Author: Kimberly Derting
Release: November 14th 2011
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy, Paranormal, YA
#1 in the Pledge trilogy
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.
Oh holy Lord please bestow upon me the sequel right this second, so I won't die of anticipation.
This was simply AWESOME. I could barely stop reading as soon as I really got into it and I really loved it. Now I definitely have to check out Derting's other series.
Let's start with characters. They weren't as developed as they could have been, most of them anyway, but that's hard to do during only one book, so I'll hold my breath until I've read at least the second one. But, for now, I think Derting has done a good job. Especially our heroine, Charlie, was very fleshed out and real. I think her character wasn't all good, which only made her seem more 3D and, bizarrely enough, more likeable. While you might think now "Say what?", because you know, the Sydney thing, I still think Charlie isn't that innocent. However, I absolutely loved her because this girl has her priorities straight and while sometimes I wanted to smack her at how she treated Max, in the end, Charlaina was a great heroine.
Max was a great character, too. There were a lot of plot twists surrounding him and I was just blown away by the reveal of who he truly is and I just... the whole time I was guessing who he could be and I was still wrong. Max was a very easy-going guy, smiling and grinning, but he also had his serious and vulnerable side and I loved his diversity. One second he was charming you with a smirk, and the other he was promising to protect you at all costs and it was so ADORABLE.
Then there's Brooklynn, and dang girl, she was a badass. I loved her character arc, and she was one of the few characters that got a real backstory and characterization that defined her, and realistically so. We get to know a lot about her, and not only through telling but also by showing. Again, a very unexpected plot twist surrounding Brook here, and I loved this development with her. Suited her to the bone.
Angelina really impressed me. While not speaking a word and only being four years old, she had a huge presence in this book. And I don't mean she was there a lot and very important, no, I mean she stuck out. She had a great character and I pin it to Derting's great skill to actually be able to build up such a flawless character without having her make a single sound.
The other characters were also very fine, Aron and Xander and Charlie's parents and the antagonist... This cast was absolutely wonderful and I loved going on an adventure with them.
Now, onto romance. I'll say this one thing, and then I know that you'll roll your eyes the tiniest bit and groan: Insta-love. Yes, this was insta-love extraordinaire, but you know what? I did not care. Not one bit. After Charlie and Max's second meeting I already wanted them to just find a dark alley and make out. Their attraction was so palpable, the sparks they gave off literally flew across the pages it was unreal. I was rooting for them so much. And while at first, I was sure there was going to be a love triangle, there wasn't!
Derting's style was very good, too. I enjoyed her prose and I loved her choice of words, because every metaphor, every simile was absolutely perfect to describe the situation or whatever. I didn't think I could love a writing style that isn't musical and lyrical this much, but apparently, it's possible for me.
By the way I LOVE the covers. All three of them. They're very pretty.
All in all, definitely recommended. Check this out, you won't regret it! And now I think I will buy the sequel on my kindle because I seriously can't wait for it to get delivered to my house.