Title: The Pledge, by Kimberly Derting
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Synopsis (not from my POV for once):
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.
So on this addition of Throwback Thursday I’m throwing it real far back, to 2011 and Kimberly Derting’s “The Pledge,” a book I wasn’t aware existed until this Summer. I blame college when I had no time to read anything that wasn’t assigned to me (33 books in a semester–I kid you not). When I realized I’d never featured Derting on this blog I was shocked, ashamed, and just like WTF. I started blogging because I love discussing books and authors, and Kimberly is one of my FAVORITE authors of all-time, hand’s down, if she will write it, I will read it. I still obsess over “The Body Finder,” series. If you haven’t read that you need to go to the bookstore, library, Itunes, wherever and pick it up, now! Anyone, when I came across “The Pledge,” I was like, ‘Yes please,’ and found I was far from disappointed. Let’s break this down.
What I liked: A book talking about how language is used to promote classicism….ummm I’m sorry the little Historian/English nerd in my heart just died. While she’s being resuscitated let’s talk about Charlie and Max. YES. From the very beginning I was all about this romance. It was subtle it was a little treacherous but it was totally working for me. I love the way Derting writes her romantic scenes. They feel very realistic and grounded while still holding an air of magic. The fact that her female characters have more to do than be in love is great, but the fact that they can kick butt and still have a steamy hot romance with a guy who may/may not be a Prince of some-sort, even better. Outside of the romance the world building is TOP-NOTCH. Sometimes in Fantasy or Dystopia I find myself really lost in the rules and it makes me feel like the author doesn’t know the rules either. That’s not the case here. The plot/ world is simple enough to follow, but filled with complex action that engage the reader fully. Derting doesn’t rely on her world to make her book interesting, her plot points and her characters are what make the book interesting. Ultimately, what I love about Derting as an author is that her plots (which are very intense and specific) are driven by her characters. You aren’t wondering why the protagonist is walking into a war zone situation because off the cusp you understand her motivations.
What I didn’t like: I know there are two other books for me to read so obviously the ending isn’t going to wrap everything up in a tidy bow, but really I just didn’t think the ending was as great as the rest of the book. It seemed too easy (I KNOW WHY) but still. I like to see a little more struggle in my climax. The scene between Charlie and the Queen, the kind of final stand situation,just didn’t do it for me.
Overall, I give you another instance where Derting knocks it out of the park. If you’ve never picked up a book by her I really hope you’ll rethink that. 4/5