ARC Review: Divided-Elsie Chapman


4/5 Stars

Divided (Dualed, #2)-Elsie Chapman

Release Date: May 27, 2014

Random House Young Readers 

***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Random House Young Readers.

“I’m scared, Chord,” I whisper hoarsely. His fingers against my face, over the raised streak of my scar. ” I know,” he says simply. And that’s all. Not Don’t Be or Why, just his acceptance of how and what I am, how I think and feel. It’s this that cuts me apart and gives me away to him, pieces of me he’ll take better care of than I ever could.


I don’t ever want to take it for granted or forget how hard-earned it was-this ability to move freely, going wherever I want, whenever I want, without fear of being hunted by someone who looks just like me, simply because only one of us is allowed to exist. 

Divided is a thrilling and fast-paced spiral into desperation and impossible choices. Gripping from the very first page, Divided is the perfect balance of action and heart-stopping danger. 

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***If you have not read Dualed, this synopsis and review does contain SPOILERS. 

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.

-via Goodreads

Picking up where Dualed left off, West is dealing with emotional and psychological scars of killing her Alt and her decision to become a striker. Starring in her nightmares, her victims are with her always, tapping at her conscience, filling her with guilt. West wants to believe she is worthy of life, that her involvement as an assassin/striker was necessary for her survival but the pieces are muddled in her mind. Her life should be perfect, she survived, not without scars on her body and soul, but she lived and yet, escaping the past is hard to do. Now a complete and working as an assistant to Baer in weapons training, West not only has a secure job she loves but has the heart of a boy who gets her at even her most irrational and crazed moments. Chord is the force that grounds her and that she wants to embrace this new lease on life for. Seeking therapy for her trauma, West takes it day by day, slowly coming to terms when everything changes. 

Approached by a mysterious Operator and left with little choice but to oblige, West is whisked off to headquarters, terrified that the government knows about her role as a striker and is going to eliminate her.What West doesn’t expect is an ultimatum. The Board gives her three targets that she must kill within three days and even though West is still recovering from her traumatic memories of killing, the reward is too important to give up. West yearns for a stable future, where her children won’t have to go through what she did, and so when the Board offers her everything she ever wanted but didn’t know was possible, she can’t say no.

Forced to lie to her boyfriend, her friends, and everyone around her, West escapes back into herself, into the killer she must become to complete her task and come out alive and emotionally okay. West soon finds out that trusting the Board is the biggest mistake she’s ever made. Thrust into a secret plot with consequences that put her life on the line and a target on her back, West wages a war against the system, running, manipulating and doing everything in her power to survive and protect her loved ones.

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  • West is emotional, her nightmares are real and raw and full of poignant hurt and pain that will leave you sympathizing with her. The memories of the Alts she killed are gripping and reveal so much about the deeper yearnings of West’s heart. She’s unafraid to risk everything, to walk the line between good and morally questionable to survive. Her quiet desperation and fierce thirst for independence and freedom make her ruthless but never without conscience. The way West blocks her emotions to do what needs to be done is paralleled with her constant thoughts about the right to live and being worthy. West is an incredibly strong protagonist. She’s hardheaded and sometimes leaps before she looks but her heart is always in the right place. The way she cares for those around her shows her vulnerability. West is fragile when it comes to her heart, she battles her internal demons to let her compassion come to the surface. This struggle is truly saddening, the fact that she has to split herself between two worlds, one where emotion could get her killer and another where emotion saves her from insanity makes the dystopian world seem even more corrupt than it blatantly is. 
  • Chord and West are perfect together. Their relationship is made of silent understanding and touches that give strength and comfort. Chord gets West on a soul level, he knows her better than she knows herself and in this way, he’s able to calm and soothe her better than anyone else could. Their chemistry is not blatantly sexual, it’s simple, and sweet, and full of adorable interactions. Their dialogue is where West breaks down, where Chord picks up the pieces, and where they come together and complete each other.
  • The secrets, the level of corruption, and evil in the government is finally revealed. The truth will leave you reeling and furious.
  • The fight scenes, the technology, and the suspense are all described in great detail and allow the reader to easily immerse themself into this dystopian whirlwind.
  • Dire’s story is unexpected and complex. How he came to be in his unique position is explained and Dire’s emotions boil to the surface. You see who he used to be and why he changed. The shock is enough to make you reread some parts of his story.
  • Baer is that gruff, muscular beast of a man with a straightforward manner and blunt, honest way of speaking. He’s level-headed and calculated, he steadily walks into battle and gets things done. His confidence and courage are a stabilizer for West. Baer’s story is as surprising as Dire’s and the interconnected lines of their past come together in an astounding way that makes a reevaluation of their characters so far necessary.

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  • Some sections were a little predictable and anticlimactic. The sword scene was slow and not as dramatic as it could have been.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Happy reading, 

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