TITLE: The Pledge
AUTHOR: Kimberly Derting
SERIES: The Pledge #1
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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 Pledge had a really interesting story and premise, which I loved. The world is set in a land of monarchies. In the realm where Charlie lives, people are separated by languages. It really brings the term language barrier to life. The thing is, Charlie understands all the languages, including the ones meant for different societal classes. I found the original ideas and rules really refreshing. Needless to say, I really liked the world building.
Character wise, I liked Charlie… for the most part. I’m not going to lie, there were times when I just wanted to reach my hands into the book and shake her and yell “Are you seriously that dumb?!?”. She just seemed like a step behind
everyone else the reader for half the book. But that was probably because the book was a bit too predictable. That being said, I do admire how protective she was over her sister, Angelina, and her friends as well as her kindness to others. The queen was mean… and a big bitch. Max was, uh nice? He was pretty creepy at first, like stalkerish creepy. But the more I read, the more he grew on me. In general, by the end of the book, I really liked the characters and the character development that occurred.
I really liked reading The Pledge and thought it was like a breath of fresh air from all the other YA fantasy books out there. I thought the world building was done really nicely, but I had some minor problems with the characters and a bigger one with the predictable plot. I would recommend The Pledge to fans of Graceling by Kristin Cashore.