Sequel to DUALED
By Elsie Chapman
Available now from Random House BFYR (Penguin Random House)
DIVIDED picks up several months after DUALED ends. West Grayer has moved on from her life as an assassin, and now teaches weaponry. But the government has discovered that she used to be a striker, and wants her to kill three teens to protect their children - and they offer her the motivation to go through with it.
I enjoyed DUALED, although I had some issues with it. The set up of the society made sense if I didn't think about it too long. Everyone is infertile, and born through genetic engineering. Everyone has four parents and a twin. Sometime during the ages of 10 and 20, you become active and kill your twin with the other set of parents, proving that you are more worthy of the city's resources and can join the army. (Seriously, that's just a way to end up with a seriously psychologically messed up population.) But if everyone is born through genetic engineering, just select for speed and strength and intelligence or whatever. I also had issues with the way the heroine's murder-for-hire was presented and the way it never quite gelled with her character. But I still moved on to the sequel.
DIVIDED does go deeper into the workings of the city of Kersh. It answers some of my questions about things being nonsensical, but brings up others. (Finally someone mentions that the surrounding populations must've figured out something to solve the infertile issue too, since it has been several generations and they would all be dead if they couldn't breed.) But the worldbuilding generally happens in the background of the plot. West's straightforward job for the government is much more layered than it initially appears.
In many ways, that works for me, because the plot does make sense. I could understand why the characters were doing what they were doing. I liked that the bad guy was paranoid, overreactive, and coldly murderous, but still a loving father. I might not have always agreed with the characters' decisions, but they were based on real human emotion.
Read DUALED and DIVIDED if you're looking for a plot-driven read with a crazily set-up society as the background. They're not bad, particularly not for dystopian fans, but not quite what I'm looking for in a sci-fi read.
Note: This review took me 25 minutes to write.