The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Review by Janine
In this book we are introduced to the country of Ludania, a place where the class system and its rules are strictly adhered to at all times or punished with death. Charlana and her sister Angelina, along with their parents, live in the country. Life for them is lived simply as owners of a restaurant within the city. The family, however, has a secret. Charlie and her sister both have unique abilities that would make them not only stand out but also become a target of the ruthless and evil Queen Sabara. This puts her parents in constant fear. As the rebels, who are trying to overthrow the queen, push further into the city and closer to defeating her, both sides have one common goal: find the next true heir to the throne. One hopes to continue her legacy of evil, and one hopes to bring peace and hope to a country with none.
I must begin by saying that I really liked this book. It was different from the other dystopian books that I have been reading lately.The premise of a country divided between an evil ruler and rebels looking to overthrow her and instate a new ruler, who not only has royal blood, but will be fair and kind, while being a strong ruler is nothing new. I love that in this story the ruler is a queen. The first born female to the reigning queen and her king, males need not apply! The problem of the current queen, who is no heir to the throne, is the driving force behind the queen's ruthlessness to her people. She knows that part of her bloodline exists (as there is a line of the family that was banished generations before); the problem is finding an eligible and suitable queen in time. I also found it interesting (in a good way) how this society was set up. People were born into a class and that class is where you stayed. To keep people of each class separate and to insure that the people of each class stayed within their class, each spoke a different language. There were also very strict rules for the interaction of the classes, any disobeying of these rules was punishable by death. I just thought that was a clever way of devising a class system, and it made the book that much more interesting to me. When we meet Charlie and her sister Angelina, I thought of them as just regular kids (minus the fact that they each have a kind of power). They were not rebels, and they weren't acting as spoiled kids. Charlie is leveled-headed, protective of her sister, and while she does question her powers, she also accepts them for what they are and the weight that they carry. Charlie knows that if anyone found out about them, much harm would come to her family and sister, so she deals with it the best she can. Although, one should not mistaken her acceptance of her power, her class and any other part of her life as weakness. She proves herself to be a strong, caring, smart and very powerful person.
When we learn about the rebels and where they are hiding out, I had a flashback to Divergent (if you have read both, you will completely understand, I was just waiting for a waterfall!). There were a few surprises but a lot of what happened you could predict as well. I understand why things happened the way they did, but it still felt it a little predictable. I still really enjoyed the book and am pretty excited to read the second one, which just came out!!