Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Review: The Pledge (The Pledge #1) by Kimberly Derting

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
338 Pages

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.

So, I wasn't super impressed.
The Pledge follows 17-year old Charlie, a Vendor class girl who has a secret - she can understand all languages of her country. In a world divided by classes with each class only able to understand their own language, Charlie's secret could get her killed. A chance meeting with a member of the Queens Guard almost reveals her secret. Max knows there's something special about Charlie and he's intrigued to find out more. However, Max is hiding his own secret, one that could shatter Charlie's entire world.

Again, another interesting premise but I feel like a lot of backstory was kind of glossed over so that there was more focus on the love story - which don't get me wrong, I love a good love story but this needed more especially since it focused around a revolution. I wanted to know more about the past uprising, the history of the language barrier and how all of that really works, where the Queen originally got her power and a little more of her background so that we can understand her position better. Just more.

One thing I did feel like we got 'more' of was instalove - on both sides. I get that the author wanted to move the story along to get to the conflict but the lack of any relationship building hurt this book. Aside from physical attraction and initial intrigue, I have no idea what Charlie and Max see in each other based on Derting's writing of their interactions. And when Charlie is more concerned about an injured girl holding Max's hand instead of the BOMBS FALLING ALL AROUND THEM I just have to roll my eyes.

I felt that the story didn't really pick up until about 60% of the way through when there is a rebel attack on Charlie's village. Here's where things start to get interesting and the book starts moving at a fast pace. We see members of different classes helping Charlie as she uncovers the truth about herself and her country. Had the entire book read as well as the last 60%, it could have easily been rated higher.

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