Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dualed by Elsie Chapman [REVIEW]

TITLE: Dualed (Dualed #1)
AUTHOR: Elsie Chapman
PUBLISHER: Random House
PUB DATE: Feb 26 2013
Summary from Goodreads:

"You or your Alt? Only one will survive.

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

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

Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better."


It sure is hard to find a good dystopian story these days... Dualed was one of my most anticipated debut novels to read for this year. Sadly, I just couldn’t find it in me to appreciate anything about it.

When I first read the summary of Dualed on Goodreads, I was ecstatic. A world where having a twin is mandatory, an Alternate as they call it. Citizens must prove themselves worthy to live on Kersh by eliminating their Alts within a month of being “activated”. If not, both Alts would self destruct. Kersh may be a safe haven from the war outside its borders but here, only the strong survive and the weak must be purged...

I don’t get the logic behind killing your Alt. West says: “All for peace... fighting ourselves in here, so we don’t have to fight the world out there...” I feel that it wasn’t a good enough reason, but I let that go. Eliminating ones Alt gives the victor the chance to live a life of luxury and privilege. Okay, I guess that’s a good bout. Then I came upon the purpose behind eliminating the weak. I forgot the exact words but this is pretty much the idea: when in case the war does break through they have soldiers prepared to send out. WTF? (Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s a part in this book that talked about this and this is how I understood it). It would have been a viable, albeit wrong and unjust, explanation but with how vague it was described and how messy it was laid out just didn’t suffice.

When a traumatic moment presents itself to West, her ever confident self wavers into someone feeling unworthy of living the life of a Complete (a person who has survived from their Alt). So she does the one thing she thinks is right, enter the profession of becoming a Striker (individuals hired to assassinate another person’s Alt). I thought the tragic events in her life would push her to finally stop doing shit that the government deems them to do, but no... She goes off on a killing spree! While normal heroes and heroines are hesitant about killing people, even the bad guys, West goes off with killing assignments, and I quote her strongly “to train”. Oh yeah, you read it right. Her reason for joining the Strikers as she said it: “I’m in for the training...” Really???

At first I thought her purpose for it was really just to train, like she’d be in extensive exercises and weapons training or something. But on her first day of joining the unit, she’s sent to do her first job, then and there. You sent out a rookie on an actual Striker contract/assignment? Who does that? Okay, so they say it’s a test, let’s say it’s a form of initiation, but I never saw West actually train, like spar, grapple, wrestle, whatever kind of fight-training. Nothing. She really is off on a killing spree. So is that her training? Building an immunity system over the guilt of killing innocent people? Puh-lease.

Another thing, I don’t understand is why West was so scared about killing her own Alt but feels okay to kill someone else’s. What the heck is the difference between them? Aren’t they just wrong on both ends?

You know how most dystopian novels get compared to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collinsthese days? And how a number of authors would take inspiration from it? (I’m not saying the author did so here or anything) I can’t help but make comparisons. I understand that Dualed is giving off the audacity of the government’s way of leading its country, much like, say the Reaping in The Hunger Games. And maybe I would be willing to let the inconsistency of Alt-eliminating back story and purpose go, but the protagonist’s lack of conscience and sense of fighting for what is truly right (like not killing her Alt or anybody else) doesn’t make for a praiseworthy heroine.


  1. Aww. I get sad whenever such promising books fail to deliver what it should give to the readers and if it fell flat.


  2. I'm so sorry to hear this didn't worked out for you. Yeah, that happened to me too. I can't just stop comparing other dystopian books out there to The Hunger Games.


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