How many of us have been absolutely dying for this? ME! So I threw out all my rules about not getting ARCs about books I was going to buy (because my family has a rule of not buying hardbacks if I have an ARC. It's worked. So far.) and immediately traded for this!
I started this in Nov. 30, then put it down, not because it was bad (I actually liked it a lot!) but because I got a book I'd really wanted to read, and because the way the story was executed...wasn't so good. And I was a bit disappointed, I guess. Don't get me wrong, the writing wasn't horrible at all! The plot wasn't that bad (besides being a bit rushed--someone gets killed about 1-2 chapters in, and there were so rash decisions), but...there would be characters mentioned that we wouldn't know and we had to figure it out ourselves. If this is one of those books where we peek into someone's life, it would make sense--if they new their own brother and sister they wouldn't think "my sister, Ehm", but as a book to be read, it was hard for me to grasp a hold on this new reality I was being introduced to.
The worldbuilding was actually a little loose sometimes and I had all these questions about the world that were still left unanswered, and I'm hoping they're answered in DIVIDED, book 2! But I was just...disappointed that a book that seemed to set in such an intriguing world didn't focus on it at all.
And the character...West was just so hardheaded and rash and sometimes she acted like a brat. She made a lot, a lot, of insanely bad decisions that I knew would bite her in the butt later on. Also, even though she was supposedly a great killer and shot, almost every person she killed wasn't a clean death. She had to shoot them twice, or SOMETHING.
But that doesn't mean to say that I absolutely hated and despised it! As if. What I liked was that i didn't really concentrate on the romance at all (which didn't actually have much development...not that I minded much! Our love interest was pretty awesome and I LOVED him!) and focused more on the plot and West's Alt, which definitely held me spellbound. West was definitely in danger as a striker and an active. Honestly, I'm not sure how she survived! But West is nothing if efficient with her weapons!
And despite all I said up top (but really. I didn't connect with West. At all. And I feel like her brothers should've been named North and South and her sister East or something. That would've been EPIC.) Dualed improved a lot after the first 100 pages or so. Like, a lot. I knew exactly what was happening, the going ons and all, and I started to really appreciate how different it was from other dystopians. Instead of a budding rebellion, or West seeing the government as wrong or evil, she just does what everyone does--with the exception of being a striker of course! But this fact means that DIVIDED can go almost anywhere, because we have no idea what to expect!
I'm hoping that everything I complained about was fixed in the final hardcover edition, but...well, we'll see! In the meantime, I'd still pick this up! Do what I do--read the first 50 pages and, if you like it, buy it! I've found that not many books spiral downhill and usually get better as you go on!
(As a side note, I think this is one of the series that can be iffy at book one, but get WAY better at book 2!)