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Dualed Hardcover – February 26, 2013

3.5 out of 5 stars 137 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

From the Editor of "Dualed"

Chelsea Eberly

I read Elsie Chapman’s chilling novel, Dualed, in one sitting on the morning it was pitched to me. The powerful, raw world of Kersh pulled me in and refused to let go. Here, teens must prepare for the day when they will have one month to hunt down and kill their Alts—twins raised by other families. Only one version of each person is worthy of the city’s limited resources. Survival means advanced schooling, work, marriage—life.

Full of action, suspense, and unexpected romance, this is a book that makes you think. What kind of society wants every adult to be a murderer? How far would you go to protect those you love? Would you be more successful if you just had different parents? How would you feel knowing that the other “you” out there might be the better version? Dualed is one of those fantastic reads where you turn the last page and then turn to the person next to you to begin talking about it. Enjoy!

—Chelsea Eberly

From Booklist

Aside from steadfast Chord, 15-year-old West has no one. But that doesn’t mean that no one is looking for her. As is tradition with every young person and his or her “Alt” (a genetic twin born to different parents), West and her double will soon be given their “assignments” and forced to hunt down each other until one is dead and the other gets to live on as an adult. Fearing her inexperience will doom her, as it did several of her siblings, West hires on as a “striker,” an assassin who “completes assignments” on behalf of wealthy Alts. But when her own assignment finally comes in, she finds herself frozen despite Chord’s constant care and prodding. The relationship between Chord and West develops realistically enough. What is less logical is West’s resistance to completing her assignment, especially in light of Chord’s undeniable love for her, and her growing experience as a killer. Despite the uneven pacing of this debut, the subject matter will attract readers who appreciate especially harsh dystopian settings and situations. Grades 7-10. --Heather Booth
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0780 (What's this?)
  • Series: Dualed
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307931544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307931542
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This review discuses a something that happens in the first 10% of the book. It is something not discussed in the synopsis, but absolutely should have been.

West is literally running for her life for most of this book. She has gone active and has the constant knowledge that her ALT is after her. With all of this, "Dualed" lacks tension. It's annoyingly repetitive and West is just too stoic a narrator. The story starts off strong; West has just buried another sibling who was killed by their alternate. She is still in her funeral blacks when Cord, a boy she has known all of her life, goes active. (Going "Active" means that you have a month to hunt down and kill your alternate) West refuses to lose another person and pushes Cord to go after his alt immediately. This sets off a chain of action packed and heartbreaking events.

At this point, I am hungrily flipping through the pages. I'm thinking that this book is going to be great, but it isn't. The issue is that the book doesn't so much decline as it goes static. West runs around Kersh, trying to avoid her Alt and Cord, while killing strangers and innocents. In the first 10% of this book West becomes a Striker. A striker is an assassin who kills alts for those who can afford to pay. This ruined the book for me. One, because "Dualed" isn't being advertised as a book about an assassin and I felt completely blindsided. It happens so early in the book, that it blows my mind that it is not mentioned in the synopsis, the trailer or any other promotional media I have seen. Second, in a world filled with Katniss Everdeens and Rose Hathaways it is very difficult to like a heroine who kills for no reason.

The author tries to give us this spiel about how Striker's fight against the system. No.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Dualed , we are brought into Kersh: a city-state in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been left infertile. The Board - the governing body - somehow has managed to find a way to create/grow human clones in labs two at a time. Every set of twins (or Alts) are separated at birth (hatching?) and each baby is raised by a different family. They never meet until the time comes for them to hunt down and kill their clone upon their activation. You see, the Board teaches that the survival of Kersh depends upon the strength of its population, so only those who kill their Alts are worthy of living there. This world-building is interesting, but it left me hungering for more. It seemed like there were holes in the story and zip-aheads (you know, when you fast forward in time - roll with it) that confused me a bit. When it came to other aspects of the story, I could suspend disbelief enough to believe Kersh wanted to be a land of killers, but I wanted to read more about why the Board activated certain individuals when they did. I also wish there would have been more showing of the parents and how they dealt with the loss of one child, but having another walking around, genetically the same.

The writing itself in Dualed was gripping, but I did have a bit of trouble connecting with the characters. West Grayer is a young girl surrounded by death and loss, and I think she is a fair representation of that. She is withdrawn and pushes away anyone who attempts to get close to or help her. I think this included me. However, West was fascinating to observe (I never felt like I was there with her like I do in many books), and I enjoyed her interactions with Chord. My favorite thing about her was the doubt she felt about being the worthy one, being as she was a hired assassin for other people's Alts.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The overarching premise of Dualed plays on one of the oldest fears in human existence - the fear of the ghostly double, or the doppelgänger. Since the Egyptians, people have feared seeing their double, because it was commonly viewed as a portent or foreshadowing of death.

In Dualed, Chapman ups the ante by making the doppelgänger an actual harbinger of death. Because in the city of Kersh, citizens have to fight their genetic doubles or Alts to the death before their twentieth birthday. Those who survive, are able to live out their days in relative comfort. But that's only IF you survive.

For fifteen-year-old West Grayer, taking down her Dualed is something that she's trained for almost her entire life. However, after an accident, she starts questioning her ability to face off with her Alt.

***

Things that worked:

* Chapman doesn't hesitate from building a world that is bleak and dangerous. The main characters routinely see people get killed in front of them, and are constantly discussing the possibility of their own deaths. There's no hand-holding in Kersh, a writing decision which I thought was brave, and honestly, comparable to the Hunger Games.

* The pace. The reader is thrown into the action immediately, and Chapman only keeps ratcheting up the anticipation. The plotting is masterful, and I spent the second half of the novel biting my lip.

* West's characterization. Unlike the rash of Mary Sues in YA lit, West is difficult to like. She's prickly. She does things that would make you recoil from her if she were a real person. I found this to be a refreshing change, quite frankly.

Because she has qualities that make us dislike her, West ultimately becomes more human, and more understandable.
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