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Thursday, February 28, 2013

REVIEW: Dualed, by Elsie Chapman

Published in 2013
The Hunger Games meets Matched in this thrilling high-concept YA where citizens must prove their worth by killing their Alts—twins raised by other families. You or your Alt? Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. 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. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life. 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.

Another dystopian YA novel. I have to admit, I'm glad dystopian fiction is picking back up and we're a little less heavy into vampires right now.

This is a different premise. Like the blurb says, there's a Hunger Games-esque quality, in that it's a "kill or be killed" policy for all 10-18 year olds, and you never know when you're number is going to, quite literally, be up. The Matched reference confuses me a little bit, ok.

The reader is dropped right into the story. West's world is upended, immediately, and you hit the ground running. And there is only room for a breather when West takes one. She's a really interesting character, living in a future world that should be more like her--interesting.

I didn't like (spoiler here, friends) that once West's assignment was given, she ran. Don't give me grief, she did. She ran, and she hid. And you never really get a sense of why. It can't be simply because she wants the best possible opportunity--she'd have to be looking for her Alt for that. I got this sense that she was biding her time until the clock wound down. But wait! A boy helps her to "see the light" and choose to live. Sigh...she's too strong a girl for that.

I also felt like the "world" was almost nonexistent. I needed some backstory, or at least, more than I got since it clearly didn't make an impression. Why was dualing with your Alt the accepted social norm? Other than offhand comments/flashbacks, are you ever going to explain why West is alone in this world, as far as family goes? What the heck is a PK?

All in all, it felt like an unfinished book. And yes, I get that this is a series and I appreciate that there is no cliffhanger going into book 2. I wanted to like this story, because the premise was sound, but it just didn't have enough cohesiveness and substance to hold it together for me.

What do you think??

Shop Indie BookstoresDisclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Randome House BYFR through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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