I’ve had assassins on the brain, considering I devoured Dualed and Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas within the space of two days. These books have their differences but they both have something to do with awesome ladies who are prepared to do anything to win their freedom.
Dualed is set in the city of Kersh, where everyone has a genetic alternate twin, or Alt. Tailored to look exactly like them, each person has to kill their Alt in order to remain within the society. The whole idea is to build a city of soldiers to protect the city from the Surround, which is the rest of the war-torn world former United States. From age ten to twenty, each young adult in Kersh has the chance of being activated, in which they are given the origin point of their Alt and 30 days to kill them, or a code within their genetic makeup will kill them both. The main character is West, the last child still alive in her family.
The entire premise of this book sounds amazing, and it was a fun literary adventure! The execution was a little shaky with the shoddy world-building and somewhat wooden side characters, but there was plenty of action and intrigue.
One of the things that bothered me though was West’s narration. Is there such a thing as being too much in the head of the narrator? If so, that’s how I felt Dualed was. I enjoy knowing the thoughts and the motivations of a character, but it felt like too much. And that may be great for some people, but not for me. A character’s motivations should be present through their actions rather than in-head expository monologuing. I know the phrase “show, don’t tell” is too overused, but it is perfect in this case.
Other than my overwhelming desire to get completely out of West’s head because she sounded like a pull-string doll of a Female Dystopian Protagonist, Dualed was good for what it was. There were some plot inconsistencies that made me shake my head and go “but why would they do that?” but for the most part this book was a fun adventure. If you’re in the mood for even more gritty post(ish)-apocalyptic dystopian literature with female protagonists, then Dualed is another one for the lists.