The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Words are the most dangerous weapon of all.
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.
I wasn't all that impressed with THE BODY FINDER, and I was pretty hesitant when THE PLEDGE showed up on my doorstep. I wasn't sure Kimberly Derting deserved another chance. If I didn't like her first novel, what were the odds I'd like the first book in a totally different genre? How big were the chances I'd find the experience of reading her third novel like I did her first and give up on her in general? Thankfully, that wasn't the case. I'm glad I did end up giving it a chance, because it wasn't anything like THE BODY FINDER -- frankly, it was better, more creative, and more engrossing.
In the beginning of the book, I wasn't too sure I was going to like it. The pacing was like the love child of a turtle and a snail, and I wasn't really "feeling" any of the characters-- I didn't get a good grip on them, didn't feel sympathy for them during crises, and didn't care if they got hurt. As the novel progressed, however, they were displayed a little more in-depth, and I grew to love a few of them (especially Angelina).
The pacing at the end is breakneck. I found myself really engrossed in the story, and I was sad when it ends. I'm really glad Derting didn't stretch the story out and make it a series, because it ended perfectly and frankly it wouldn't have worked as a series. Everything is resolved, wrapped up in a nice little package with a pretty little bow.
If you didn't like THE BODY FINDER, fear not, because THE PLEDGE definitely steps it up a level. You won't be disappointed!
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