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Monday, March 18, 2013

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Title: Dualed
Author: Elsie Chapman
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Publishing House: Random House
ISBN: 9780307931542
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


                                            Be the one
Be worthy

The city of Kersh is a haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate, a twin rased by another family, and teens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage - life.

West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But a tragic misstep shakes West's confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt she's no longer the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running, not only from her Alt, but also from love... though both have the power to destroy her.

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

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Imagine living the first 20 years of your life knowing that one day your government is going to give you an assignment to track and hunt down your genetic Alternate, your twin of sorts raised by another family, and only one of you will survive. Survival means eliminating your Alternate and if successful you get a shot at living a better life - advanced schooling; marriage; better food.

It's an interesting premise and since I could not resist I proceeded to imagine myself living in a world as harsh as that, where killing is normal and everyone is trained to become soldiers. I figured that if I were ever given an assignment like that I'd be shot dead in a few seconds.

Dualed has its good points and its bad points, but I suppose that I'm giving it a four out of sheer enjoyment. The story is told in West Grayer's point of view and it basically chronicles her struggle with the tragedy of losing her family, her battle with her Alternate, and her growing feelings for her childhood friend Chord. I liked West. I thought that she was a strong heroine, capable and resourceful with a penchant for pushing others away when she's hurting and would prefer to hash things out on her own. It's just that sometimes I found her a tad bit cold and distant and I could not understand her reasons as to why she chose to become a striker - an assassin for hire. As a distraction? Training? 

Another thing I was iffy about was Chord and West; while I liked Chord and his relationship with West well enough, I just couldn't get a feel for them at times because their interactions with each other were akin to that of strangers. They're childhood friends right? Shouldn't there have been some sort of lingering emotional connection or tension between them?

It's also easy enough to picture the city of Kersh, the desperation and fear that permeates through the Actives - people who are in the process of killing their Alt - and the success and elation that a Complete feels. It wasn't hard to imagine the underground world of Strikers and their ilk becoming assassins for hire as a show of rebellion against their government. I guess I just want to see more backstory although whatever's written in the book is enough to give readers a feel for things.

What I also liked about Dualed was the action, suspense and anticipation. I could hardly put down the book because I was waiting for the moment West gets her assignment, and when it started, I was caught up in the cat and mouse chase she was engaged in with her Alt. 

Overall, Dualed is a highly entertaining and suspenseful sci-fi read where children are raised to become soldiers and killing their Alternate is simply a rite of passage. I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel.



  1. I have only read one review of this book and it wasn't a good one which was disappointing because the premise for this sounded so good! However, after reading your review, I think I might check it out after all because of the action :D A bit iffy the characters didn't seem to have developed that well but I think it'll be worth it for the suspense and thrill of the story :) Great review Nicole and so happy to see you two back :D

    1. I know! All the reviews for this book have been on the 3-3.5 spectrum. But I was surprised to find that I loved it. :) And yes, we're back! Finally. Thank you for dropping by!