Title: The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Series: The Pledge #1
Description: 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 cover: LOVE the cover. I had no clue what this was about and knew I needed to have it because of that cover. When I read that it was a dystopian based on languages as a class system, I needed it even more. What a great concept. I love that the girl is in a dark hood, looking determined, but cautious at the same time. It fits the story very well.
The story: The story was so well planned out and written. I loved the premise of language being a barrier between classes in a society. It was a completely original aspect for a dystopian society, and I’m glad for that. There were a few too many things going on in this particular book, that maybe some could have waited until the second installment in the series, but I can’t really pinpoint what needed to go. The random chapters from Xander, Max and the Queen’s point of view (still all in third person though) were great, I liked being able to see a little more of their lives when Charlie wasn’t around.
The characters: The characters were well developed. Charlie is amazing. Being able to breach the language barriers for any type of language is unheard of in Charlie’s world, and she must keep it a secret. The secret gets her in trouble sometimes, but the fact that she can understand everything anyway makes the story much more interesting because you don’t really know where that gift is leading until a while into the book. I loved Brook, but that could be because she was fearless and pretty much did what she wanted. Aron wasn’t a big part of the story, but he was still a great friend to Charlie and Brook, and it showed in his actions. I couldn’t decide if I liked Max & Xander at first, but they grew on me later in the book. Max ended up being my favorite though because of the things he says to Charlie, and the way he says them. As horrible a person as Queen Sabara was in the story, I actually liked her. She made the perfect villain for sure, but more than that, she was ancient. She was queen literally forever, and that’s a twist that’s revealed in the beginning of the story (prologue actually), but made more clear toward the end.
Overall: Loved. This. Book. Simple as that. I sticky-noted this book so many times in Adobe Digital Editions because I had so many favorite passages, or lines I wanted to remember. I believe there were over 70 “notes” by the time I was done. The way the characters were written, and the overall storyline were amazing. I can’t wait until the second book in the series releases, and this book has me beginning Kimberly Derting’s other series The Body Finder because I loved her writing style so much.
I’m now reading Crossed by Ally Condie and hope to finish it within the week.