Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review - The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

The Pledge (The Pledge, #1)
The Pledge 
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Margaret K McElderry


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.

My Review:

It has been almost a year since I purchased this beautiful hardback for my library. I read a lot of reviews first, and decided that this was one of those books I could save for a “rainy day”. You know… the books you save for dessert after eating your veggies of review books.

It feels funny to hold a book on such a high pedestal for so long… and then actually read it. Since I had so many expectations, I’m going to review by comparing to them.

Language plays a key role. Class is decided by which language is spoken. I knew this, and yet I was disappointed and relieved, both. I was sad because language is not really language – as in “people who speak different, learnable languages”. It was language as in… a sort of magic-induced thing where people are unable to learn different languages. A separation of the classes - more of a class thing than a language thing.

On the other hand… there are really only three classes, or four. I had imagined a multitude of languages, which could be confusing. Rather there are the poor, the worker, the council and then royalty. And then outcasts. End of layers. Complicated enough, but not confusing. Phew!

Charlie is a fun character. She sees through the classes. She doesn’t belittle those below her and she shows deference due to those above her without thinking they deserve it for any reason besides “the rules”.  In such a strong system, it would be easy to pass the unfair treatment on down the classes, but Charlie helps everyone she comes in contact with. She’s awesome.

She’s spunky, too, and stubborn and full of love for her family, for her parents & her sister. I love, LOVE her relationship with her four year old sister. Wow. There’s so much heart and devotion wrapped up right there. 

I love how the romance sneaks up and surprises Charlie. She resists her own feelings as long as she can, which is delightful. I don’t even want to spoil who HE is ‘cause it’s such a wonderfully sneaky romance that is intricately tied to revolutionary things. I quote her remembering his voice:
“I loved voices, I always had. Words held meanings, but voices held emotion.” Pg 112
What about Brook? What a fun surprise! Charlie has some great friends and connections around her.

Yet, one of my favorite things about this story is the grittiness of it. It’s dark. The shadows are cast long, the candle flickers low, the music throbs like a heartbeat, my fictional fingernails got dirty reading this book. 

The cover is so perfect, now that I know how dark it is. Charlie is a distinctive blond in hiding, shadowed by darkness, obscured.

The Pledge is a crazy-great name. It stands for the government, the revolution, the horrors and the hope. Then… it has a smaller, more personal, goose-bumpy meaning, too.

My Rating: 4.5 - Great Book. En fin, I had bigger visions for The Pledge than what I found, yet I was surprised by the gritty fast pace. I am happy to read more books from this world because I have tons of questions about the royal female bloodline. What a great world full of great characters.

About the Author:

Kimberly Derting:

Kimberly DertingI was born and raised in the Seattle area, with the exception of a few short stints in Phoenix, Boise, and San Jose. I had a colorful childhood, raised by a single mother who worked her butt off to make ends meet. She showed my brother and me how to enjoy life on a shoestring budget. She was the kind of person who, given the choice between paying a bill and taking us to the circus, would always opt for the circus...and somehow, she always managed to pay the bill. She was the one who taught me how to laugh. 

My publishing career began at an early age, when I started making homemade coloring books with sheets of blank paper and a stapler, and then went door-to-door to sell them. Unfortunately, my neighbors had limited disposable income for such frivolous purchases, so I was forced to seek my fortunes elsewhere. 

I first fell in love with writing (giving up my childhood dreams of being a Veterinarian, and then my later aspirations of "lady trucker") when I signed up for Journalism as my 7th grade elective. It was supposed to an easy A, but it soon became my passion. I moved on to be Copy Editor of the high school yearbook so that I could correct other people's writing mistakes and fill in when they missed their deadlines (and, hey, it was high school...deadlines were frequently missed!). 

I still live in the Pacific Northwest, which is the ideal place to be writing anything dark or creepy...a gloomy day can set the perfect mood. I live with my husband and our three beautiful (and often mouthy) children, who serve as an endless source of inspiration for my writing. 

Find & Follow:

Get Your Copy:

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Breaking News:

Kimberly Derting will be at Wordstock this coming weekend! Yay!! I shall do my best to weasel my way into her company as often as possible. Muahahahaha...

Up-n-comin' releases:

The Essence coming Jan 1, 2013   &    Dead Silence coming April 16, 2013
The Essence (The Pledge, #2)  Dead Silence (The Body Finder, #4)