Book Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

RATING: StarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Dystopia | Fantasy

(The Pledge #1)

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.

*****

Now I get what my Goodreads friends are talking about: a lot of YA books nowadays, especially tagged as dystopian, are just romance books in disguise. I actually did not mind Charlie’s and Max blossoming love affair, but it did plant a seed in my head that yes, YA dystopia genre is teeming with more romance and less dystopia. What i did mind though, was that The Pledge is more fantasy than dystopia. I was geared up for dystopia before reading this, so imagine my disappointment when i encountered magical queens and a princess with a knack for healing. *sigh*

At first, i thought the class system (serving class for servants, vendor class for merchants, council class for politicians) was a shallow reason to build a dystopian future. but when the history on how the class system came about, it made sense. It actually reminded me a little of the Tower of Babel story from the Bible. Anyway, it became a qualified plot for me… until the fantasy elements start showing up. Man, that really destroyed my reading enjoyment. Was Charlie a strong heroine? i don’t think so. although i have to note her winsome trait of unconditional love for her sister. Was Max a formidable hero? A little too perfect, but yes.

Do you want your romance cloaked in a dystopian novel? If yes, then The Pledge might work for you. I loved the Body Finder, but The Pledge fell short on my Derting’s standards. Even if i’m a little disappointed with this book, Derting still got my attention with her storytelling. Too bad it didn’t fit the bill of my dystopia taste.

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

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