her out the door to go find her Alt. Then when he wants to come along, she won't let him.. Then she spends the entire rest of the book pushing Chord away and refusing to let him come near her (I think it was all for the sake of "protecting" him so he wouldn't get caught in crossfire). The hypocrisy of it all just drove me insane!

West went the opposite way of most characters in books. Ideally, I like to see a character start out weak and then grow and become a stronger/better person. I feel like West started out quite strong but then turned into a weak, frightful character. And the worst part is, she never really changes. Even at the very end, she's still treating Chord like some little kid she has to protect. She pushes him away and never lets him help her.

Furthermore, I didn't understand West's logic in the book. West decides to become an assassin to help train to kill her own Alt. But surely if she's out there killing other Alts, she's quite capable of killing her own? So then when she gets her assignment, why doesn't she get it over with? Why does she run away and hide from her Alt for the entire book? She's still taking on assassination jobs, she's still killing other peoples' Alts, but she refuses to kill her own because she's convinced that she's not good enough and needs more training (I guess).

West's hypocrisy and the fact that I couldn't understand her logic at all really disconnected me from her as a character, and I think that largely contributed to my dislike for this book. It was hard to enjoy the story when I couldn't relate to West whatsoever.

I'm sad to say that I'm really disappointed with this book. It's partially my fault for over-hyping it, but even so, I wish it was better. There was so much promise because this is such an insanely awesome idea, but it just didn't reach its full potential. West was annoying, we only learn bits and pieces about "The Board" (which is basically the government[?] that set up the Alt system), there is a bit of romance but it barely exists because West spent 95% of the book running away from Chord... There does seem to be an interesting history behind this book with war, the setting up of the Alt system, etc., but we don't learn much about it. I assume the series is going to lead up to some sort of rebellion against The Board and the Alt system, but this book didn't set up for that very well at all. There were only extremely minimal/subtle hints about any sort of dislike for the Alt system. Nearly everyone just accepted it without question. In fact, the ending wrapped things up so well that I feel like I have no idea where the sequel will even begin.

I might still end up continuing the series just because the ending of Dualed was a bit satisfying and I'm curious to see where the story leads. Hopefully there will be better world building in the second book, better developed characters, and logic I can relate to!
Profile Image for Courtney Wells.
112 reviews415 followers
May 7, 2015
Great action and suspece brought down by a wishy-washy protagonist whose actions fail to match her priorities. West becomes unjustified and unlikable thanks to morally absurd decisions, cowardice and selfishness. I'd believe West is compromised by a post-traumatic stress disorder, which explains some of her decisions/behavior but never rationalized her well enough for me to sympathize with.

That said - the writing is talented and gripping, I just wish it told a story that was more sensible and embraced the premise and potential in a way less frustrating. Still original compared to some reads out there and a page turner all the way through. Depending on your personal tolerance and capacity to turn a blind-eye this could be a fun read.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,651 followers
October 2, 2013
Originally reviewed on A Reader of Fictions.

Dualed is a book that I wanted as soon as I heard the summary. When I saw that cover, which is practically perfect in every way, my desire for Dualed kicked into high gear. Thankfully, I was able to finagle myself an ARC, because I really wanted to be able to review it for Dystopian August. I was actually really afraid that this one was going to be a big disappointment, because, let's face it, there are a lot of those in the dystopian genre. Thankfully, I really enjoyed Dualed, one of those books that's pretty hard to put down because the action never stops

Ordinarily, I like to start my reviews with what I did like about the book. With Dualed, however, I feel the need to start with the negative. The reason for that is that I think you need to be warned, so that you can mentally prepare yourself and just enjoy all the things Dualed does well, rather than getting hung up on this aspect.

The world building in Dualed is a bit laughable. I mean, it just does not make sense. Here's the thing: I love the idea of the alts and the kids having to kill someone with their face, and the city is creepy and atmospheric. That's all great. However, despite the blurb of description telling me how this came about, I'm really not buying society ever evolving into this, especially as a way of averting and preparing for war. I'm also not convinced on the science behind alts either.

One of the things I couldn't help wondering about within the context of this world was what happens when your alt dies as an AK (accidental killing during someone else's completion, aka killing their own alt) or of a disease. If that happens, does the remaining alt get a free pass? Besides, I imagine that often both alts are powerful and clever or both are wimpy and useless. Why get rid of one of each set when that doesn't necessarily seem like it will do the best Darwinist job? Wouldn't you be better off sticking all of the kids in an arena and making them kill each other until a specified number remain?

Anyway, enough of that. I just wanted to warn you to not think too much about the why and how of this society and to just suspend your disbelief. Besides that, I had no problems with Dualed. I was completely caught up in the story. There is so much action and excitement. Chapman builds up tension really well. Even though I knew that certain outcomes were guaranteed, I was still super concerned at the ending that things would not turn out okay. Partially, this suspense is maintained by the fact that Chapman definitely proves herself one of the awesome authors not afraid to have good people die in nasty ways.

Connecting with West took me a little while. She's one of the most emotionally closed off heroines I've encountered, reminding me most strongly of Trella from Inside Out and Outside In. Almost all of West's family has died, either killed by their alts, by accident or through even more painful methods. This has left West with serious trust issues: getting close to someone can only increase your pain when they die or their pain when you die. The more I got to know her, though, the more I liked her and sympathized with her. Though Dualed is not at all about being a typical teenager, her fear of not being good enough is one to which every reader can relate. Much as I came to care for and worry about West, I did still sometimes want to shake her, because she makes stupid decisions. They're the kind I would probably make too, blinded by the fear and pain of the moment, but I wish I could spare her that.

What I found especially interesting about West was that she was not an especially strong or weak character; so many YA heroines are either completely useless or total badasses. She comes off as a fairly ordinary (not in personality, but in physical ability) person doing what she has to. Though she's nice and has had her family decimated by this world, she becomes a striker, an assassin to kill the alts of others. She does this to practice for when she has to battle her own alt, since she does not feel at all prepared. She's fairly good at striking (though not a prodigy), but she still falls to pieces in the face of, well, her own face. I really do love the idea of having to fight a physical manifestation of your personal demons. Could you kill someone with your face?

My favorite character, though, was definitely Chord. He is definitely one of the YA heroes we should all be squeeing over. Though he does have some stalkerish tendencies, I believe them to be solely because to help West become a Complete, to help her kill her alt. Aside from following her to help keep her from dying, West is pretty hands off. He gives her the space she wants when he can, he doesn't press his feelings on her, he gives her money and medical care, and he doesn't give up on her. Chord is a steady, reliable presence, not commanding like most YA guys. He is sweet and also, for bonus points, a tech nerd. Be still my heart, because a guy who says stuff like the quote below? The best kind of guy.

Dualed is an action-packed thrill ride that will be perfect for fans of The Hunger Games or Divergent who are willing to overlook some weakness in world building in exchange for adventure and drama. Dualed definitely focuses on action, though there is some romance and even some humor.
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews546 followers
October 5, 2012
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A society pits yourself vs. yourself to breed a city of fighters in a war no one really knows about.

Opening Sentence: I’ve buried nearly everyone I love.

The Review:

What would you do if you had to fight yourself to stay alive? Everyone in Kersh has a twin: an exact look-alike with the same mannerisms but grew up in a different home. Sometime when you’re 10 years old to 21 years old, you will be activated. The Board (government) will knock on your door, your eyes will have an activation sequence that is the same as your Alt’s, and you have exactly 31 days to find him/her and kill them. West Grayer has lost her whole family. Her mother was killed in a car accident, her father committed suicide afterwards, and her brother and sister were killed by their Alts. But then a freak accident occurs, and she’s alone. Except for her and her brother’s best friend Chord. Almost a month later, West is activated. And she’s on the run. She’s spent her whole life training for this moment, imagining exactly what she’ll do the moment the activation sequence is alive in her eyes. But now she’s not sure. Is she actually ready to kill her Alt? Is she ready to keep Chord as far away as possible so she doesn’t risk his life? Is she worthy enough to win?

I had high expectations for this book. And I’m sorry to say that it let me down. The beginning was slow and there was hardly any world-building throughout the book. Granted, the story picked up towards the end of the middle (did you follow that?), but the entire story is a whole whopping of run, close call, run, close call, run. Any world-building or description of the outside world was told in the beginning and left there, never to be brought up again. I want to know more about this war that has the city preparing all of its citizens as soldiers. I want to know more about the Board and how they became in charge. I hope that some of these questions will be answered in the sequel, but at least give us readers a hint to hold on to. By the end of the book, I totally forgot about the war. I gave up on questioning the Board because West wasn’t questioning them. It was all very anti-climactic and didn’t have the drive every good story should have.

So with the plot disappointing me, I turned to the characters. And the more I thought about them, the more I realized that there is hardly any development/set up for them. Every single character was static. West was the only dynamic character, and it was a good change. She’s a strong heroine that has to overcome her own personal emotions in order to overcome the physical conflict.

I think the main reason I didn’t like this book is because there was only one character arc. Most (and I mean most, not all) YA books have multiple stories and multiple conflicts. Everything in Dualed is focused on West killing her Alt. There is a romantic arc, but it’s poorly developed and almost comes out of nowhere (there are hints throughout the book, but no actual romantic thoughts of Chord from West until BAM they “love” each other).

The ending was the best and most unpredictable part of the book. But overall this was a very disappointing book. Granted, I read an ARC so it can change. But I’m not excited to read the next book. The ending left me satisfied, and with a tinsy-weensy hint of a war in the beginning, I’m not left with a burning passion to find out what happens next. Hopefully the sequel, Divided, will be better than the first.

Notable Scene:

From the moment you get your assignment and you make the decision to run, life changes in the most momentous of ways. It’s no longer a question of what you’re going to do that day, what you’re going to eat, who you’re going to see. It’s how you’re going to survive until the next day comes. That you were stressing out about some exam or essay means nothing. Instead you learn how to be paranoid. You learn to distinguish between the echoes behind you. You learn how to beg and sneak and how to move in the dark.

You learn that you can never go home again. At least, not until you’re complete.

As I near the front of my house, I take a second to make sure there are still no signs of life inside. I can’t go in blind–because it’s my own home, not in spite of it. My house has become a trap, a potential converging point that ninety-seven times out of a hundred is not going to end well for the Alt who comes home. Not leaving is surrender; returning is suicide.

No lights. I have to go for it.

FTC Advisory: Random House Books for Young Readers provided me with a copy of Dualed. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for pdbkwm.
346 reviews34 followers
October 15, 2015
The synopsis reminds me of Marie Brennan's Doppelganger series. I loved that duology, so I hope this series is good too.

Unfortunately...it's not.

There are good points about this novel. There's a lot of action, it's fast paced, and I like how West isn't all that likeable. She's a bit stupid, but considering her environment it did make sense. If you live in a world where it's kill or be killed, then you'll obviously do your best to try to be a better killer. So when West becomes a striker (an assassin that kills Alts for a price) I understood her motivations.

But by understanding why she did what she did it made me realize how much this world doesn't make sense. For a world as messed up as this one, I find it odd that we hardly hear anything about it. Why are Alts killing each other? Is it to keep the strongest and fittest alts? If so, why are strikers allowed and why do you not train the alts equally? Why must alts wait till their 16 in order to train in guns when they can be active at the ripe ol' age of 10? Why does the board allow for strikers when they want to find the best fit for their city? Why not have alts in a room and go at it? Why kill alts in the first place when there's this whole infertility thing going on?

I just don't get it.

It's also hard to connect to the world and to West when we don't really get to see them. There's a serious lack of world building, but with West it's kind of the same thing. One minute she's sad and wants to do something, the next she signs up to be a striker and then it's six months later and she's a top striker. All of this happens in the same chapter.

Becoming a striker is a huge deal, but we don't really get to see any growth from her because she joins and then we get a time skip. When she gets active we get another time skip to the final 10 or 8 days.

Any growth that we do see from West doesn't feel authentic. I want to understand her motivations and frustrations and I wasn't able to do that until I put the book down and started writing this review.

I'm still going to read Divided, but I'm a bit disappointed with how Dualed turned out.
Profile Image for Wealhtheow.
2,432 reviews543 followers
January 9, 2014
I am insulted that this book made it to print. It is so awful, so illogical, so meaningless, and so trite that I actually got angry reading it.

Basically, this city split apart from the rest of the world and is at war with it. Now, we see exactly one sign that this supposedly war-obsessed city is at war--a flame in the distance in the first chapter, and no one seems to be actually fighting this war, but I'm sure later books in this series (a whole goddamned series for this pile of muck!) will lampshade this by saying the war never existed in the first place or the rest of the world is already dead or something ~dark~ and ~unexpected~. To ensure that their citizens were all warriors, the Board came up with a plan: every person has a genetic match, born at the same time to different parents. At some point between age 10 and 20, these matched pairs (called Alts) will be given each other's names and home addresses and told to kill each other. The survivor is called a "complete" and is allowed greater privileges. If they don't kill each other within 31 days, they both die. It's an absurd way to run a society, and there is basically no way anyone would ever come up with it, let alone get an entire society to implement it for generations. But whatever, let's pretend this is plausible. The basic premise isn't even the worst part: that's the main character, who is so illogical, so stupid, and so utterly random in her motivations that she breaks all suspension of disbelief. There's also a romance shoe-horned in to the plot (which consists entirely of West killing random strangers and then freaking out when her Alt tries to kill her, over and over), but who cares.
Profile Image for Ophelia Mercy.
9 reviews2 followers
February 8, 2013
Have you ever seen one of those Hollywood action movies with a bad plot, weak characters and some rather action packed scences that make you go, "woot". This is the best way to go about reviewing Dualed. I have made a pros and cons list for you all. Enjoy(better then the actual book.)

+The book is a quick read.
+The action is written out very well.
+West is a great heroine, in her own right.
+This list will end soon, as in now.

-West is just about as dimensinal as a slice of cheese. Her cohorts are even worse. Chord is just the boy that likes her. Thats really the only other main character.
-The plot is contrived at best. What caused the world to need two people that are excatly alike to fight to the death? A flu shot, that made everyone steril. This is also not explained past, "The cold shot made everyone steril"
-The lack of growth in EVERY character is also very note-worthy.
-Why did West become an assissan to just run away, then go through the Hollywood "cat-fight". Weak.
-The BEST BEST BEST WORST thing about the book would have to be the butchered sentence structures. EVERYWHERE. A little typo here and there fine. The bloody book is full of oddly worded things. Like, "It(no coma) rain had made everything wet." Rain(coma) tends to do that.

There are better books out there that do EVERYTHING this book tried to do, so much better you will cry. One thing I have to say about the book however is.................. I will not read a sequal.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
662 reviews2,253 followers
Want to read
May 23, 2012
A fight to the death against yourself?! But which self is the bad one? Interesting!
Profile Image for Heidi.
756 reviews175 followers
February 11, 2013
Every once in a while a book comes along whose premise is so utterly captivating that you know you have to read it. You also know there’s a good chance it won’t work, but that ever so slim possibility that it will be amazing is what led me to Dualed. But I’m going to tell it to you strait people: this book makes no sense. You may really like it regardless, and I won’t blame you one bit–it has a lot of action, a fast pace, and is incredibly engrossing. But it makes no sense.

Dualed is a book that will polarize readers. The premise of Dualed, the idea that you grow up in a city with a physical ‘Alt’ or double whom you must kill/be killed by before you turn 20 is astoundingly brutal. By choosing to write in a first-person-present-tense narrative, Chapman manages to draw readers into the story and make it sickeningly personal. For some readers, this is what will draw them to this story. West’s tale becomes your concern so easily, it is gripping, violent, and disturbing in ways that will captivate an audience. However, it is these same qualities that will cause a faction of readers to push away from Dualed. It can easily feel too personal, will sicken many, and quite frankly I’m already pitying the libraries who will receive complaints from parents about the level of violence.

Chapman, however, handles the violent aspects of Dualed very cleverly. She places us in Kersh, a city where violence, murder, and death are a part of every life. What we see as brutal, they see as survival and necessity. I will argue in many cases that the violence in books should not be the determining factor for readers, but that it is the underlying ideas and philosophy that matter most. Dualed, judging by the blurb, is so convinced that it has these philosophical conundrums that will make readers think, but I disagree whole heartedly. The world building just wasn’t there to back this up, leaving the violence as more of a shock factor than a tool.

Here we get to the crux of my issues with Dualed. Chapman gives us a society with an intensified survival of the fittest mentality, but provides little in the way of foundation for that world. One could try to think of Kersh as a SciFi version of Sparta–a city-state where children are trained from a young age to be warriors and the weak are left to die–accept for the fact that with the level of technology, this makes no sense. Kersh genetically engineers doubles of every single child in the city with the intent that one double will kill the other thus proving themselves the stronger and more worthy of the two to protect the city. In survival of the fittest societies we might see weak or sickly children abandoned to die of exposure, and weak adults kept from reproducing, in Kersh…no one should be weak. They have 100% control over the genetic make up.

Okay, so maybe it relies heavily on nurture rather than nature–what schooling and drive are put into these individuals throughout their youth. But this doesn’t really add up either. Children can be made ‘Active’ anytime between the ages of 10 and 20, ‘Active’ being the month in which they have to kill their Alt or be destroyed themselves. And yet, training is unavailable (other than privately within families) until students are around 14, and combat training is unavailable until 16. So how does activating 10 year olds and making them murder one another strengthen society?

Essentially, Chapman has created a world that makes no sense (I could list a lot of other questions I have, but won’t for TLDR purposes). To her credit, she does have a certain amount of world building aspects meant to counter these questions. For example, there are societal deterrents to killing your Alt when you are Idle (not yet Active), or for parents/anyone else to kill someone else’s Alt, but in the end things just didn’t add up for me. How can a society be making itself as strong as possible by sanctioning the brutal murder of over half their population?

Unfortunately, on top of my world building issues, I also felt there were major flaws in the plot. For example, early in the story (early enough that I don’t consider this a spoiler despite the fact that it’s not mentioned in the blurb–in fact, if I’d known this I would have been more excited about the book–but feel free to skip to next paragraph if you’re worried), West signs up to work as an assassin. Now, she shows up, stomps her feet a bit, and they sign her on. They don’t question who she is, where she came from, what her skills and capabilities are–nothing. And anything they do question her on, she throws a fit over. As if it makes perfect sense to let a 15 year old into your underground operation when you know nothing about them and one misstep will get you all killed by the government. What?

I felt that so much of Dualed was too easy and convenient. It was a cool concept, but it could have gone in so many directions that made more sense than it did. I was unable to connect to the characters, which makes sense in a world where death knocks frequently on all doors, but ultimately I just didn’t care. I do not see room for this story to continue as a series, and though there were definite positive aspects (it is well written, and also yay for multicultural characters), I don’t see myself recommending this book when there are so many others out there who ask better questions using the same formula.

Original review posted at Bunbury in the Stacks.
Profile Image for Jaime Arkin.
1,422 reviews1,326 followers
September 29, 2014
I saw this cover and read the summary and I knew I had to read this! Now that I'm done, I'm not even sure what to say about it.. I really really enjoyed it, but there is so much to say and I don't want to ruin it for anyone!

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

Imagine a world where between the ages of 10 - 20 you are in fear of having to prove your worth by killing someone that looks exactly like you. Alt's as they are referred to in the book are a person's twin... just raised by a separate family. When a family decides they want a child, the very next couple to make that decision becomes involved. The results are twins that have the DNA of all 4 adults. One goes to live with one couple and the other with the other couple.

West Grayer is 15, and an Idle... someone between the ages of 10-20 who hasn't been activated. She's watched family, friends and strnagers kill and be killed, and when we meet her, she's just left her father's funeral and is sitting in a diner with her brother Luc.

As an Idle, she attends school where she learns skills that will hopefully help her survive when she becomes active. Being active means that the board has given you 30 days to kill your alternate, or you both die. If she can survive and be the one who's 'worthy' it means better schooling, better food, a job and marriage.

Instead of depending on a system that doesn't really work, for training she becomes a Striker. Strikers are hitmen, hired by active Alt's to take out their twin so they don't have to go through it. She's determined to survive and do whatever she needs in order to make that happen, even if it means cheating the system and using this opportunity to hone skills she wouldn't learn until she's older.

The first chapter of this book blew me away. There I said it.


So much happens and you get a lot of information so pay attention. But, we also meet Chord in the first chapter.

Chord is a family friend who has lived 5 houses down for most of West's life. A year older than her, and friends with her brothers, they've always had a teasing kind of relationship. I really really liked him, and I really really liked that their 'relationship' wasn't the focus and didn't take away from the actual story and plot of the book. We get hints of Chord throughout because he's mostly in the background as this story is told by West and rightfully so, it's truly her story. But when we do get those glimpses of him, I loved him just a bit more, he's patient and gentle with her and is trying to do what he can to protect her. But she struggles with her feelings and what they could mean throughout this book. One of my favorite passages:

He moves his arm and slowly sits up. No shirt, despite it being winter outside. His shoulders are more broad than I'd have ever guessed, cut and defined by angles both soft and sharp. I can't miss the slow, languid play of muscle and bone within them as he turns to face me.

For a long moment, I just let myself look at him. Completely overwhelmed that he wants me, loves me..."

I really liked West... But ugh I wanted to shake her! Once you read this book, you'll know why. She's tough, she's strong, she's confident ... and then she's not- something happens that throws her for a loop and she's no longer certain she's the best version of herself... the one who should survive. We kinda meet her Alt too - in a way, learning a bit about her as West does. It has to be strange knowing that someone who looks exactly like you is out there in the world and you have no idea who they are or what they are like and most likely the only time you will ever meet them is the day they come to kill you.

Chapman has filled this book with suspense, non-stop action and even that little bit of romance. But more than that, a female character who shows strength and determination and doesn't depend on a guy to save her.

It will be interesting to see where the next book takes us and I'm looking forward to it!

Definitely check this out if you're into the dystopian genre... It took me back to memories of reading The Hunger Games in some respects, (the action and desperation to survive, but not knowing what was going to happen) but definitely a completely original plot and I truly enjoyed it!

Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
February 22, 2013
4.5 stars

Kersh City is the last war-free zone in the world, but this world comes at a price.
Alts. Two identical children are born with two sets of parents. Each much raise their children to be the best killer.
Their Assignments are given between the ages of 10-20. You have 31 days to hunt down and kill your Alt before your Alt kills you. If neither one Completes by the 32nd day, you will both be terminated for your alternate code will self-detonate.
Only one can survive.
Kill or be killed.
Be the one, be worthy.

Well hell! I knew that I wanted to read this book, but I never thought it would be this absolutely amazing book that is easily one of my favorite reads of the year! If I had to pick one word to describe Dualed,it would be Fan-freaking-tastic!

Canadian author, Elsie Chapman's writing is simply sensational. It's confident, cunning and solid. The world she created is brilliant, fresh and unique. It's creative and imaginative and probably one of the most thought provoking stores I've ever read.
The pacing and flow is pitch perfect. The mix of emotions and pound-happy action is both heartbreaking and exhilarating. This is a sci-fi survival story that challenges the characters to be the best of the best and your opponent is you. Your Alt. To fight to be the better version.
How cool and wicked is this concept? It's no secret that I love survival type books and I'm happy to say that Dualed slides right next to my favorites.

West Grayer is a 15 year old idles and such a conflicting creature. She's at war with herself, and I'm not talking about her Alt. I'm taking about how much pressure guilt and fear and determination can weigh you down. It doesn't matter how much guts and skills and promises she has, it's still holding her back and pushing away.
But who could blame her? West comes from an entire family of Incompletes. So what makes her think that she's the worthy version of herself? What makes her think she could win? By doing everything she has to do to survive, she decides to become a Striker, a person who is hired to kill Alts for money. Here she will hone her skills till it's time to face down her own Alt.
My heart really went out to West. She is such a stubborn and passionate character. Apart of me wants to jump up and cheer her on while the other part wants to strangle her. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the whole Striker thing. I understand the reasons behind it, but that doesn't mean it's morally the right choice. Even after the story is done, I'm still undecided. However I can't seem to be upset at her for pushing away Chord as much as she did. He's the last and only person left that she cares about. So who's to say that her Alt wont go after him the same way Chords Alt went after her brother. It's selfish and selfless and frustrating and beautiful and I'd probably do the same thing if it were me.
As for Chord, you can't help but just adore him to pieces. This guy wont take no for an answer. Push him down and he'll only push back harder. You just gotta love his fierce determination to help and protect West with everything he has. It may have started out as a promise but it's not hard to tell that it's always been so much more.

The romance was charming and subtle. The banter is sweet and tame but you can still feel that intense ache when things slowed down long enough to get real. I can't say there is a lot of romance in this one, but I wouldn't have it any other way. This book is ultimately about death and survival and anything more then what we got would have confused or distracted that fact.

All in all, this was an instant favorite! Dualed has everything I could ever want in an escape and more. It makes you think and it make you feel. It's fascinating, all consuming and 100% entertaining from start to finish.
Also this reads like a standalone but book two; Divided is already set for next year, which I can't wait to get my greedy little hands on. Greatly looking forward to seeing where Chapman takes this next!
A must read for dystopian sci-fi and survival fans!

(Arc provided by Netgalley and Random House Children's Books)

This review and more can be seen at; WinterHaven Books

winter haven books
Profile Image for Lori.
906 reviews598 followers
January 1, 2015
Dualed was a book that I was really looking forward to. That premise sounds really interesting, doesn't it? A battle to the death against yourself. A battle to find out which of you is truly worthy of a future within the safety of their society. The idea that you aren't the only you out there, that you might not be as good as your alternate, that you might not actually be worthy of surviving until adulthood, that the society you've lived in and grown up in might not want to waste any more resources on you. I was pulled in by it immediately. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.

West Grayer lives in Kersh, a safe, walled society that is free of violence and threats from the outside. The idea of a completely safe society always sounds good, but at what cost does that safety come with? In Kersh, the cost is the ultimate battle. A battle against ones own self. Figuring out a way to beat, and kill, yourself. Anytime between the ages of eleven and twenty, each citizen is given their assignment. It includes brief information about your Alt and the time (30 days later) that you will both be eliminated if neither one is successful in killing the other. When West gets her assignment, she's already been mentally broken. In a very brief time, she must put herself back together and convince herself that she is worthy of surviving. She must learn how to fight, how to stay alive, and how to protect who she loves.

What should have been a high energy, action-packed, emotional thriller laced with romance was a flat, sometimes boring book with a frustratingly emotionless main character. I wanted to feel something with this book. I wanted to be faced with a character struggling with what she's been dealt, a character that truly kicks-butt, a character that deals with her emotions, or at least acknowledges them. I wanted to be forced to think about the intense situation of having to kill your own alternate, what that does to you mentally, how it feels to take someone away from the people who love them, how it feels to be worthy, or unworthy, and why this is such an accepted practice within this society. But I didn't really feel any of that was addressed. Instead I spent the book with an emotionally withdrawn character who ran from her problems and whined about her situation. She made decisions that I didn't understand at all. She was a very hard character to follow and connect with and I was beyond frustrated that I spent most of the book reading about a character who was supposed to be a well trained fighter but ended up running from her own assignment.

I will say that the first few chapters were actually exactly what I thought the book would be. They were highly emotional and contained the kind of action I thought I would find in the rest of the book. They also introduced the character and the storyline that I thought would play a part in the romance that was promised. But it turns out that while the book wasn't afraid to start off with a bang, it quickly ran out of steam. And I think that might be the most frustrating thing about the whole book, that a few chapters lived up to the expectations but that the rest of the book wasn't even close.

Final Thoughts: I don't really have a lot to say about this book other than that it was a disappointment. I wanted the main character to be stronger, smarter, more emotional, and more easily understood. I wanted to be forced to feel more, to think more. The book just dropped off as soon as West got her assignment to kill her Alt and the readers are left wondering why that was the least exciting part of the whole book. Also, don't let the summary fool you, there is no romance in this book. I loved the Chord character, but the 'romance' is completely cold and almost non-existent. That might be a plus for you, I certainly don't always need a romance for a book to be good, but if it's going to be a selling point, then it should be there. I gave Dualed 2 stars and would only recommend it if you are still curious enough to want to read it.
Profile Image for Artemis.
103 reviews12 followers
September 21, 2022
I'm DEVASTATED. I had hopes.

So, the premise makes no sense whatsoever. That goes without saying. The cold vaccine accidentally made all humans on Earth infertile, which led to global war, and so the mysterious all-powerful Board walled off Vancouver and its surrounding area to make a perfectly controlled city where, in order to have children, you got to the Board, they clone two babies, give them to different parents across the city, deny the children good food as they're growing up because the good food is reserved for adults, and then when those children are teenagers they have to fight to the death. This is because there are limited resources and only the strongest need to be able to survive, to be ready to fight The War when The War becomes necessary.

This is absurd nonsense.

The way they do this - activate these teens at some random point between the ages of 11 and 19, with no warning - is also nonsense. They teach combat in high school but there's a strict progression from athletic training to hand-to-hand combat to weapons, and you're not allowed to learn Weapons until you're 16, by which time half of the kids have been activated already. The main character, West, is 15 and doesn't have any practical killing-people skills but also can't enroll in weapons class a year early, it's the Rules. So she becomes a super-duper illegal assassin instead, because this is a more efficient way to get good at killing people. The assassins hire her sight unseen with minimum fuss. They make her get distinctive, recognizable Assassin Tattoos on her hands and then immediately send her out to start killing people for money. She turns out to be pretty effortlessly great at it.

This is also absurd nonsense.

The obligatory romance plot is boring, but not as bad as it could have been.

But I can be here for absurd nonsense if it keeps a fun premise moving. The thing that REALLY gets me is that, over the course of the book, West never talks to her clone. She barely ever sees her clone, and exchanges zero words with her. The clone is a non-character, a non-entity. There are some halfhearted attempts to characterize her through West eavesdropping on her clone's parents and fighting her clone's boyfriend, but the clone herself is treated, more often than not, like a Terminator: steely-eyed, fierce, scary, and murderous. We never hear her say a single word or get any interactions with her at all. WHAT A WASTE OF A PREMISE. ABOUT CLONES. WHAT THE FUCK.

I wanted Forbidden Clone Friendship or Forbidden Clone Romance. I wanted West to have to face the fact that her clone was a person, just like her - and that she was her clone's clone, and that her clone viewed herself as the real person, and HER as a nameless scary clone. I wanted West and her clone to defy the rules and say, no, we both deserve to live. I wanted more acknowledgement that the clones were each their own individuals with their own lives. I wanted to learn the clone's NAME. We never even learn her clone's name!!!

What a tragic waste of a ridiculous but genuinely tense, bitter, and sad premise.

Profile Image for Stefani.
329 reviews97 followers
September 1, 2013
This has to be one of my most highly anticipated book in months. I fell in love with the cover, I’m still in love with the cover. It is spectacular. I also loved the synopsis. The idea behind this book is one that I recognized could be either amazing or terrible, it all depended on execution. This was executed well. Some things probably could have been better but overall as a story I loved it.

The good:

West- She was a fantastic heroine. I found her to be smart, brave, loving, and normal. Unlike a lot of YA heroines, she believes herself to be subpar but isn’t perfect at everything in reality. We all know the heroines I meant. “Man I suck so bad, except for my perfect looks, perfect boyfriend, perfect hair, and inability to do anything that isn’t perfect.” West doubts herself but she’s reasonable in her doubt. She is a normal girl, good at some things and not so good at others. She neither believes she’s amazing or believes she’s terrible at everything. I found her very likely for that reason. I didn’t always understand her motivations but she always made me believe that she was a very girl who was trying her best to do the right thing.

Ending- I will be the first to admit it, I didn’t see the ending coming. Not even a little bit. Of course most of these kinds of books end in one way. The hero/heroine realized how wrong the system is and tries to subvert it in any way possible. That is what I was expecting but it’s not what I got. At this point I am at a loss for how the series will progress but I will be thrilled to find out. I am in for the long haul on this series and I think the ending played a large part in that. Best of all, the ending could serve as the perfect ending for a stand alone story. It was a satisfying end to that story that I wouldn’t mind if it ended right here but there’s still enough of a story to keep going with it too.

Narrative/World Building- West was a good narrator for the book, I liked her thoughts and didn’t mind being inside her head. Sometimes I thought she was being something of an idiot, but still didn’t mind her narration. The world building was good enough that I didn’t have any trouble at all picturing it in my head. I couldn’t quite get a grasp on the rules for the world but it was well put together for the purposes of the book.

The not so good:

Alts- Obviously the Alts were being presented as the protagonists of the book, but I felt that this limited the book in a lot of ways. The Alts are not necessarily the bad guys, we only perceive them that way because our character, West, is being pursued by hers. So since we’re supposed to be on her side then her Alt is automatically the bad guy. But if you honestly look at it then her Alt is going through exactly the same thing as West is. She also has to fight her Alt to the death and leave her family to do so. She also doesn’t know if she’ll be alive or dead in 30 days time. So ultimately they have the same path. I would have liked to see both West and her Alt and get sympathy for both of them. It would have made it less about us versus them and more about us being pitted against them unwillingly.

West as a Striker – I didn’t understand that decision at all. It seemed to come out of left field. Why did she want to do that? Why did she think that would help? And even if she thought it would help, why did she continue after being declared active? It puzzled me all the way through the book. It was an interesting part of the story but since it seemed to have so little effect on the character or the final outcome then I have to wonder, what was the point? Maybe this will be explained later on in the series but I didn’t get what the author was trying to go for.

It used the two most cliched phrases ever- “His eyes darkened briefly.” and “I released a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding.” Authors, please please please I beg you, stop writing these things! It makes me cringe every time I see them. Really it does. Enough is enough. I am banning those phrases from the English language forever.

Much more positive than negative and I can honestly say that I couldn’t put it down. I sat on my couch and ignored the world for the entire last 130 pages, with no break. I just had to see how it would end. If nothing else tells you whether I’d recommend this book, that should.

This and other reviews at my blog, Stefani's World of Words
Profile Image for Sara Grochowski.
1,142 reviews567 followers
June 22, 2015
Elsie Chapman's debut Dualed is one of the best dystopian novels I've read since The Hunger Games and Divergent. For me, it was the action, philosophical elements, and strong female heroine of Dualed that put it in the same league as these successful predecessors. In addition to these elements, Chapman offers readers an entirely new world and society to explore... and attempt to comprehend.

In West Grayer's world, every individual has an Alt: a genetic twin. Each twin in raised separately and grows up training to face the other in a fight to the death. Neither knows when they will be pitted against the other or what skills the other might bring to the table. In this forced showdown meant to simulate a "survival of the fittest" scenario, it isn't always clear who should be considered the "fittest."

I loved the questions raised by Dualed. It could easily be assumed that the reader would want West to win against her Alt, but things aren't so clearly black and white.West's Alt is very much like and very much unlike her, meaning she's still just a girl. It's difficult for the reader to determine if she has any villainous traits that would help guarantee that West is definitely the one who should survive between the two. There is a scene in which West eavesdrops on her Alt's parents, and they appear to be completely normal people who don't deserve to lose their daughter. With these types of portrayals and scenes, it's hard to pick a side while West and her Alt battle to survive.

Another interesting element of the plot is West's involvement with a group of organized criminals who oppose the government. West becomes an hired assassin, available to kill an Alt at a price for an individual for an Alt who feels unable to do it themselves. Highly illegal and dangerous, West and the group's actions called further attention to the idea of which individuals are the "fittest" and most deserving of a future. The government clearly finds physical strength and ability (and any other talents that make for good soldiers and fighters) to be the most desirable and "fit," while having no use for more intellectual or creative skills. In essence, the government is for the death and eventual extermination of those who possess undesirable and unnecessary talents. This is an completely terrifying idea - imagine a world filled only with individuals who possess one type of talent. What a boring and, ultimately, ill-equipped world.

Dualed is a fantastic debut that will truly make the reader consider the importance of diversity while entertaining with a fast pace and strong protagonist.
Profile Image for Michelle Madow.
Author 68 books3,031 followers
December 20, 2012
I gave this book five stars because while reading it, I literally couldn't put it down. I read until 2 in the morning, and then had to force myself to stop reading to go to sleep. Then the next day I read as often as possible until finishing the book. It's rare that a book creates that intense need to keep knowing MORE while reading, and Dualed has that quality. It was addicting. There were no parts that were boring. When read as a straight up thriller, it delivers.

BUT ... there were a few questions I had while reading that I wished were answered.

1) I wish it had been clearer to me when West decided to become a striker why she made a decision. The decision was made early on, but I didn't feel like I understood why she made it until near the end of the book. I would have liked her thought process fleshed out a little bit more while she was making the decision.

2) We never discover the name of West's alt. I wish the alt had been humanized. As it was, the story was presented in a black and white way, to get the reader rooting for West to kill her alt. I wish the author had touched upon the difficulties of killing someone so similar to yourself, and this could have been done if the alt had been given a name/more of a personality.

3) I expected that West would converse with her alt, and the two of them would band together to bring down the system. At the end of the book, I was left wondering why this story was told about West, opposed to the tons of other citizens living in her city who also had to kill their alts. What makes West different? What has she done that was so much better than all the other completes in her city? As far as I could tell, there was nothing stand out about what she did that made her more deserving than others to be the protagonist in this story.

3a) If the story was told how I expected, with West and her alt joining forces, it would have been awesome if we had alternating points of view to humanize both of the alts.

Don't get me wrong -- I loved the story for what it was: A futuristic thriller. I couldn't focus on anything else while reading this book because I needed to know how it ended. It's a rare book that can do that, and I look forward to reading the sequel.
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