Sara’s Review of The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (Imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Date Published: November 15th 2011
Series: The Pledge
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.
This was my first time reading a book by Derting, so I was a little apprehensive when I first started reading because I wasn’t sure what her writing style was going to be like. Now, having finished this novel, I’m curious to explore her other series at some point later down the road. =^.^=
So, what can I say about The Pledge? Though I liked the characters and the premiss behind the story, there were times were I felt like the whole purpose of this book was to set things up for the next in the series. Having said that though, it was still a good read.
I really liked Charlaina (Charlie). Yes there were times where I wanted to shake some sense into her and get her to put two and two together faster, but if she’d have figured everything out from the start, there wouldn’t be much of a story. I loved the fact that she was loyal to and protective of her family and friends, especially towards her sister, Angelina. And even though she isn’t the “kick-butt” heroine I’ve come to enjoy in most YA books, I found her desire to stay out of the limelight easy to connect with. While she may not be 100% fond of the life she has to live and the rules she must follow, she doesn’t go out of her way to complain about them either. She just lives her life for the most part…a trait that makes her a more believable character to me in the long run.
As for the other characters in this book, I absolutely adored Angelina! Right from the start I wanted to wrap her up in my paws and protect her. It’s obvious that she adores her sister Charlie, and she has a kind and gentle heart. Brooklyn was hit or miss with me. There were times where I enjoyed her humor, when it came out, but most of the time I found her to be selfish and rude, especially towards Charlie. Yes, I understand that there is more to her than meets the eye, but for someone who is supposed to be a “best friend”, she has a funny way of showing that friendship. Xander and Max were awesome, and I’ll admit to having a bit of a crush on both of them. Queen Sabara was downright frigid. Purrs to Derting for creating an antagonist that really was hard as nails and twisted to the core. Every scene with her in it, my dislike for her increased. I loved every second she was in the book as a result, murr! What can I say, I’ve got a thing for wicked antagonists. =^.^=
Plot wise, I liked the concept, but there were several moments where I kept wondering where Derting was going with things. I had questions that were long in being answered, and some of them weren’t answered at all, at least not enough to my liking. This really felt like a set-up novel for the second book in the series. It was like Derting was laying the foundation for everything that was yet to come. For example, the epilogue leaves you hanging, wondering whether Charlie really does have full control over herself or not. Since I’ve never read any of Derting’s other books, I don’t know if this is typical of her writing style, but I know that it did diminish my enjoyment of the book just a bit.
I will say that I found the world itself to be fascinating. The idea of a class system where language is the dividing line amongst the people was an intriguing idea. I’m not sure I’d do well if such a world existed to be honest. The simple act of accidentally looking at someone who is speaking in a different language than your own would result in your immediate arrest, followed by execution…yeah, not at all the type of world I would want to live in. But it definitely works well for this book. And it kept me reading straight through to the end.
Overall, I liked The Pledge, and I think most readers will enjoy it as well. As the first book in a new series, it has a bit of something for every reader. Romance, action, suspense, intrigue, etc. It’s definitely worth reading at some point, murr!
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