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Thursday, March 26, 2015

"Divided: Dualed #2" by Elsie Chapman (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Elsie Chapman's Official Site HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of Dualed Here

OVERVIEW: 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.

FORMAT: Divided is the second book in the Dualed duology. It is mostly a dystopian novel with lots of action and a little romance. It stands at 320 pages and was published May 27, 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers.

ANALYSIS: When I walked away from Dualed, the first novel in the series, I was conflicted. The proposed plot seemed interesting and rather unique, but the stiff writing and lack of world building left me with so many questions that it ruined my experience.

I'll admit I struggled with whether or not to give up on the series. Ultimately, I decided to give book two a try to see if any of my lingering questions were answered and I was surprised with what I read.

Things do start out a big sluggish for Divided. In fact, at one point I gave myself another 20 pages and I was going to put it down if things didn't pick up – which it did. The reason it is important to note this is because people may get a sense that book 2 is just like book 1 and give up. Book 2 really is a lot better, in many ways, than book 1.

One of my biggest complaints about Dualed was there were just so many questions and the world in which the characters lived was so underdeveloped. Chapman really cleared up a lot of questions/confusions from the first book. Was everything cleared up? No, there were still things I had questions on, but things were explained in a way that I felt comfortable with and was satisfied with.

Another area in which I feel Chapman excelled was drawing her character development. In Dualed, I was so frustrated and annoyed with West (our main character). Part of my frustration was due to the fact that I felt nothing for the character. I didn't hate her, I didn't like her. I felt nothing. Divided provided me with an opportunity to get to know West a little better and see different sides to her.

I will admit I don't feel overly close to the characters in the book even after reading the second book, but I feel closer. Character development is a fine art and I really feel Chapman is growing in that area and moving in the right direction.

There were some interesting parts of Divided. I enjoyed the action aspect of it and found the way the world/society unfolded interesting. It is certainly better and more well-written than Dualed. It shows that Chapman is sure to become a wonderful writer, especially in the YA genre.

I should point out that I was a little underwhelmed by the ending. This is being marketed as a duology, but the series sort of ends with no real closure. I'm not sure if there will be a third book, but there is certainly the possibility of a third book. If it was the last book in the series, I really feel it could have ended on a stronger note. I'm not upset about it, but I feel it could have been stronger/better.

Again, if you were to read Divided, I recommend just going along for the ride. Try not to take anything too seriously and just truly read and enjoy. The book turns out better that way, as it isn't a series that is meant to be analyzed (think nice, action-packed read that isn't too intense).

Overall, it was an enjoyable read. It wasn't top of my list of favorites, but it was a good 'in the moment' type read. Just remember to enjoy it and not think too deep into the storyline, and you will be fine.


Tristan Lindsay said...

I'm not familiar with the series, but "Dualed" is an awkward title.

Cindy said...

I wrote the entire review with it was Dueled. Right before I pushed post, I realized my mistake and had to change it all to Dualed.

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