But I'll start with what I didn't like, since there's not much of it.
From reading the blurb, you know that Charlie can understand every language and that she's not supposed to. But in the book, it takes forever to actually explain that. I don't care if we technically already know it, I like elaborations, dang it! And the world of Ludania, how the Queen ruled, Ludania's past, I felt like it was revealed too late in the book. I spent all this unnecessary time wondering what the heck was going on.
In the beginning, I didn't really like the writing style. Lots of the sentences were too long and felt awkward, but it wasn't very long before I didn't think about it. I'm not sure if it's because the sentences got less awkward or because I didn't notice it anymore, but either way, I started to really like the writing.
AND NOW ONTO THE GOOD STUFF.
I don't know how Derting did it, but she made me totally understand Brooklyn. At first, I hated her. And when Charlie started to suspect that Brook was just using her for selfish purposes, (which I totally agreed with) I couldn't believe Charlie wasn't even angry about it. But then I found out about the real Brooklyn, and I was like WHOA. I GET IT. SHE'S NOT REALLY THAT MUCH OF A BITCH. I have to applaud Derting on that, considering I utterly hated Brooklyn for the first half of the book.
Although there were times when I didn't really understand it, I loved the romance. There was no insta-love, and after the first night she met him, Charlie wasn't constantly and obsessively thinking about Max. He crept into her thoughts sometimes, but not all the time. It seemed very realistic to me. And there were things she liked and disliked about Max. He wasn't perfect, and Charlie knew that, and that just made it so realistic for me.
I also really liked Charlie as a character. She had her faults. When her city was being attacked, sure, she was worrying about her sister, but she also afraid for herself, which made her seem much more real and relateable. She was caring and strong, but she had her moments where she questioned everything. She was an awesome narrator/main character.
But by far, my favorite thing about this was the originality. Sure, the whole "rebelling against the leader" thing has been done plenty of times before, but Derting made it an idea all her own. I loved the world of Ludania, I loved how everything worked, and I loved how modern things were still incorporated into it, like restaurants and clubs.
Overall: The Pledge surprised me and then continued to surprise me. Full of originality and twists and turns, I really loved this. The characters were real, the romance were real, but the plot was definitely not something you see every day. 4.5 stars.