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.
Divided picks up a few weeks after Dualed – West is ready to put her striker days behind her and is now a weapons instructor along with Baer, happy to start a new life with Chord. The ghosts of her past still haunt her, though and she suffers from the guilt and horror of what she had done to survive. Her becoming a striker wasn’t strictly necessary but it made her feel better about the fact that she would be ready for any situation. And now her being a striker comes to bite her when the Board hires her secretly to carry out one last contract which would have a high payoff. Tempted by the reward, she agrees to it, but when she returns to that life, she realizes the part she was trying to get rid off would always be a part of her, and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes, she was an assassin but she survived too.
The major arc of the story is, of course, West’s psyche. She has to go from being a completed to a striker to an active. The Board was never to be trusted and by working for them, she just dug herself into a hole. Finally, she asks the help of her loved ones, a major development for her, since she always gets things done by herself. The relationship between her and Chord is also tender and sweet and while it may feel like it wasn’t really on the forefront, it is a major part of the story. The way he is supportive of her, even when she makes decisions he doesn’t approve of is a testament of their bond. The love is so subtle and developed so naturally – even in the first book, I couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment they become a couple; it was like the chemistry was there all along.
I found the ending quite good but it left a lot of open ends. The secret of that lab research, what the choice Chord gives her would mean for them, the non-Alts – it all makes it seem that there might be another book. And since this has been confirmed to be the last book, it makes me all the more disappointed that there won’t be any more in this series. It’s just the writing – it draws you in with the description, the so well drawn-out scenes, particularly those of the hunt – the author really has a knack for building up the suspense. The rendering of the scenes is almost movie-like and quite realistic to be honest. It makes up for the slow pace in many places. About the world-building, I wasn’t satisfied in this book, really, since I expected a bit more of the Surround and all. I mean, are those people out there just letting this city of killers be? So many questions and not enough answers.
Received an ARC from Random House via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review