January 30, 2013

Latest Read: Dualed

Here are the basics ...
Dualed (#1) by Elsie Chapman
Publication date: Feb. 26, 2013
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Dystopian
Source: Netgalley

Summary: 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 she will have one month to 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 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. (Adapted goodreads.com
My thoughts…
The good: The circumstances and premise surrounding Dualed is both tragic and very, very dark. Even knowing what the book was about beforehand didn't really prepare me for what these children are trained to do. In this world, the entire country is at war and the only safe place is the city of Kersh. But living there comes at a price. Every person born has a genetically-created twin, called an Alt, who is raised by another family. You may look exactly the same but personalities, where you live, who brings you up, your friends - all different. But you both grow up knowing that one day the government will "activate" you and you'll have to kill your Alt to prove you're worthy to live on. If you "complete", you get to go to college, get married.. you get to live. Seeing this through the eyes of fifteen-year-old West Grayer will definitely make you think. I can't imagine growing up the way she did and as I read, I often tried to picture myself in her shoes. She's so young and scared but at the same time, there's this steely strength to her. The whole time she was activated, wondering how and if she was going to succeed kept me turning the pages.

(Major) reservations: As thought-provoking as the premise was, I felt like the book overall was underdeveloped and the writing style almost impersonal. West made so many decisions that I didn't understand and that was largely in part because we're not given much insight into her character until almost too late in the book. And even then, she's watched loved ones die and gone over to the dark side herself (being vague because I don't want to spoil) and she seems so impassive to it all. It's such a dark subject, it would've been more compelling to dig deeper into her psyche and to see how her actions make her feel.

The world-building was also kind of weak. What was the point of creating a twin to kill in order to prove yourself? If the government is that advanced, why not just create a super army of people, all with the same strength and abilities? Is killing your twin part of a deeper conspiracy or test that just hasn't been explained yet? There seemed to be a lot of plot holes. What I got from the story was kill your twin and you get to live happily ever after.

Do I recommend?: For me, Dualed was just okay. I wanted to know how it would end, enough to finish the book but it didn't leave any sort of impression on me.

Happy reading!

6 comments:

  1. This is basically almost exactly how my review is probably going to be. Because there's SO MUCH POTENTIAL... but it didn't work like I wish it had :(

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    1. I know! I'm just glad that I'm not the only one who felt this way. I was really excited about this one too.

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  2. That's disappointing -- it really is. I mean, I was kind of really excited for Dualed and now I'm probably going to put it off some more.

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    1. I know, I was so excited when I got my hands on this one but it was kind of a let down.

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  3. A lot of the questions you asked were the same ones I had running through my head as I was reading Dualed - and where is this government that she's so fearful of??

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    1. Yes! I didn't even think of that! There was no mention of actual people in their government or who all these people were afraid of. So so so many things left unexplained.

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