Title: The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Reading level: Young Adult
Size: Hard Cover, 320 pages
Release Date: November 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Book
Stand Alone or Series: The Pledge #1
Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab
First Line: “The air crackled like a gathering thunderstorm the moment the girl entered the chamber.”
Summary (from GoodReads):
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.
Favorite Quote from the Book:
“I loved voices, I always had. Words held meaning, but voices held emotion.”
The premise for this story definitely had a unique twist. Caste distinction and social oppression defined through language. That said I found it to be a bit unbelievable…I think that had the same world building been done, the same class lines drawn but without the whole language barrier…and had Charlie carried a different manifestation of her power it would have made a lot more sense.
I also tend to have some trouble with the whole “love at first sight” premise. Rarely is it done well enough that the compulsion is visceral enough for me to believe it. This time it was a bit of a stretch.
That said I did easily fall in love with her character and most of the secondary characters. There backstories and inter personal relationships were rich and warm and I quickly came to care for all of them. Sadly, Max felt a bit hollow…I never really “got” him.
Although it was entertaining enough to keep me reading and not feel as if I’d wasted my time, I don’t know that I’d recommend this book. Though I suspect that it will probably go over better with a younger audience …ie. the YA audience for which it is targeted.
Was it worth my Time?
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