Some people say that everyone has a twin somewhere in the world, but for West Grayer this is her reality.
After the universal cold vaccine left everyone sterile, it was up to science to ensure the continuation of the human race. With war waging everywhere, a small group set off to begin their own city. Citizens of Kersh are protected from the wars of the Surround, and each section of the city produces a necessary commodity. But with the population now healthy and booming, resources have become limited. To ensure that only the strongest and most worthy survive, each child is born with a genetic twin, or alternate. When they come of age, each twin is set with the task of killing their alt in order to complete.
West has lost everyone she loves. Her mother was a PK or peripheral kill, and her father couldn’t take the loss. Her older brother Aave and her younger sister Ehm both died at their alt’s hands. She and her brother Luc are the only ones left until she loses him as well. But now West has to set aside her misery because her own assignment has come up, and her alt is going to be ruthless, set on her own survival.
This new series from Elsie Chapman is dark, dark, dark. It’s a teen read similar in theme to other dystopians (like the Hunger Games) and (also like the Hunger Games) features a strong female lead. In spite of those similarities, Dualed is fairly different from other titles in the dystopian vein. West is an assassin and much of the book takes on an urban warfare kind of feel. There is a romance but it’s almost pushed to the background with the main plot focused on West’s finding and surviving her assignment. The world building and politics are fairly light in this first outing, but are featured more prominently in its sequel, Divided.
6/14 Becky Lejeune
DUALED by Elsie Chapman. Ember; Reprint edition (May 27, 2014). ISBN 978-0307931559. 320p.