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Dualed is a YA sci-fi dystopian novel by Elsie Chapman.

The city of Kersh has avoided the turmoil of war by keeping their population strong. How they do that is a high price, however.

Every person has a genetic Alternate – essentially a twin or clone – raised by another family. And by their twentieth birthday the two Alternates will be “activated”.

That’s when they’re given thirty days to eliminate their Alt – proving their worth to the society as someone able and strong enough to kill another.

Once they’ve survived that test, better food and livelihood await them.

West Grayer, fifteen years old, has seen almost everyone she loves die. Having trained as a fighter, as a killer, she feels she’s ready for the day of her assignment to come – until another tragedy in her life shakes her confidence.

Unsure if she is worthy to survive the battle with her Alt, West decides to start making dangerous, risky decisions that will give her more of an opportunity to prepare – and maybe avoid thinking about all she’s lost.

But will she have a chance to win her survival?

Dualed, with its concept of an Alternate for every person, was appealing to me. I wanted to read it when I heard even just a tad of its premise.

Sadly, Dualed did not live up to my expectations.

The bizarre, but initially intriguing, plot felt like a game. I felt that, as a reader, I was thrown into the story without enough of an opportunity to really get a feel for the world and characters – and care. But I, of course, tried to give it a chance and be patient.

Just a few pages in, I realized that the storyline was actually rather upsetting and disturbing to me, not fun. And not in a way that is thought-provoking and compelling, but more in the way that I started to realized that I just didn’t like it.

I hate to say something like that because I know that an author, and others, worked hard to create this book and present it to the reading public – but that is how I felt.

Also, I continued to be disconnected to Dualed throughout the entire novel. Perhaps because there was a majority of telling and maybe not enough showing.

Plus, our heroine, West, was not at all likable to me. I didn’t feel like her decisions made any logical sense, or were even explainable on an emotional level. She frustrated and upset me.

I really didn’t feel anything as I read Dualed, except impatience.

Eventually I started to skim the novel, which I felt bad about – but it did nothing for me.

Even with an, in my opinion, lackluster romance – Dualed was stale, odd, and lumbering.

Hopefully you’ll disagree!


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