Original Review Located: http://www.literarychaos.com/
This book was purely an impulse by; I was drawn in by the synopsis for this novel and just decided to buy it. There was something about the idea of a caste system that revolves around language that I found so intriguing. I was curious to see how such a society would run and how the different classes would interact if they all spoke different languages. I think that Kimberly Derting did a decent with world-building, however, I would have liked to have seen even more. The world itself is so hard to label because it has a blend of past, futuristic, dystopian, and fantasy elements. I thought that this blend made for a unique world that I hadn't seen before. I personally like this blend of elements, however, that being said, if you want a more believable dystopian read or a mystical fantasy than this book may not be for you.
Besides the world itself, I very much enjoyed the characters. Charlie, the main character, was a hit for me from the beginning, and I only grew to love her more as the time went on. This was mostly for the love she shows her family, particularly her sister, throughout the book. I also really enjoyed Max as a character. He was funny, kind, charming, and made for a great love interest. There was also NO love triangle which gives the author points in my book. The only character I didn't care for-- besides the villain obviously-- was Brooklynn, but even she managed to impress me as I got farther into the book.
While the book itself is a decent size at 352 pages, it definitely did not feel that long. The book is pretty well paced, minus a bit of world building in the beginning that dragged a bit for me, and makes the book feel like an easy read. It has an interesting plot with many twists and turns, some of which I guessed and others that blew me away.~~ cough cough, Brooklynn, cough cough~~ For those who hate cliffhangers there is a good ending, however, it is a trilogy so that is not the end of the story. I am kind of left wondering why it is a trilogy at all. I am excited to read them, but I am also worried that it will just drag out an already finished story.
The Pledge was kind of refreshing, in a way. No love triangles, no insta-love, and no Mary-Sues.
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.