Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dualed and Divided by Elsie Chapman Reviews

Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Available Now
Publisher: Random House
Hardback 292 pages
To Buy Links- Amazon/ Kindle/ Paperback/ AudioCDAudibleBN/ Book Depository/
Indiebound/ Kobo
Goodreads- In the city of Kersh, everyone must eliminate their genetic Alternate twin, raised by another family, before their twentieth birthday. West Grayer, 15, has trained as a fighter, and has one month to hunt and kill her Alt. A tragic misstep shakes her confidence. Guilty, grieving, she feels unworthy, runs from her Alt and from love - both can destroy her.


West Grayer is like a Tootsie Pop, tough outer shell and soft inner layer. The question is how many licks can she take before she cracks. She has a hard life like so many in her position, but she gets a break, if she can live with herself and take it. It will give her the training she needs to beat her Alt, valuable training she can't afford any other way. Taking it means she has to turn her back on everyone, especially Chord, to keep them safe. But Chord isn't easy to shake. And with each job West completes, her soft core is shaken until she becomes Active and her Alt starts hunting her.

This was such an intense novel, very hard to put down. There wasn't a lot of world building which would have helped with understanding why no one could have babies, why there was a need for soldiers, why there was a Kersh to begin with, but in the end, it didn't detract too much from the enjoyment of the novel. I really had a hard time putting this one down. It has been a while since I have felt this excited about reading a book. I knew, as I read that there was a second book, I had it waiting to be read, but I hadn't read the synopsis, so I didn't know if West would make it or her Alt. I didn't know if the people she loved would make it through or not.

I think the most surprising thing I found in this novel was the sudden almost poetic descriptions of something beautiful in a dark gritty world of kill or be killed, child against child very unfair life. I would be reading and out of nowhere there was something beautiful that West saw or felt. I think it was a symbol of hope, something to give her a reason to go on, but it also was a relief to me, that not everything in her world was dismal and gray and hopeless.

Ms. Chapman's writing is not overly done, but we get a good idea of how West thinks and feels, her motivations and how others feel about her. While I can't see myself in her life or death situations, I understand and empathize with her need to spare her loved ones from harm. I'm not sure I could be as selfless as West, but I'd like to think so.

I think this is an above average dystopian/sci-fi and I recommend it to anyone that enjoys a fast paced novel with life and death situations, a world that isn't explained real well, but you do get a feel for it and a romance, not gushy, but very real.

Divided (Dualed #2) by Elsie Chapman
Available Now
Publisher:Random House Books for Young Readers
Hardcover 320 pages
YA Dystopian
To Buy Links- Amazon/ Kindle/Audio CD/ Audible

Goodreads- The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .
West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.
The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.
How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.


****************SPOILERS IF YOU HAVE NOT READ  DUALED *********************************              

DIVIDED picks up a few weeks or so after DUALED. Life is back to "normal" for West and Chord. They are in a routine and things are good. From there, the novel is completely different from DUALED.

We find out the origins of Kresh, who created it and why. Who created the Alt. system, why it exists.
So many things are answered about the world that you might have had when you read DUALED. Completes are expected to serve time guarding the Surround which we learn about from Chord and a friend of West's. We learn more about the Alt code and how it works in the body. It is just an entirely different book.

West is conscripted into service by someone to do some dirty work. She trusts in the system and believes that some of the Alts she killed before may have been "worthy" so she wants to even up the score. She accepts the job against better judgement, against what her body is screaming at her, and against what she knows everyone else would say, all because she feels a need to make up for those Alts she killed when she was a Striker. What if they were the stronger ones and she has left the city vulnerable?

This novel is more of a head game. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of action, but a lot of it has to do with West and her conscience and what she can and can't live with. Again, I was stunned often to be reading something gritty and then have an almost poetic scene of beauty described in the midst of it. Maybe it's to show that there is something to live for in this almost impossibly violent and unsure world West lives in, when any moment someone she loves could be killed as an Alt fights with their other half.

I loved DUALED, the first novel in this series, but I think I loved this one even more. There was more strategy, more psychology, more action even than before. And yet, though the ending is complete, there is room for another book in the series. We have no idea what's on the outside. And what we discover about Kersh makes it even more interesting to know what's on the outside. I hope Ms. Chapman decides to write a third book in the series.

I highly recommend this one. There is a lot of violence as in DUALED. Use your own judgement about whether you can handle graphic descriptions of injuries, blood and death. It is an excellent book!

Thank you to the publishers for an E-ARC for review through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.

And hey guess what?? Elsie Chapman actually answers the questions you ask her. I asked if there would be a sequel and she wrote back on her blog and said no, it was done. But she does answer. That's pretty awesome!


  1. This series was just okay for me. I couldn't fully engage in the story because I kept feeling like it wasn't plausible at all, even with the new information about the world. Not my favorite dystopian, but I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Heather!

  2. I'm so glad you've enjoyed these two, Heather! I've heard quite mixed reviews of this series and haven't been convinced to give it a try until now, so perhaps I'll look into this a bit more and add it to my TBR after all. Lovely reviews, dear!

  3. It has been awhile since I read Dualed. I remember liking the premise and for the most part the story, but there was something about it that bugged me, I would have to go back and read my review... anyway I didn't get the sequel and it sounds like I missed out, especially if you consider it even better than the first!

  4. I've had Dualed on my TBR for ages. Good to know this series is a good one.

  5. I read enough UF, so I should be okay. I've had a few where I had to skip the gory descriptions, but that is rare. I do think you have sold me on both of these books and so need to read them. Brilly reviews!


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