I got into this book before my BFF Jamie mentioned it to me, or more like it's sequel, Divided, caught my attention anyway. She loved this book a lot and I'm very happy for her. It is about a city that is blocked off from the other cities of the United States, so where the city of Kersh is exactly, I wasn't sure. In this city, the government can't really have weak wimps, so whenever any baby is born, from some confusing coding, somewhere else within Kersh an identical baby is born. A twin with the same face but with different parents. This is your Alt, and don't worry, I'm not spoiling anything, you'll kind of know if you start to read this book but the start can make it a bit confusing. The reason the government, or Board as everyone calls it, does this is so that each Alt can exercise and practice for combat, because in between ten and twenty, one Alt must die and the other can prove themselves worthy and move up in life from the slums to the soldiers. Elsie Chapman puts this situation in the hands of West Grayer, a regular girl who is the last survivor of her family after her parents and two siblings, Aave and Ehm were killed. West believes that she is not tough enough to face her Alt. If only she'd done an EK. What is an EK? An early kill. Let me explain. In a society where children die every day, people have grown accustomed to it. They've even called a head-on victory an AK, alt kill, and there's also a PK, peripheral kill. Don't read any further if you want to read this book because I have a few things I want to say.
So is it up to West to save all those innocent kids? Try the exact opposite. It's really just up to her Alt. Really, in the sequel, Divided, she might, but I don't really care about that. The book mostly spends it's time with West hiking around either running away or doing something we both don't want her to do and is irrelevant to the story, and that made me dislike her character in pretty much every way, especially during the end when she manipulates a friend of hers and she never apologizes. It's kind of like the author thought that if everyone loved Marie Lu's Legend, she should just do everything the opposite, and trust me, as I said, it's certainly original. The more I thought about how this book touches on the dystopia life itself the more interesting it was, and Elsie Chapman is very good at bringing us into this world. She shows how kills are ordinary and the regulations of getting info to your Alt and how you can't change your face. Unfortunately, the book spends so much time like this that every time a long thirty-paged chapter ended, I felt the long drag and wanted to know what happened next but ended up disappointed at almost every turn.
Jamie found this book to be a thrilling pleasure. As her friend, I want to agree but I found it to be a cynical exercise. The characters are bland because of names that sound like they were borrowed from Battlefield Earth and Elsie Chapman uses originality to it's worst denominator, but hey, who cares about any of that, right? As long as the book is exciting. And Elsie delivers excitement - every twenty-five pages.