I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Series: The Pledge #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry on 11-15-2011
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Romance, 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.
The Pledge is a really compelling book about a young girl living in a dystopian society ruled by an evil queen. To keep the populace under control, different classes of people speak different languages and nobody of a lesser class is allowed to know other languages or even make eye contact when they hear a person speaking another language. Born into this society is Charlie, a girl who holds a secret…she can understand someone speaking in any language. Eventually both the resistance and the queen both want Charlie for the future of their country.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I was immediately immersed in Charlie’s world. You can feel what she goes through to hide her secret, and what she must deal with in being in a lower class. The world here is gritty and somewhat dark, ruled with an iron grip by the queen. There is a bit of magic in this world which makes the story more intriguing. Not only can Charlie mysteriously understand languages, but the queen has the ability to live forever and to kill people simply by thinking it. That makes for a formidable foe. And there are others with powers too but I don’t want to spoil too much.
There is an underlying romance thread which drives some of the action, but it is not the primary purpose. This book is a Dystopia front and center…about trying to overthrow the queen and where Charlie stands in the midst of all of that.
This is a very clean book as far as profanity and sex go. There is some violence, but still YA-rated.
As for the downsides, I felt a few parts were a bit slow. The scenes of Charlie going to the club with her friend really dragged out, although they had a purpose which was revealed later. Luckily, the pacing is fairly good and it doesn’t stay bogged down for long.
I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.