Monday, November 14, 2011

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

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. (from GoodReads)

The Pledge was very interesting. It had a great premise that wasn't executed as well as it could have been. I was also disappointed the in the romance aspect of The Pledge.

Like I just stated The Pledge was really original. Classes are separated by language (which I think is a great concept) but Charlie has the ability to understand all languages. I think that is awesome (though I was confused as to why other people haven't learned the other languages; especially since there is a universal one that everyone understands which would make learning super easy). Besides Charlie's gift, there isn't really anything else special about her. She was kind of bland and her only other redeeming quality was her love for her little sister.

The world-building was pretty cool and I liked that it was both dystopian and fantasy, because there was magic involved. That being said, I never felt like it was the goverment was that controlling; besides not being able to look in the eyes of someone of an upper class, Charlie is able to roam pretty freely around her city. I also thought it was interesting how Ludania was ruled by female monarchs and the few sections where we got to see into the aging queen's head were pretty cool. She's a vicious queen, and those were the only parts where I actually felt afraid.

Unfortunately, the romance did not live up to my expectations. This book could actually have been written without it and it probably would have been better. Charlie meets mysterious Max who somehow knows her secret. They are attracted to each other, but I honestly have no idea why. Their relationship was built on nothing and we don't even see them together that much.

The Pledge is a little confusing in the beginning and for the first half I was wondering what was going on since there wasn't much of a plot. But then a lot of things start happening in quick succession and the ending was pretty anti-climatic. It also ends with an epilogue, though I don't know why since there are two other books in this trilogy.

So I thought there was a lot of potential in The Pledge but didn't quite meet my expectations. Some parts were good, like Charlie's ability, but others needed work. Hopefully the next two novels will be better.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab
Release Date: November 15, 2011

2011/Margaret K. McElderry/320 pages.


We Heart YA said...

Hmm, 7/10 is pretty high for a book that you don't seem to have enjoyed that much… We really like your review though. It's honest without being harsh. We'll probably still pick up the book, but we like knowing what to expect.

Simply_Megan said...

I'm terrible with the ratings. I gave it 3/5 on GoodReads so I guess it should be more of a 6/10 on here. The Pledge is really in the middle of the road for me: I didn't love but didn't hate it either.

Danmark said...

This was a book I had been really looking forward to. Then for one reason or another it kept getting put off. When I finally picked it up to read it, I was really excited. I have to say that I had a hard time getting into it. I actually stopped reading it for a few days and read a different book before getting back to it. I was hoping it would be easier to get back into, but it wasn't. It wasn't that I didn't like it, it just wasn't capturing my undivided attention. It wasn't until more than half way through that I was at the point where I really, really wanted to read until the end. It was an interesting story, but I guess I just didn't feel very connected to the characters.

Netherland said...

There is always a gamble when beloved authors start new series in different genres. There are going to be differences. Sometimes those differences prove just how talented an author is, other times they reveal hitherto unknown weaknesses. I'm sorry to say that the latter is true in THE PLEDGE.