It's a dystopian world in which all of America is at war with each other. Except for the Northwest, which has managed to call a truce and wrap itself up against the outside. Inside Kersh, as it is now called, there is relative peace. Oh, except for the fact there are two of each person and they have to fight to the death in order to stay alive. That's all.
Everyone has an Alt. When a baby is born, the child's genetics are mixed with another child's genetics to make exact replicas. It's like having an identical twin- except you know nothing about the other. That is, until a soldier comes to your door when you are sometime between the ages of 13 and 20 and gives you your assignment. The assignment you've been dreading since the day you were born- kill your Alt before they kill you. You have 31 days and if neither of you completes the assignment and kills the other, then you both die.
This is what fifteen-year-old West Grayer is facing. She has trained her entire life for this moment and she feels ready to "Be worthy", even though she has also lost almost every single person she loves to this system. However, one misstep makes her falter and she is no longer certain that she is the one worthy of a future. If she has any chance of winning, she has to stop running from her Alt- and from love- though they each have the power to destroy her.
This is a suspenseful, action-packed YA book. It is similar to The Hunger Games in that teenagers kill teenagers. However, in Dualed, Chapman has created a world in which every single teenager must become a murderer or be murdered. This raises a lot of moral questions, of course. How can a government create a society of murderers all in the name of the greater safety of its people?
I found a few holes in the plot line, but it was still a remarkable debut book. The descriptions were gorgeous and vivid and I immediately cared about the characters. I think Chapman will be an author to watch.
I like this description of a book from the library: "I pull a book out. It's thin and blue and ancient, and the whiff of just how old its words are hit me with the force of a punch."
I also like this description of one of the four sections of the city, called Gaslight: "The hissing steam grates that line Gaslight's sidewalks fight for attention with the bright neon lights strung above doorways and above windows. They illuminate the faces of the passerby, their gaudiness flashing off the half sheets of galvanized metal rolled down to protect the worn storefronts along the street."
I received this e-book for review via Net Galley.