Thursday, January 24, 2013

Heidi Reviews The Pledge by Kimberly Derting


The Pledge is a fresh introduction to Kimberly Derting's new, dystopian
series.
A cheer squeals from the mob squeezed around the main square of Ludania. A wave of bodies clawing and pushing to peer at the imminent execution. In Ludania, Queen Sabara rules the land with an indomitable, iron fist. The slightest infraction, such as failure to divert your eyes when addressed by someone of a higher class, will earn you a one way trip to the gallows. It is a land organized into a caste system with deep divisions. Each class has their own language, while Englaise is the universal mode of
communication. It is strictly prohibited to learn a language outside your social status.
This separation of the population allows the Queen to divide and control the rabble.  The communicative barrier is meant to inhibit rebellious uprisings. Yet, in spite of her stringent domination, there is a revolt in the land. Each day the rebel force draws closer to the capital. On her lofty throne the aging Monarch Sabara is trapped in a decaying, frail body. Hungrily, she seeks an heiress; since she is cursed with a line of male
progeny, who are of no use in this matriarchal society. Meanwhile, in the streets inhabited by the working class, seventeen year old Charlaina shudders and hurries away from the roar of the masses. Clutching her passport she maneuvers through the clogged roads. Ducking and averting her eyes, trying to hide the secret that could kill her. Charlaina, was inexplicably born with the ability to translate and understand any language. Then a chance encounter with a handsome stranger threatens a revelation of her talent. Suddenly, she finds herself thrust into a fight to save her family. Caught between two mysterious men. Whom can she trust?

This review was also posted at Rainy Day Ramblings.

What I Liked:
• I was intrigued by the dystopian society presented in The Pledge. The distinction of
the people through language was a clever concept. I also appreciated the
atmospheric tension and the way it builds throughout the book. The suspense
crescendos at a nice, steady pace. This isn't a heart pounding, edge of your seat
thriller but it does provide plenty of anxious moments. This book also has just a hint of
fantasy that is cohesively slipped into the story.
• I liked the use of the dominating, evil monarch. The Queen is twisted, cruel and
manipulative. For me, Queen Sabara is reminiscent of Queen Marie Antoinette, who
ruled over France during the time of the French Revolution; she sent thousands of
people to an untimely end courtesy of Madame Guillotine. Sabara comparatively has
the same penchant for hastily ordering death sentences. I personally enjoy reading
dystopian novels that allow me to draw parallels between our world and the one
presented in the book.
• I loved the way the characters were unmasked. All the major players, Charlaina,
Brooklynn, Max, Xander, Charlaina's parents and Angelina all have secrets and the
reveals are so much fun. I was definitely caught by surprise with some of the
discoveries. Be prepared for exciting twists and turns!
• The romance in this book starts as a little spark, an unexplainable attraction. The little
glint flickers as Charlaina grapples with her shaky, butterfly feelings. Further
interactions between Max and Charlaina strengthen the little light as they get to know
and understand each other. The progression of affection moves slow and steady
allowing the little flame to flare and glow. A sweet, easy romance, just right.
• I was relieved that Ms. Derting furnished her societal development with history and
background details. Imparting some of the events that lead up to the timeline of the
story gave me a richer experience while reading since I had a clear understanding of
the environment. One of my peeves when reading dystopian is lack of information in
world building. This book does an excellent job in crafting and creating the land of
Ludania.

The Pledge is a good introduction to a new series by Kimberly Derting. This book
provides a nice framework for future novels. If you are a fan of dystopian novels this is
a enjoyable entry in the field. While it may lack the gripping scenes of terror it does
produce a distressed and fearful climate splashed with a bit of fantasy. Ms. Derting has
a pleasant, fluid writing style that draws you into her world. Fans of her Body Finder
series will enjoy her entrance into the dystopian genre. If you are an avid reader of
dystopian novels this book provides the thrill you crave. I am interested to see where
she will take the series.

Favorite Quotations:
"I loved voices, I always had. Words held meaning, but voices held emotion."
"The voice that interrupted my thoughts was like delicate silk to my ears and coarse
sandpaper to my nerves."
"My resolve slipped, and then crumbled. I took harbor within his arms."
"He leaned in then and kissed me again, sweet and soft and tender, silencing my
arguments and stealing my breath, making me wonder how one simple gesture could
be so tragically lovely."
For more reviews visit: http://rainydayramblings.typepad.com

Disclosure: All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.


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