Series: The Pledge #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on October 30th 2012
Genres: Young Adult
Sexual Content: Kissing.
Reviewed by: Abigail
A “gripping dystopian fantasy” (Kirkus Reviews) that brims with romance and suspense, from the author of The Body Finder.In the violent country of Ludania, the language you speak determines your class, and there are harsh punishments if you forget your place—looking a member of a higher class in the eye can result in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina (Charlie for short) can understand all languages, a dangerous ability she’s been hiding her whole life. The only reprieve from oppression is within the drug-filled underground club scene. There, she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy who speaks a language she’s never heard, and her secret is almost exposed. As the violent clashes between the totalitarian monarchy and the rebel forces escalate, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible grip of a deadly regime. Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder series, writes powerfully and movingly of a girl with dangerous powers in an unusual and expertly crafted setting.
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.
The worldbuilding is excellent and unique in the sea of other dystopian novels that have flooded book stores of late. There is oppression, injustice, and powerful villains that make readers seethe to read about. The most fascinating aspect of this world is that language is the barrier that divides people. The classes all have there own distinct language and, on pain of death, are forbidden to speak or understand languages of those above them. As you can imagine, there is gross abuse of this system.
But the overall writing is not as impressive as it should have been (not nearly as impressive as in THE BODY FINDER). The character relationships are also very rushed. I didn’t even realize that there was a love triangle here until Charlie made some ‘why am I thinking about all the time’ statement. The main romance with Max felt equally fast. I didn’t for a second buy how quickly they were consumed with each other. Considering the war, murder, and destruction going on around them, romance really should have been the last thing on their mind.
I also noticed a lot of logical inconsistences. Too many things happened without a plausible reason, or worse, plans were made with glaringly obvious weaknesses that were of course exploited by the enemy. Honestly, it just made all the main characters look stupid or at the very least painfully naïve. Not really the qualifications that leaders in a revolution need to possess. I really wanted to like this book since I’m such of fan of Derting’s The Body Finder series, but THE PLEDGE just isn’t as good as it’s promising premise.More Reviews: