My Rating: 2 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: I love finding out about new Canadian authors. So, when I discovered that Elsie Chapman’s Dualed was available on NetGalley, I requested it. The synopsis sounded fantastic, and I thought that West and her Alt would become BFFs and try to bring down Kersh’s government together (or something like that). Yeah … not so much! What I got was a story with ridiculous worldbuilding, a protagonist that was hard to like, and a plot with very little substance.
In Dualed, the gated city of Kersh attempts to protect its citizens from the violence of the world outside by isolating them and making itself self-sufficient. In case the Surround does decide to attack Kersh though, the Board – which we get very little information about – ensures that every adult living in the city is capable of becoming a soldier since they’ve all been trained to kill (and have killed at least their Alt with what appears to be little remorse). Basically, that’s one of the purposes of having Alts; the other is that due to the problem of infertility, the Board wants that only the best version of two couples’ genes survives.
Though there seems to be some discontent with the Board’s system, I personally find it preposterous that most of Kersh’s citizens could be so complacent about having Alts. It’s sickening to imagine that people could be okay with the thought of ten-year-olds possibly killing each other! Also, for a city deemed to be a safe haven, the price of living in it seems awfully high what with all the violence (e.g. Alts killing Alts, Alts hiring strikers, civilians getting caught in the crossfire and becoming Peripheral Kills, etc.) occurring on a daily basis.
Then we have West herself. At the beginning of the book, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for West because she had lost her parents and siblings to violence. However, once West became an active (i.e. she has to kill her own Alt or risk being killed), it became really hard for me to understand her decisions. She freezes up when she’s initially activated (yet had earlier forced her brother’s best friend, Chord, to hunt down his Alt ASAP), pushes Chord away rather than letting him help her, and continues to work as a striker (West figured it would be a good way to get some more training) despite having a target on her back.
The only reason I finished Dualed was because Chapman’s ability to write a thriller was good enough to keep me curious about the ending. I kept waiting to see when West would run into her Alt, but eventually, all that chasing started to feel incredibly pointless. It took far too long to get to the predictable ending!
Dualed was released in February 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers.
Comments About the Cover: I really like the thriller feel to it.
In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Random House) for free via NetGalley.
|original image from thegate.ca|