Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Pages: 320
Genre: Science Fiction
Pub. Date: November 15, 2011
Source: S&S Galley Grab
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

Charlaina (Charlie) lives in Ludania, a dystopia where there's a caste system in place, which is further divided by various languages.  If someone from a lower class makes eye contact with someone in the upper class while speaking, the punishment is extreme, perhaps even death.  Charlie's world is a scary place with many limitations and rules, especially since she is from the merchant class.  She has a secret though.  She can understand the castes' languages, even though she shouldn't be able to and this is a secret she must guard with her life. To have some fun, Charlie and her best friend, Brooklynn, spend a lot of their time at underground clubs where rules don't apply.  While there, she meets a mysterious guy named Max.  Instantly, she feels an attraction to Max, but doesn't know much about him other than the language he speaks she hasn't heard spoken in Ludania before.  As The Pledge progresses, Charlie learns the truth about her family, Max and the fate of her country.  Kimberly Derting's The Pledge is the start to a new series that unfortunately left me feeling indifferent.

There were many things that I loved about The Pledge. The world that Derting created was brilliant. I love the idea of a corrupt monarch and the caste system was intriguing.  The setting only added to the suspense, which increased tremendously after I read the second half of the book.  Derting, one of my favorite authors as I loved The Body Finder, really knows how to write suspense and for me, that was evident towards the end of the book.

In my opinion, the problem with The Pledge lied within the characters. I had a hard time relating to Charlie and at times, she fell a bit flat.  Her love interest, Max, was also no Jay (The Body Finder) and I found that to be disappointing; he lacked that extra charisma and appeal.  The characters were a bit one dimensional and, in turn, I wasn't 100% invested in the story.  On the other hand, I loved the antagonist in The Pledge, which is the amoral Queen.  It was like she was out of a Grimm's fairy tale; she was incredibly evil!  I really thought Derting did a good job with her; she was unique and very memorable.  

When I first encountered The Pledge, I thought it was mostly going to have sci-fi elements, but there were a lot of fantasy elements in this novel, too.  For example, the Queen, when she is old and near death, needs a female (royal) host body in order for her essence to be transferred to a younger body, so she can take over that body and continue to rule. Fans of fantasy may appreciate this and I found that part of the story to be captivating.

While I am a HUGE fan of Kimberly Derting, I think I will be sticking with her paranormal tales; however, I am slightly intrigued as to where she is going to take Charlie's story, which, as of now, will have two more books in The Pledge series.  

*Read an excerpt


  1. I'm such a big fan of The Body Finder books too, but this one just didn't work out for me, despite the promising premise. I had a problem connecting with the characters too, and Max just didn't work for me.

  2. Thanks for the review Christina! I haven't read The Pledge yet and I am hesitant because I like The Body Finder books so much and I am a little tired of the dystopian genre. Guess I'll give it a try and see how it goes. :)

  3. I have read other mixed reviews of this. I had the galley from GalleyGrab but ran out of time to read it. Thanks for your honest review! I think if I do read this book someday, I will get it from the library. It is a shame that this wasn't as good as The Body Finder.

  4. I keep reading reviews where the reader has given the book 3/3.5 stars for it. I am curious for this book, so I am going to give it a shot. But now I know that my expectations shouldn't be that high. :) Great review.

  5. Thanks for your honesty. Seems like the reviews are mixed on this one.

  6. I haven't read any of her books. I think this one sounds interesting. I also have The Body Finder which I should try and get to soon.

  7. I totally agree about not relating to the characters. I wanted to like them, but the connection just wasn't there for me. :/ Maybe they will grow more in the next book. I hope!

  8. Such a shame that you had problems with the characters, Christina. That is one of the things that put me of a book, yet I would love to check out The Pledge since I'm a fan as well after reading TBF :)

    Great review :)

  9. I've been reading a lot of very similar thoughts today, and every time I read that the characters are a bit flat it makes me so sad! I adore Jay and Violet, so I was all ready for really rich characters like them but set in a dystopian world. I still want to read this one, but I'm lowering my expectations a bit:) Thanks Christina!

  10. Leanna- I completely agree!!!

    Rachel- Thanks for stopping by and I hope you get to read it soon. let me know what you think.

    Christina T- Definitely a library read! Thanks for visiting.

    Nina- Thank you. If you get around to reading it, be sure to let me know you thoughts.

    Juju- Definitely mixed reviews, which is a bummer!

    Mrs. Q- The Body Finder is amazing!!! I would definitely recommend that book.

    Christy- I am glad we feel the same way! Thanks for visiting.

    Mari- I know! I am a huge fan of TBF, so it was def. disappointing to not fall in love with this book.

    Jenny- I adored Jay and Violet too. :( Such a bummer, but thanks for stopping by!

  11. I agree wholeheartedly with this review! I too loved the premise but there was just something about Charlie that didn't click with me. None of the characters really developed throughout the story either, which is also a little disappointing.

    It's too bad. I had high hopes for this one.

  12. Does any one know when the second book is coming
    Out or is it already? Name of it


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