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Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel
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Dualed

Dualed - What is there to say about DUALED that hasn’t been said before? Let’s just be honest with ourselves – DUALED is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous books I’ve ever read when it comes to the premise. In the walled city of Kersh, a city with no entrance or exit, each person has an Alt – a clone – who they must kill when activated between the ages of 10 and 19 to prove their worth as a fighter for their city. Each child is trained in weapons, fighting, tracking, and so on to prepare them for the moment they will be activated and sent to kill their Alt or be killed trying.No, this book doesn’t make much sense. It’s a book that glorifies violence to an extent, revolves around death and destruction and murder, and focuses on the point that a city deals with overcrowding and a need for soldiers by creating two of everyone and letting 12 year olds fight in gun battles on open city streets sanctioned by the government. Obviously the strengths of DUALED do not lie in its synopsis or overall plot, but what makes up for it is the tenacity of our heroine and the general fun-ness of this story. It’s a thrill ride from beginning to end that hooks you and won’t let you go.SILLY, BUT ENTERTAINING!DUALED follows West, a girl living in a world where she and her closest allies have the only normal names in the whole bunch. But that’s beside the point. West is 15, has just lost her last family member, and is alone in the world with few options. Soon she will be activated and sent to murder her Alt before her Alt murders her. Assisting her is her brother’s best friend Chord, the requisite love interest who also serves as the possessive, protective figure in her life, to the point where he stalks her under the impression of trying to save her life. It’s not cute.This book will not be for the reader looking for something serious. I mean, how can a book be taken seriously when the plot makes about as much sense as a pig flying in with machine guns blazing to save America? But what it makes up for poor conception is with a fun, entertaining unfolding of events. It’s quick, it’s entertaining, and it kept me glued to the page, which is something to save against many of the books out there in this same overdone subgenre. This might possibly have been the sole redeeming feature of DUALED, because other than being a whole lot of fun, there wasn’t a whole lot going for it. Besides maybe our heroine.WELCOME TO CRAZY CITY, POPULATION WESTAnother redeeming feature of this story was West, our lead character and the character who leads us through the story. She’s determined to live at all costs, even becoming an assassin for hire in order to get more practice in the field of killing helpless teenagers. But that’s really beside the point. I quite enjoyed her, even if I didn’t enjoy those around her. Even if I didn’t quite understand or rationalize her decisions at times. Even if her complete rejection of assistance until the convenient climax was frustrating.The characters around her rarely question the setup of their city state, and the world is rarely addressed in great detail besides emphasizing, “To live in Kersh, you must kill someone.”AND THE REST ARE HERE IN THE CITY OF KERSHDUALED was actually better than I expected when I went in. I want to thank that forgotten blogger who urged me to read it despite the ridiculous concept. I think I was drunk at the time I started this, the power was out and my options were limited. Despite the unresolved aspects, the clinginess of the love interest, and the fact little of the world is ever really discussed, it was fun. It’s a fun novel, not a deep insightful exposition about the human psyche and the meaning of life. Don’t go into it expecting it and maybe you’ll come out at the end, amused and a bit bewildered but happy.VERDICT: Although it makes little to no sense, DUALED is a fun thrill ride with a proactive heroine and a lot of fun. It’s fun. I’ll give it that.