REVIEW: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Pub. Date: November 15th 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 323
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Dystopia
Rating: ★★★★

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.

I kind of stumbled upon The Pledge. I’ve read Derting’s book The Body Finder and I had no idea she even had another series until I stumbled upon it while I was browsing Amazon for something else entirely. I had no idea it was so newly released, either. But I bought it because I’m a sucker for a dystopian.

As I said, I’ve read a LOT of dystopian YAs. I’m a sucker for the ever expanding genre. I liked the idea of all the different queendoms, and Ludania being the focus of the book, obviously, and Queen Sabara’s cruel rule. The book was also different in the sense that it changed POVs from Charlie’s first person to Max’s, Xander’s or The Queen’s third person POV every once in a while and that made me get a rounded feel for everything that was going on.

I thought the relationship between Max and Charlie was a little rushed at first, but it was later explained why, so it ceased to bother me. There are a lot of great twists and turns in the book. It is never too slow or dragging. I honestly couldn’t put it down for a good while because I had to know what happened next. Were they safe? What the hell was going on?

All in all this is a promising new dystopian YA series about life, love and change. I think I like the genre, the book, so much because I can’t help but wonder what if even after I put it down, even after I finish it. What if i ends like this? What if, ten, one hundred, two hundred years down the line life is like this? The oppression, the classes, the languages, the medieval hangings in the middle of city-square… It could happen. All of it.

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