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Friday, November 22, 2013

Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Once again I find myself blogging away my feelings. I'm so peeved at my teacher that I can't take it anymore. Currently I am researching Finland's educational system. Why you may ask? Because my teacher is insane and thinks that the way to teach us English is to make us write an argumentative research paper. Just for future reference, its not. I mean I guess its fine for students from other countries and people who suck at English or haven't been in a classroom for twenty years. But when it comes to people who excel in the English language, we find our selves bored and once again have to teach ourselves. It's not what I'm paying for.

So this is what I do. I write my feelings for a minute or so and then turn to my passion: books. Today's book is....

Dualed by Elsie Chapman
This dystopic novel takes place in a future town called Kersh, where inside the town you are safe but outside is dangerous. In order to create a "perfect race of soldiers" each person who is born has an Alternate (Alt) or a twin. This alternate is born to separate parents and raised completely differently. To create a breed of soldiers every child anywhere between the ages of 10 and 20 are "activated" and they have 30 days to find and kill their alt, or be killed. The story follows West Grayer, a trained killer, who has already lost her family due to accidents and Alts. When she is activated and goes out in search of her Alt, she discovers that maybe her Alt is the one that should live and not herself. Plagued with doubt West must complete her mission so she can continue her life.

I bought this book to read on a plane when I went to New York City, and the fact that I could actually concentrate on the plot through my excitement proves that this book is brilliantly written. It's action packed, and while the ending is quite predictable, the twists and turns during West's journey are mostly unforeseeable. And lets just say that I would hate to live in this society because I would most certainly be killed by my Alt. That's just a fact.

One of the elements of this novel I really enjoy and have continued to think about after I have finished the book, is West's inner war with herself. Not her Alt, but herself. When he brothers best friend, Chord, was activated, West and her older brother pressed Chord to leave immediately and take care of his Alt. Thing of course go terribly wrong and West's older brother is killed by Chords Alt. But when West is activated and Chord tries to get her out of the house and find her Alt immediately, she does not comply. Instead she continues to take striker jobs, where she takes out other people's Alts. She constantly runs from her fears instead of facing them head on like she is able to do with other situations. She has no problem killing people, until it comes to someone that looks like her. Added to her problems, once West realizes that her Alt is better than her in every way, she becomes plagued with even more doubt. her reasoning is: Why should she live when her Alt is better suited to win, why should she even try?

In the end West realizes that she really can have a life and she is meant to live and she can beat her Alt, blah blah blah. Like I said, predictable ending. Oh and she totally hooks up with Chord. Again, predictable. That's just how stories end. For once I would like to read a story where the main character does not live (Thank you Veronica Roth for making this true for at least one story.) In my mind, a book is not good unless someone meaningful is sacrificed. I don't care if a character who only said two words was killed, give me a character that was a catalyst to events in the story, or even the main character. Yeah I would be upset that they're dead but the story would be AMAZING. I completely went off on a tangent....my bad.

In the end this story is a tale of survival, self-doubt, and a horrible, horrible society that I would not like to live in for five minutes, let alone long enough for me to get activated. Overall I give this story a 7 out of 10. Definitely worth the read and something you will remember, but there were points that could have been improved upon.

-Shawnee Smith

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