The Pledge, by Kimberly Derting.
Released November 15, 2011.
"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. "
Kimberly Derting is without a doubt, one of my favorite authors! I love her stories, and how different they are from everything else in the YA genre. I love her characters and settings, they're dynamic and dimensional. I love her female leading characters, they're smart and don't completely depend on a male. And don't even get me started on her endings...
The Pledge is the first installment, and I had such high expectations due to reading and loving her Body Finder books! If you haven't gotten the chance to pick up either of these series, you really should!
The Pledge takes place in a modern society, where classes determine how well you live, what your career will be, and the language you speak. There is a general language that all classes use to communicate with one another, but each class has their own separate language, that only they can understand...unless you're Charlie.
The Queendom is not only run by harsh laws and unfair consequences, but also by an evil Queen, with powers. Citizens are hung and imprisoned for the smallest of crimes, and classes are completely divided.
Charlie and her little sister have grown up keeping their powers a secret, if anyone found out, not only would they be hung in the middle of their city, but also their parents, for not turning them in.
Only females in the royal family are called to rule, and the Queen's time is quickly coming to an end. Which means, she is desperately looking for a female heir, but with the royal line dwindling, and with only two grandsons, she needs to search in the extended family. She knows there has to be at least one heir, somewhere out there, and if there is, she's going to find her.
Overall, I enjoyed The Pledge, the characters and the society it took place in. Before starting this story, I wasn't sure how Kimberly Derting would pull of all of the different languages, and keeping us (the readers) in line with them. After a few chapters, I quickly realized that this wasn't going to be a problem, and that she had the entire situation under control.
The book ended on the perfect note, without keeping us drooling or wondering about what's going to happen next! YES, there is still incentive to continue reading the series, trust me, but it didn't leave off with a HUGE cliffhanger.
There was one thing I wanted to point out that did bother me a bit in The Pledge, and that was the first encounter Charlie had with the Queen. Charlie was told not to go into the castle, in case the Queen can somehow point her out in the crowd, and somehow make the connection of who she is....even though the Queen has never even meet or seen, or heard of Charlie. Of course, Charlie goes anyways, and of course the Queen makes a point of seeing this "random girl".
This isn't that big of a deal, because the rest of the story blew me out of the water, but while reading it, it was a bit disappointing the way the scene played out. What now? Of course I plan on continuing the series, because I've actually already read The Essence and plan to read The Offering very soon! You should too!
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my review of The Pledge! Feel free to leave a link to your review in the comments. I would love to see what you think!