by Kimberly Derting
Series: The Pledge #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books Release date : November 15th 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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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’ve had this book on my TBR shelf since the moment it had a title. I love Kimberly Derting’s The body Finder series but since this one wasn’t a favorite over the general population of goodreads, I put it off. I can see why it isn’t very popular. While it is good and original, it’s also predictable with a side of lacking. At first, I was confused on the genre because I ASSUMED it was a dystopian. Not too far into the book it seems more like fantasy. I guess it’s a combination of both. So, we’ll call it Fanpian.
The first thing to me that stands out, is the interesting concept of distinguishing class by language. It was different and I liked the concept of it. The world building was fascinating but at times, did become confusing. I’ve mentioned it before, but I hate that feeling that I missed something. This happened on more than one occasion. The pacing of the book was smooth and the flow wasn’t choppy. It’s primarily told from our Protagonist, Charlie, POV but does go back and forth between other characters as well (in the third person). I wasn’t of fan of this. The book could have been more mysterious and the twists less predictable, had this NEVER been put in.
As for the world itself; it’s similar to most Fantasy/dystopian novels out there. But what stood out-aside from the language classification- was the rulers being female, not male. The males are basically brushed off (if they’re Royalty) and females are the ones with power and are the sole heirs to the “throne”. I also liked that these said Queens are born with magical “powers”. The magical element of the Essence was interesting and I would have liked to see more about this.
I really liked Charlie. Although we never get too deep into her character, the traits that were shown I liked. She was brave, determined, smart, devoted and I loved the compassion she had. Her relationship with her sister was so sweet. If I were her though, I probably would have questions my parents more. She was too trusting, then turns around and questions who to trust. (if that makes sense!) The romance wasn’t all-consuming. It’s been a common thing lately to have a romance that starts off mid book, then all too soon consuming the entire plot. I liked her and Max, and although at times it seemed like insta love, it really wasn’t. It was attraction that developed into feelings. To be honest, I kind of wish we would could have seen more between the two. I wasn’t convinced on why Max was “intrigued” but her. And why all the sudden he had such devotion to her and her safety.
Now for the things I didn’t like. The lack of explanation about the magic. How do these things happen? Aside from the fact they’re born with it. More details about the crumbling of the country and the Revolution of the Sovereigns. How many Countries are there? Is it just Ludania that has the classes divided by their native language? The lack of depth of ALL characters and follow ups. The quick and unresolved ending. Now, all this may be explained more in the next installment, The Essence. However, had some of these things been addressed, it would have made the story so much better and understandable.
Overall- I really enjoyed it. It was different, interesting and great start to a series. I will most likely read the next installment but I am not rushing off to get it.