Author: Elsie Chapman
Series: Dualed #2
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
I received an advanced reading copy of this novel from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.
Dualed was an interesting surprise of an novel, set in a futuristic and rather unbelievable world where everyone had an Alt/clone and when it came of time, only one could survive in a battle to the death. With this premise being the main motivator behind the society, I oftentimes found myself wondering in what universe this type of society would ever be able to survive, but I tried not to think too hard on it. The writing and plot of Dualed were good enough to keep me entertained, and so I came back for more this year with Divided.
Dualed wrapped itself up rather nicely as a stand alone novel, so I pondered where Chapman would take the series with this new installment. West has defeated her Alt, which is the main purpose in life in her society, and she even got her main man with the novel ending happily for her and Chord. With Divided, instead of focusing on the high adrenaline, fast paced action of the kill or be killed situations with ones own Alt, West was once again thrust back into the life of being a Striker, but this time by a higher up in the society, making this dystopian society even more corrupt than it already was.
Throughout Divided, I felt that Chapman never really found her footing with the new turn the plot took. Yes, she attempted to describe how this crazy society came to be, but I found myself questioning the plausibility of the events that occurred and the measures that were taken by the powers that be to develop this society. After the Holocaust and the reign of Hitler, one has to believe that humans as a species would do anything in their power to prevent another crazied madman (and in this case a trio of them) from creating that type of closed off, killer society ever again.
Besides my continuing battle to believe in the reality of this type of society ever existing, I also struggled with this change in plot. While Dualed on the whole was a fast paced and action packed novel, Divided seemed to struggle. And when the action finally did occur and the pace quickened, it felt - on the whole - that it was the same elements from Dualed being told over again with only a few slightly changes. Chord was still hell bent on helping West get through the trial, while West was still rather secretive about what she was actually up to. Instead of focusing on her own life and worries, West spent the majority of the novel focusing on killing other's Alts again (all the while haunted by her brother's death). The main difference between Dualed and Divided that I saw was the romantic aspect of the novel, as in Divided West and Chord are together from the get go. With the issues I have with YA romance, this difference wasn't a plus to me.
With all of these faults being said, Divided was still an interesting story, though the novelty of the universe that Chapman created started to wear off. The new characters that were introduced were interesting and unique enough to help hold my attention during the slow parts of the novel, though I did find myself skimming at times. While Divided may fall victim of a sophomore slump for the series, it was still a strong of enough novel to hold my attention and interest until the end. And my interest in Dualed in the first enough is enough for me to want to add this novel to my collection as well, even with its shortcomings. Though, I have to admit, I think I would have preferred Chapman leaving Dualed as a stand alone.