Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy
Source: Publisher through GalleyGrab
Goodreads Summary: 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.The Pledge combines two of my favorite genres, dystopia and paranormal, and actually reads more like a fantasy novel. For me, this is a good thing as I loved reading about the world where an evil queen uses magic and cunning to rule and the special girl who can stop her.
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.
Kimberly Derting has created a fascinating world were language is used to separate the people into an oppressive caste system. The caste you were born into determines your education, vocation, friends and pretty much the rest of your life. Charlaina, or Charlie, is born into the vendor class of people. Her family owns a small restaurant and Charlie is fiercely loyal to her parents and four-year-old sister.
While Charlie is passionate about her family, friends and then about Max after they meet, that seems to be the extent of her character development. I don’t really feel that I got to really know her or the other characters. You know that moment in the novel where the main character, even if they have been cruising through the story, makes a determined decision that’s do or die? When they get it together and commit to a course of action that may even cost them their life? In The Pledge, it was such a small thing, such fast event that you almost miss it. I waited for this moment because I thought it would be a huge turning point for the flatness of Charlie’s character and I was let down. There is some insta-love between Charlie and Max and I wish their romance was more developed. Also, there are some plot twists in the story that are very predictable.
While I’m being critical of The Pledge, I did enjoy it, I just wanted more from the story. The fantasy elements are awesome but the book feels like it needs to be longer and much more detailed. I do think this is a good start to a new series and I am very much looking forward to the sequel to see where Derting takes the story.
Content: Kissing, violence, drug use, underage drinking.
My Rating: Just Fine.