Dualed: review & giveaway

February 7, 2013 2013, 3.5 star books, Canadian, elsie chapman, giveaway, sci fi or futuristic, Wendy 112

Title: Dualed (#1)
Author: Elsie Chapman
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date:
February 26th, 2013
Random House
Age Group: YA
Source: ARC provided by the publisher

Every person in the city of Kersh has a genetic Alternate–but only one will survive! Dun dun dun. At the age of fifteen, West Grayer has just been notified of her Alt’s location, and it’s a race against the clock to find and eliminate her…before she herself is killed.

I really enjoy YA science fiction, so Dualed by Elsie Chapman is right up my alley. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by a concept like that? The blurb sold it to me, and I’m guessing it will hook a lot of other readers, too. I thought this was a pretty entertaining story, though I did have a few reservations.

What I liked:

— West. Instead of being a more typical butt-kicking heroine, she’s just an ordinary girl–albeit one well-trained to fight–who is placed in circumstances where she has to kill in order to survive.

— The narrative. I liked being in West’s head, and her internal dialogue was written in a way that gave insight into emotions she was hiding from everyone else.

— The suspenseful cat-and-mouse aspect of West and her Alt hunting each other down kept me guessing.

— The book is well-paced overall, with good tension and release.

— Kersh is described in a way that felt reasonably solid in a physical sense, if not overly complex in its philosophies and structure.

— Some of the fight sequences were really, really fun! A lot of thought was put into the choreography of the movements, as well as sensory details that added to the experience.

What could have been further developed:

— The secondary characters, particularly the Alts, are pretty one-dimensional. Aren’t West and Chord also Alts themselves, after all? It would have been interesting to have more nuanced antagonists.

— While a certain amount of suspension of belief is certainly required in science fiction that is centered around a concept like this, there aren’t really enough convincing explanations as to why there are Alts, what purpose they serve, how all this is administered, why the second one has to be killed, etc. 

— I didn’t really understand West becoming a striker, which are assassins hired by the rich and powerful. It happens pretty early on in the book, and the scenes where West is acting in this capacity are among my least favorite. They are where she seems the most lost, and where her actions (or lack of them) are the least understandable.

— West and Chord have known each other all their lives, so I wish there had been more shared history or feeling there. The connection between them didn’t seem any stronger than that between two strangers who had just met.

— A little more humor, and dialogue that was a little punchier, would have made the characters more relateable–and endearing.

— A few important scenes could have been written with an aim towards greater emotional impact.

All that said, this one definitely satisfies if you’re looking for a fast-paced, suspenseful read. I literally read it in a day, which is a statement in itself of its high entertainment factor! I’ll also read the sequel when it comes out next year, although it’s with the hope that some of the logic questions and character development are addressed. Fun stuff, if you can suspend your disbelief for a bit.

Recommended for: fans of Divergent, False Memory, and other action-oriented YA science fiction thrillers.

This review also appears on GoodReads. An advance copy was provided by the publisher. 

Win a Dualed ARC!

Thanks to our friends at Random House, we have an Advance Readers Copy to give away to one of our lucky readers. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form (complete rules are there) and leave a thoughtful comment below.

Open internationally to readers aged 18 and older, or 13 and older with parental permission.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

112 Responses to “Dualed: review & giveaway”

  1. Curling Up With a Good Book

    Hey Wendy! I won a copy of Dualed from a giveaway on another blog! I entered it after reading your review! So I owe you a thanks! I am looking forward to reading it!! Have a great day!!

  2. Alexa Y.

    I didn’t enjoy this as much as I was hoping either, and for most of the same reasons. I was thinking that there had to be a bigger explanation for the Alts – and perhaps there is and we just don’t know it yet.

  3. Texas Book Lover

    This book sounds so different than anything else I’ve seen available and I am really interested to see how it turns out! It sounds like it would be a great ride!

  4. Vannah1028

    I am SO EXCITED about this! I have NEVER heard of anything like it! I want to read it SOOO BAD! I’ve heard nothing book good things about this one~! Thanks for the giveaway! Can’t wait! :-)

  5. Martina Koleva

    First time I saw the book I notice only the cover but I didn’t read the summary. It took me a while to read the synopsis and I kept seeing it on the blogs I visited and ever since I did read it, I’ve been just as excited as everyone else. I really like want to read it. I’ve read a few positive reviews and a few not so positive but I’m excited about the book and I want to find out for myself if it’s good.
    I haven’t read a lot of Sci-Fi so the genre isn’t the reason I want it but I’m looking forward to reading and exploring new genres.
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  6. Ash

    Ever since I heard that Dualed was ideal for fans of Divergent, I was dying to read it. Looks great and thanks for the chance to win.

  7. Cece S

    Thanks for this contest! This book sounds interesting, even though the description reminds me of a couple of books I’ve already read. I think they were called Warrior and Witch.

  8. Melissa

    Sci-fi has always been my first love when it comes to reading, TV and movies. My son laughs and calls me a nerd but that is OK. I wear that tag proudly. I am always on the look out for a new series in the genre.

    Thanks for the contest.

  9. Anatea Oroz

    I’m really excited to read this one. I love the Sci-Fi books so this one is just up my alley and West looks like a character I’d like.

    Great review Wendy!

  10. Shannon

    I’m a huge fan of sci-fi whether it’s Star Wars or Ender’s Game (btw if you haven’t read that yet you need to! ^-^) Science-fiction gives a unique perspective into the future – the possible technology, society, and world – yet it’s grounded enough that it’s plausible. Thanks for giving us the chance to win this ARC! :D


  11. Shannon

    I’m a huge fan of sci-fi whether it’s Star Wars or Ender’s Game (if you haven’t read it yet you need to!) >.^ I think the best thing about science fiction is that it gives us a glimpse into the future: the technology, society, and world. It allows for speculation yet those ideas are grounded enough to make them plausible (if that makes sense haha). Thanks for giving us a chance to win this ARC! :D


  12. Daphne

    I first learned about this book, because I was looking for novels that would be released on my birthday. After seeing the cover and reading the awesome summary, I couldn’t wait to read it! :D

    Daphne @ Reading Until Dawn

  13. Lyn Kaye

    The reviews have been very mixed (okay,well, not so good) for this book, but I just CANNOT pass up this chance to read the story. It reminds me of The Lost Girl and Unwind. You never know until you give it a shot.

  14. the_bosix

    There`s a lot of hype around this book, so I decided that I should definitely read it as soon as I get a copy. In sci-fi novels I like the fantasy trip an author takes me on, the world- different from ours, technology forward and new. I like the sci-fi aspect :D

  15. Sana

    I’ve been looking forward to read Dualed for such a long time that it’s painful. I love the badass-ery of the main character and the cover is positively stunning. Gimme now. =D

  16. Lydia Patterson

    I really wanted to read this book but didn’t get an ARC from NetGalley. After reading Mila 2.0 I have a taste for some more YA sci fi action.

  17. Lydia Patterson

    I was rejected for this book on NetGalley though I really wanted to read it. After reading Mila 2.0 I have a taste for some more YA sci-fi action.

  18. Grace

    Great review! I’m really excited about this one. I’m especially liking sci-fi novels at the moment – read Partials by Dan Wells the other night and I enjoyed it to say the least!

  19. Sabina

    I’m excited to read this one. The thought of a world where you have to battle your alt to survive sounds awesome. However, you have pre warned me about the lack of explanation. I’m hoping that being forewarned will make it easier to deal with.

  20. Rashika Bahl

    I’ve always loved science fiction novels, they talk about things that aren’t possible yet but may be in the near future. With the fancy gadgets and what not.
    I read the summary to this on goodreads and I got as far as “genetic Alternate”. I knew I had to read it right then. Clones are always fun to read about, but they aren’t as easy to write about. You have to bring to life something that was genetically made. It’s a hard thing to do because how are we to know what a clone thinks like?

  21. Ashley

    What attracts me to sci-fi novels… I really think its is the blend of science into the world. Many science fiction books create world I can only imagine the technology and development needed to achieve. I find it quite intriguing to see what the the author imagines

  22. RookRegency

    I think everyone else is commented about the review + the book, so I’ll comment on why I like sci-fi novels!

    I like sci-fi novels, because the majority of them are willing to explore what-if and what-may-be scenarios. The plots aren’t always constrained by real-life settings, and the authors are willing to take the leap.

    Of course, you do also have sci-fi novels which incorporate real-life issues (e.g. what sounds like stem-cell research in Lydia Kang’s Control), and it’s interesting to see that from a what-may-be scenario.

  23. Sallie Mazzur

    I love when books have fights in them and they’re done correctly! Sometimes, I find myself just skimming over the fight sequences in books because it just feels so forced and systematic. Almost every behind the scenes special feature I’ve watched on DVD’s always show how much practice and choreography go into each scene, especially the fight sequences. When you have characters just half-assing it, it really ruins the overall mood of the scene. I’ve read scenes where two characters are sword fighting and they’re having a witty conversation back and fourth. The dialogue was threaded into the action very smoothly and it wasn’t hard to laugh at every quip and gasp at every nick from their swords on skin.

    Also – I’m seeing a lot of mixed reviews on Dualed and I’m still going to give it a try, but it makes you wonder. Sometimes, it’s disappointing when a book is promoted and it has an awesome premise and it looks really promising and the writing either falls flat or the premise isn’t done correctly. That usually happens with a lot of time travel books/movies. It’s one of those really difficult subjects and for an author to research and create a story within 300-400 pages without going into the nitty gritty physics details seems awfully hard to me, so I salute any and all writers/authors who take that leap and risk it for their writing. But it still stinks when you expect something and what you get is far from it.

    Excellent review! I like how you separate the good from the bad. Whenever I’m reading reviews, it’s hard for me to gauge the reviewers final opinion when they write it all together (which I still do, but I’m working on it!). I like knowing your opinions on the pros and cons of the story and how they will affect me as a reader and if the book is a right fit for me.

    Anyways, sorry for the long comment! Thanks for the giveaway and hope you didn’t fall asleep during my comment, haha. :)

  24. Traci @ The Reading Geek

    I’m planning on reading this one very soon so it’s good to hear that it’s a fast read. It does sound great and I’m a big fan of both Divergent and False Memory. I also really love books that have action scenes that are well done. Great review!

  25. Ira

    I admit I’m a bit skeptical when it comes to sci-fi but after reading this review, I’m intrigued!!! I would definitely check this ook out.

  26. Shelver506

    I’ve heard SO many good things about this book, but I think it’s your first point that has me the most intrigued. All the I’m-so-deadly-fear-meeee girls can get a little old. I’m excited to read about a non-lethal girl.

  27. Katie Mahnken

    I love the premise! I’ve always been a fan of scifi that explores the question of clones: do they both have souls? Are they exactly the same personality/looks, or is it like when you clone pets and they turn out different despite the identical genetics? I’m glad to hear that the fight sequences were well-done — there’s not much that can kill a suspense/action book quicker than corny fight scenes. I’m disappointed that the characters aren’t more relateable, but I will definitely be reading this book anyway! Thanks for the great review! :D

  28. Sara @ Forever 17 Books

    I didn’t understand West becoming a striker either. It made no sense to me. But on the whole, I did like the book a lot and am really curious to what we’ll see in the sequel. :)

  29. thebookfairyhaven

    What a fantastic review Wendy. Believe it or not, this is actually the first time I’m hearing about this book and the concept of it is definitely a hooker for me. West sounds like a character I’d like and I’d be keen to experience her thoughts, actions and reactions during her hunt for her alt. The world, in spite of he few niggles you mention, definitely sounds interesting – I’m glad to hear there’ll be a sequel.

  30. emminy

    Finding your blog made my day! Finally I have somewhere to look for good reviews about books! This one looks great. I’ll definitely have to check it out :)

  31. Livvy

    This does sound like an exciting read, especially if you can read it so quickly. I like books that you can absorb yourself in quickly.

    It doesn’t sound to overly technical either.

    Great review, Wendy! :)

  32. Rachel

    This does sound like an exciting read, but I’d would’ve wanted more of an explanation of why the Alts even exist, too. Lovely review Wendy and thanks for the giveaway. :)

  33. Michelle Morris

    I love that sci-fi novels give us a glimpse into what our future could be. They can inspire us to keep inventing or warn us to not get too attached to science and technology.

    I loved the review. I’m really looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  34. Savannah Bookswithbite

    Hmm, I passed up this book cause it didn’t really catch me. Still, I’m unsure whether I like it. I like fantasy, but I am picky with it. Thanks for your thoughts.

  35. erin

    thanks for the great post and giveaway! I’m interested in this book b/c it sounds very original and unique :)

  36. Leannessf

    Such a short synopsis, but I’m a twin, so always interested in any book with one (or sort of one) in it! I’m a total geek (scientist), so I love sci-fi!


  37. Vanilla Moon (Adela)

    This book has caught my attention some time on NetGalley. I would love to have it, read and review it. SF and Fantasy has always been my favourite genre. I like escaping into different worlds.

  38. rabbitsfortea

    Phew, I’m so glad you enjoyed this because I was pretty looking forward to it! Although it sounds like the characters could be more endearing… And lack of humour?! But well, there seems to be plenty of action and I’m definitely lacking that in my reading life right now.

  39. Sabryy

    I heard a lot of good things about this book. And your review is awesome! I really want to read it.<3

  40. Jasprit

    I’ve had my eye on this book for ages, I’m not typically one to pick up sci-fi books, but I’ve dipping out of my comfort reading zone a lot lately and have discovered many great reads and think Dualed sounds like something that I would enjoy! Thanks for the great giveaway Wendy! :)

  41. Sunny Duvall

    I would’ve commented anyways, because I adore your reviews, but now having an entry is an added bonus! Anyways, I grew excited with each point you gave that you liked, but was disappointed at how much was not up to par. I LOVE secondary characters so I know I’ll be disappointed with that along with humor and the other things. But since this was my first ever WW, I’m still going to read it…hopefully.

    Love the review!

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

  42. Bookworm1858

    Reading your review, I’m definitely curious as to just why there are alts (and why people have to kill them when they’re so young). It makes think of this Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode when she has to battle her evil twin.

  43. Blogger

    I follow you as iHeartFantasy =) Done 27 of the 44 possible =D Hope for the best ^^ Love your blog by the way =)

  44. Reem Ibrahim

    I am new to the sci-fi genre (having only read Cinder and TMI) but I am loving it more and more. I like the fact that West is an ordinary girl, so you oculd relate to her..

  45. Annabelle Marie Veronica

    Oh! I really enjoyed this one but it definitely had some issues. Even so, I loved the fast pacing and the concept. West was an awesome heroine although I do feel like the secondary characters didn’t necessarily get enough love and development. Lovely review, as always.

  46. Carina Olsen

    Thank you for this perfect giveaway and review :) Glad you mostly liked it despite a few faults ;) Been waiting a few months for Dualed. The cover just sucked me in :) And I love the summary! I just can’t wait for everything :) To get to know the main character. <3
    Love, Carina

  47. Shirley

    West has always sounded like a guy’s name to me rather than a girl…I have a feeling I’ll be imagining a guy talking instead of a girl now! Anyway, she does sound like a fantastic heroine :) Sometimes it’s refreshing to read about an ordinary girl rather than a butt-kicking one! I can’t wait to read this<3 The fighting sequences have me excited now :D

  48. Evette Torres

    I think Dualed has an awesome synopsis. It’s different from what I have been reading and I think, as a twin, this book would be fun to read. :)

  49. Evette Torres

    I just love the synopsis for this book. It’s different from what’s out there right now and is exactly the type of book I love to read. Also, as a twin, I thought this book fun to read. :)

  50. Charlie

    West seems to have a strong personality and it screams action. I’ve been eyeing this book since last month.

  51. Midnight Bloom

    I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed reading Dualed for the most part! I can’t wait to read it; it sounds really exciting and action-packed. Plus, it’s written by a Canadian author. :) Thanks for the review!

  52. Maree

    This sounds like a really interesting book Wendy! Great review, I always appreciate reading things which the review didn’t like because some of those things I myself might like. Anyway, this sounds like such an interesting concept, I’m excited to read it.

  53. Julianna Helms

    I’ve always been really interested in this book, and I’m really glad that your review lists the reservations I might want to have before heading in. :) Sci-Fi is just so awesome because it shows that science and art aren’t always impossible to pair together. :)

  54. PJDesigns

    This book looks very interesting and something that I’m excited to read. Great review. I’m always a big fan of scifi have been for a really long time. I like how they can almost direct us… love the Plagiarism button twoo BTW>

  55. Claire Kim

    The way the blurb is written also kinda reminded me of What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang. The whole twin/alter ego really plays up in that one too, and I’m really excited to see how Dualed changes the concept!

    Sci-fi novels are some of the trickiest books to write, in my opinion, b/c you need enough of a balance between science, action, (a *hint* of romance) and morality issues so that it’s a great read, but still thought provoking. Dualed sounds like it pulled it off relatively well, so I’m psyched for it to come out! :D

  56. Ellen Faith

    I love sci-fi because of the whole other world of it and the fact that you never know what science can develop and these inventions may be around in our future (which would be cool but bizarre).

  57. let it be

    I like Sci Fi books because you are introduced to things that don’t necessarily seem possible. Just an unlimited license for imagination. :)
    oddball2003 at hotmail dot com

  58. Neyra

    Great review Wendy! I haven’t been by in a while, work’s got me too busy even for my own blog :( But I’ve been curious about this book for a long time, looks like it’s worth a read! Thanks for the giveaway :)


  59. Katie

    I’ve been so excited about this book for so long! It sounds marvelous. =D And I love the name West.

  60. Liz. R

    I quite like that the protag is a normal girl! A lot of the time we have these characters that are portrayed as being really badass and warrior-like and then end up actually doing nothing :P. Great review! Thanks :).

  61. Amber (Books of Amber)

    I’m so happy to hear that it had good tension and suspense, since that was one of my main worries about picking this one up. I love being on the edge of my seat! I also adore good fight sequences. EEP! Not long to go until release day!

  62. Mary @ BookSwarm

    This was definitely a fun book, despite some shortcomings. Very violent (I was looking for that when I read it — satisfied!) but I really liked West. Such an intriguing idea of having alts and the whole may-the-best-person win attitude.

  63. Ashley D.

    I heard about it a while ago and the premise sounded interesting. I’ve also been more into sci-fi recently so that probably helps.

  64. Becca Bee

    I was so interested in this book when I first saw it! I still am, but I’ve seen quite a few mixed reviews. Thanks for the giveaway. :)

  65. Ruth Benitez

    I’m a sci-fi fan so this sounds like my type of book! however, a young female character would be somethign different because I like my sci-fi with more grown up characters but there’s always a first isn’t it??
    I like fast pass books too.
    Lovely review :)

  66. Laura Hartley

    Yeesh can’t imagine how I would feel about living in that sort of world. NEED to read this to find out what happens!!!! If this is for fans of Divergent I think I’d love it :)

  67. Desiree

    I love a good sci-fi! They have that great ability to take you away from real life completely. Dualed sounds like a really exciting read.

  68. Xanetia Anassan

    OMG, this one is the first one in a while getting my attention… Can’t wait! Hopefully it’ll come to Spain soon (if it ever comes).

    Thanks for the international giveaway, by the way :))

  69. Lupi

    I wanted to read this book, since my friend read and loved it and she told many good things about it.
    I know, I would love this book!
    Thanks for this international giveaway!

  70. dragongirl

    Wonderful review, Wendy! This has been on my TBR list for ages so I’m very glad to hear you enjoyed it. And I love Divergent and False Memory, so Dualed sounds like something I’ll really like! :)

  71. Lupi

    I wanted to read this book, since my friend read and loved it! I know, this is my type of book, so I hope, I can win it!

  72. Zeinab

    I’m not a big sci-fi fan, but the premise of this book sounds too cool to pass up! I like that it’s a rather short one, too. Sometimes quick reads are the best.
    Thank you for the giveaway and for making it international! Good night! :)

  73. NatasaLikes

    I’ve been waiting for Dualed ever since its cover reveal and after reading your review I’m doubly excited for it now knowing you’re quite a fair reviewer. Yay! Thanks for the international giveaway :D

  74. Keertana

    When I read a sci-fi, I always need it to be utterly believable, so from what you’ve said, I doubt I’d enjoy this. Which is a real shame, considering it has so many great points too. I might check it out if I have some free time, but we’ll see. Thanks for the beautifully written and helpful review, Wendy! :)

  75. Megan Monell

    Great review. I love the cover. I like how you organized your review and the things you didn’t like are probably things I won’t like either, but you’ve made me pretty curious nonetheless! Thanks for hosting a great giveaway.

  76. Willinda

    Honestly, I haven´t read the synopsis or the review either, because I want to read this book and I want to read it with clear mind. I just checked your rating and my friend´s recommendation, and I still want to read it. Oh, and I love the cover! :)
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    -Hana Trskova

  77. subtleadieu

    I’m really excited for this book because I seem to have a weird fascination for heroines who fight/are trained to fight.

  78. Alise (Readers In Wonderland)

    I’ve been waiting for your review on this! It sounds so good! I’ve read a lot of negative reviews on this one so it’s nice to hear you liked it-and the faults don’t really lessen the story. I don’t think the secondary character development will bother me, as long as the main characters are really rich. It does make a stronger story, but I hope in this case it won’t affect the overall experience. I’m not big on relationships that are already established because I like the build up and growth. It worries me because you said the story doesn’t really go into West and Chord’s background. Hmm, I’m more anxious to read this now than ever! Thanks for the review!

  79. Mel@Thedailyprophecy

    I like that West is just a normal girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kick-ass heroins, but it’s refreshing to read about someone like you and me. Despite the imperfections of this book, I’m very excited to read it. The concept is quite unique and the hunting sounds exciting.

    Thanks for the giveaway! I’m a GFC follower; Mel. and I logged in under Melanie in the giveaway.

  80. Sarah Kalaitzidis

    How can you not like it when a girl has to be tough enough to kill someone. This book is going to be so interesting Thanks for the great review and giveaway!

  81. Samantha Stewart

    I am so excited for this book! It sounds like it’s going to be full of action and I’m just dying to read it! Your review was helpful and I liked hearing what you didn’t like about the book as well. Maybe some of the details that were left out will be explained in the next book. I’m really excited to read the fight scenes though. It sounds like a lot of research into fighting moves went into them! Your review has made me even more excited for this book though!
    Thank you for this giveaway!!