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The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
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The Pledge (edition 2011)

by Kimberly Derting

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4335924,328 (3.77)2
Member:kitkat859
Title:The Pledge
Authors:Kimberly Derting
Info:Margaret K. McElderry Books (2011), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:To read
Rating:***
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The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

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In a world where language divides people, everyone speaks a common language but there's a specific language for each caste and under pain of death you have to look away and not acknowledge their speech. Over all of this is a queen, who is aging and has no heir. In this world is Charlaina or Charlie who can understand all languages, including written ones (pause for a moment for how jealous I am of that skill).

She meets Max and her life changes forever, as does the life of the people in her world.

There were times that this didn't quite work for me but overall it was a very interesting read, I'm curious about what's going to happen next and what's going to happen to her sister and her family. The end left me wanting more. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jun 4, 2014 |
I have to say this book surprised me. Started out bland but ended up suspenseful. Another young adult romance but the female is the alpha, in my opinion, a wonderfully written book to spark the imagination. ( )
  ChachaCenteno | Feb 6, 2014 |
When I saw The Pledge by Kimberly Derting, I was immediately drawn to its cover and its description. As I took a peek inside, the Prologue provided a good hook for me to continue reading. However, beyond that, my interest waned a bit. While some parts were strong, I was hoping to read tight and gripping scenes from the beginning to the story's end, be introduced to situations and words that can be felt and mentally seen in a reader's mind. It can be a good choice for those who are looking for dystopian novels that are easy reads. (I read this for free on Pulseit, Simon & Schuster's site for teen books.)

---- NOTE: This review was taken from my blog post: "Book Reviews: 8 Books, Various Genres (Part 2)" at http://sittiecateslovestories.blogspot.com/2014/01/book-reviews-8-books-various-... ( )
  SittieCates | Jan 17, 2014 |
The Pledge is the first book in a new dystopian trilogy. The concept is interesting and fast paced enough that I read it in one sitting, and the story’s fantasy elements set it apart from other YA dystopian books. The imaginative story is entertaining and full of adventure, which made for a pleasant fast read even though some of the character insight and dystopian world building details were sometimes lacking. I did enjoy it as much as The Body Finder series though, and especially the royalty / fantasy parts of the story.

The series opener introduces a cool concept in which the citizens of Ludania are separated by a language barrier according to class. Learning another class’s language or even looking another class member in the eye in acknowledgement of their language is a crime punishable by death. The ruler, Evil Queen Sabara, uses some fancy magic that keeps her around forever to continue to torment the citizens of Ludania. The heroine Charlaina (Charlie) is born with the talent to understand all languages. Her parents have asked to keep her talent under wraps to keep her safe and to keep a watchful eye over her gifted younger sis Angelina. Her secret is exposed when she meets Max and he recognizes she can understand his unusual language. This starts a sequence of events that cause Charlie’s world to turn upside down.

There are multiple character POV’s in the book, with Max and another character Xander sharing the spotlight with Charlie. Several other side characters are introduced, including a couple other potential love interests for Charlie, which made it hard to buy into the Max and Charlie romance completely. The side characters are somewhat lost in the shuffle of the fast moving plot. With so much action in the book, I hoped for a breather that would allow more focus on the magical origins and Queen Sabara.

The series has a lot of potential, and I’ll be interested to see where it goes, though it seems a bit twisted considering the epilogue. I would recommend this book to fans of the author’s writing, and those looking for something different in the dystopian category. ( )
  readingdate | Jan 7, 2014 |
The more YA books I see being released amidst the continuing dystopia trend (a fad that seems to have a lot more mileage than I originally anticipated, although the sales figures are a more mixed bag), the more I find myself questioning what makes a book dystopian. With “The Body Finder” author Kimberly Derting's latest, the first in a planned trilogy, I hesitate to call it, for lack of a better term, pure dystopian since it mixes more fantastical elements into the story. This discussion aside, what elements that the book uses that are clearly in a dystopian vein are unsuccessful.

The setting, the country of Ludania, is frequently described in terms of its oppressiveness and constant threat of danger but neither of these things were shown on the page. For a supposedly highly guarded society, there was a lot of freedom allotted to its residents. There seemed to be no real adult supervision of the secret club visiting teenagers, except for a few guards now and then, but when one of the characters is described as using heavily guarded security check-points as an opportunity to practice her flirting techniques, it sort of detracts from the sense of fear and urgency. This is an issue I've had with a few dystopian YA novels in recent times. We're frequently told of the dangers and need for constant vigilance but what we are presented with is a series of plot convenient instances and loopholes that detract from the atmosphere needed to create a truly tense story. A strong sense of urgency and fear is a must for dystopian set stories, in my opinion. On top of all this, Derting includes a more fantasy oriented element that is the driving force behind the central premise of the story. Charlie can understand every language, a dangerous skill in a world where social groups are broken up by which language they speak. As a student of semi-dead languages, this premise was a potential gold-mine for me, and I think there is a genuinely interesting world to be built from the idea of using language as a device of socio-political matters. Unfortunately, this book isn't it. The strong idea is never fully built upon, a matter made all the more frustrating thanks to the complete lack of detail given when it is used. The book was a step away from saying “It's magic, we don't have to explain it”, which is never a good answer.

The characters are as shallow as the plot, in particular the heroine Charlie and the first designated love interest Max (there are at least 3 men in the story who I thought could be potential love interests because they are constantly described by way of their handsome looks and enticing aura by Charlie. She may have claimed that her friend Brooklynn was the boy crazy one but she seemed just as single-minded). Neither rises beyond the stock YA romance traits, with Charlie's passiveness being extremely grating but not as much as Max's frequently rude, condescending and smug behaviour being written off as okay because he's so enamoured with a girl he's known for barely a few weeks – the book has a very short time-line – and makes her so weak at the knees I'm surprised she could perform basic human functions. It's yet another YA where the breeding pair fall into the typical gender roles. Maybe it's because I'm jaded and I've been reviewing these sorts of books for what feels like an era, but when the romantic hero, who has only personally known the heroine for a couple of weeks (there are references that he's had his 'protective' eye on her for longer), and he says “All I want is to keep you safe... it's all I've ever wanted”, alarm bells go off in my head. His case isn't helped by his frequent grabbing of Charlie as if he's allowed to do this because we all know they're going to end up together.

“The Pledge” is a slow, mediocre book that shows a glimmer of promise for the rest of the series in the final few pages, but it's not enough for me to feign further interest. To see such potential wasted is a disappointment, made all the worse by the continuing trend for the sort of romances that make me want to pull my hair out. While the prose itself is serviceable, the constant switching of narratives from Charlie's 1st person to several characters's 3rd person points-of-view felt unnecessary given the lack of distinguishing features given to them. My biggest issue with the book is that it's so shallow. Nothing is given the depth required to make the story fully engaging – the world building is slack, the characters are stock, the romance is tired and predictable and the much needed tension is nowhere to be seen.

2/5. ( )
  Ceilidhann | Sep 20, 2013 |
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In the violent country of Ludania, the language you speak determines what class you are, and there are harsh punishments if you forget your place—looking a member of a higher class in the eye can result in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina (Charlie for short) can understand all languages, a dangerous ability she’s been hiding her whole life. Her only place of release is the drug-filled underground club scene, where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. There, she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy who speaks a language she’s never heard, and her secret is almost exposed. Through a series of violent upheavals, it becomes clear that Charlie herself is the key to forcing out the oppressive power structure of her kingdom….
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In a dystopian kingdom where the classes are separated by the languages they speak, Charlaina "Charlie" Hart has a secret gift that is revealed when she meets a mysterious young man named Max.

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