Title: The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Pledge, #1
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (Imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Date Published: November 15th, 2011
Source: eARC via S&S GalleyGrab
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.
Ludania is a country made up of classes kind of like we have in our world — upper, middle, and lower. But the similarities end there. The classes in Ludania are very strict and you are not really allowed to mingle with another class — right down to there being completely separate languages within the upper classes just to segregate those below them in rank. But while the upper classes may seem to rule the society, they are all ruled by a single queen, and this queen is not a softy.
When I first dived into The Pledge, I was excited because a few friends had told me it was very good. But then again there were also some not-so-good reviews for it as well. So going in I wasn’t sure what to expect entirely. The common trend with the negative reviews though seemed to be when comparing it to Derting’s Body Finder series. But I haven’t read her Body Finder series yet (although it’s on my list), so I didn’t have that to compare it to. Perhaps that’s a good thing because I really loved this book.
This was a book that was very hard for me to put down once I picked it up. It’s fast-paced for most of the book, which I really liked. Ludania is sort of in the middle of a revolution, so there’s a lot of external stuff going on outside of Charlie’s personal life. Of course, her own little world is about to collide with the big one around her, but that’s for you to discover if you decide to read this book. But anyways, I loved the pacing and the writing style flowed very well and was easy to get hooked into.
Charlie was sort of your typical underdog heroine in the beginning. She has the oh-so-pretty friend who get’s all the guys’ attention and Charlie’s left in the shadows. It’s been a bit overdone, but I think that’s because most of us have felt that way at one point or another so it’s easy to relate to. But Charlie holds her own too. She may be of a lower class and she may be the underdog of her little clique, but she’s strong and level-headed. She’s a good person and being inside her head was a pleasure.
Of course, the nice thing about this book is that we get more than just Charlie’s point-of-view. We get several others as well. My other favorite would probably be Max. I really loved his character. He’s very sweet and romantic and even though Charlie pushes him away for pretty valid trust reasons, he doesn’t give up, which I loved.
So overall I really enjoyed this one and had a hard time putting it down. I was thinking it was five-star material for most of the book, but the ending felt a little too abrupt for me. Although there will be more books in the series and it didn’t really leave off with a cliffhanger. But I still felt like the ending was kind of rushed compared to the pacing in the rest of the book. Even so, I loved it overall and I will definitely be reading on in the series!