Dualed introduces us to a world that has been ravaged by war and a city that has managed to close itself off as a safe haven, but the price for this is extremely high. Everyone is expected to be the best solider they can be just in case something happens to that wall that protects them, and so the concept of Alternates comes in. Two versions of the same person, and like the ever famous quote from Highlander ‘there can only be one’.
This turned out to be a great debut and a rather interesting dystopian. Unlike other dystopians this doesn’t focus on a main character working to bring down the government or some ‘big bad’, instead it focuses on a girl who simply wants to survive her accepted way of life. I personally get a bit tired of every day teens dismantling governments and I just want to see how people cope and deal with what they’ve been forced into, and that’s exactly what West does. When we meet her West has already been through so much and she hasn’t even been assigned to kill her alt yet, I thought that the opening chapter was very strong. The world building that Chapman does in the first few chapters is very solid and gives that emotional understanding of exactly what kind of place she’s in and just what she’s going to have to deal with. The introduction of the Strikers, hired alt killers, is something I could totally see happening if something like this ever occurred and kind of brought about a bit of moral turmoil for me. I couldn’t decide if it was a good thing because it saved people from doing something terrible or if it was just as bad because someone is still having to die.
West is a tough girl, but she’s also still just a fifteen year old girl. She makes mistakes, sometimes she’s too stubborn, and most of all she’s conflicted. She knows what she needs to do and she’s always thought she was prepared for it, but when the time comes she finds herself unsure and at times she makes some really bad choices. The hunt that happens between her and her Alt was really intense at times and kept me guessing on how it was all going to end. I would have loved to see more about West’s Alt, because while we get to know her a bit it’s not enough to truly compare her to West. Chord I felt probably could have been fleshed out a tad more but I enjoyed his loyalty to West, despite her constant attempts to push him away and refuse his help.
The ending wraps up nicely and i was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to see more of West or the city of Kersh, but I found out that there will be a second book called Divided. So I’m super curious as to what will happen next because I honestly don’t know but I have a few hopes for it. Overall this turned out to be a pretty solid debut and I’m looking froward to more from Chapman.