Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: November 15th, 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Series: The Pledge #1
Cover: B+- I like it, but I don’t find it particularly convincing. If you were in some of the situations that Charlie was in in this book, your makeup would not have held up like that.
* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It’s there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she’s never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.
Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.
I have favorite authors for different reasons. Kimberly Derting is one of my favorite writers because of her prose. It flows so well on the page and her words make you hungry for more words. I felt that way about The Body Finder and I also feel that way about The Pledge. Her writing style is just poetic. I would die to be able to write the way she does. She is extremely talented.
Now just because someone is a gorgeous writer doesn’t mean that their imagination has the same skill. And I think in some ways, Kimberly Derting’s ideas are a bit boring. Ugh. I hate saying that. Look, I liked this book. I gave it a four star rating. But the ideas weren’t extremely original. It’s a tough year for dystopians. There are so many of them. You really have to be able to bring something new to the table. This one kind of took elements from dystopian and fantasy, but it didn’t really blow me away. It was a solid effort though.
The plot was fun and evenly paced. I liked the world-building, but I didn’t love it. This book is getting a little bit of hate in the book-blogging community and I can’t really figure out why. It was really good. I guess good means bad sometimes. The characters were a bit one-dimensional, but they were still fun. And the plot was really exciting.
And I loved Charlie. What a great female protagonist. Strong, kick-ass, but still feminine and vulnerable. And her sister Angelina. How adorable was she? Those two girls and their relationship were the highlights of this book for me. I thought the other characters were a bit flat, but not these two. And I really appreciated that.
I intend to continue this series. Like I said, it didn’t blow me away or anything, but it was good. I’ve read a lot of crap this year, and this book doesn’t deserve the flack it is getting. There are a lot of pluses. Great writing, strong females, a wicked queen, and a really cool underground club. I expect the series to only go up from here.
Final Note: A great dystopian effort, but I don’t think it will be remembered as one of the best.
To Pre-order a copy of The Pledge from Amazon.com, click here: The Pledge.