Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

The Pledge (The Pledge #1)
By Kimberly Derting 
Published: November 15, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (Simon&Schuster)
Hardcover, 336 pages

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. --

3.5 Stars

This was a surprise. I was not expecting The Pledge to be the dystopian that it was. This isn't a negative or a positive comment. It was just surprising to see a dystopian take a fairy tale route instead of a whole action-adventure dystopian. In fact, The Pledge reminded me of Cinder, albeit lighter and with a creepier antagonist.

The Pledge begins with a mysterious prologue that hints the dark secrets that fuel the antagonist's, Queen Sabara, ambitions and actions. Whether or not to criticize this prologue is a difficult decision for me. As strong of a prologue it was, the whole mystery that brought the plot of The Pledge along was obvious because of the prologue. There were bits of the whole secretive mystery that was a piece of cake to figure out, but the prologue gave away everything left to keep the reader hooked to the book.

Charlie is one of those protagonists that you want to bash into bits. She goes along life, mentioning all of the stuff she has to go through to make sure no one learns of her secret, but still always "accidentally" makes a mistake. If she had to live by those rules for her whole life, why suddenly flub now all of the sudden? That was one of my issues with her. I understand that the author may have wanted the reader to gain a better understanding of the whole whacked-up society based on how many languages you "should" know, but I just didn't fall for it.

With all of the secrets out in the open within the first dozen pages, one would expect the reader to stop reading, but I still enjoyed The Pledge. But a majority of the characters were all very convincing and likable. Max, the love interest, is a selfless hero who captured my interest from the very start. The antagonist, Queen Sabara, was a dark, disturbing ruler who I enjoyed reading about due to her cynical and greedy narrative. Did I mention that The Pledge is told from multiple point of views, including Charlie, Queen Sabara and Max? Seeing the whole situation from multiple standpoints gives greater insight of the conflict and just makes it refreshing to not have to deal with just one person's whining for the whole book.

The Pledge begins with a slow introduction into the dark world of Ludania, but increases in action at such a rapid pace. At times, the tortoise-like rate was infuriating to no end. Still, the climatic ending is fantastic and leaves the reader yearning to know what is to come. I cannot wait for read The Essence to come out in January next year!

Purchase this book: Amazon/ Barnes&Nobles/ The Book Depository

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