Publisher: 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.
The author has done it yet again! THE PLEDGE has an ingenious combination of some of the best elements in the dystopian genre - including a very unique and captivating but strict government-like society - and it's also the type of novel that's a little different and it's rather hard to compare it to with other dystopian book in young adult fiction. But that's a good thing to possess in a book like this one considering it's one of the best books I've read from last year in 2011. Clearly because, one, I love the author's writing as seen in her other novels, and, two, because of the way she keeps coming up with such cool ideas and surprising me each and every time.
Just like in her Body Finder series, a YA series that I've been a big fan of for quite some time, Kimberly Derting continues to impress her readers with writing the smallest amount of moments and recreating them into something magnificent and aspiring. Kind of like pulling a white rabbit out of magician's hat. Whether it's the internal human emotions, the physical strengths and struggles, or even the dangerous situations she continues placing her characters into, it's always unique and entertaining in its own rights. This of course can be seen alone through the eyes of Charlaina aka "Charlie", the main protagonist, whom can be both strong and vulnerable as a main character can get and I love her for it. Especially how she can understand all of the languages inside this society of hers named Ludania . . . she was perfect despite her flaws.
But what's even more interesting, is that the book contains three character perspectives that are switched throughout the novel between Charlie herself, her love interest Max (love him so much just so you know because he's handsome and alluring and all that goodness), and the strange-but-evil-but-sometimes-intriguing Queen Sabara who is the wicked one of all of them. All three main characters were absolutely fantastic ones to read about - even the supporting cast were splendid - and while I was unsure at first with a book sharing three people's perspectives, but in the end it turned out for the best.
Without spoiling the book for you guys - it's hard not to - readers can expect an incredibly blended fantasy/dystopian YA book, and one filled with such loveable characters and with just enough intensity to keep you reading until you reach the final pages. Even with some slow scenes, once you delve into Charlie's new world and enter the dangers she now faces, THE PLEDGE will have you begging for more. On a side note, initially THE PLEDGE was a standalone book but recently the publishers bought the rights to two more books from Derting, so I'm already counting down the days til book 2 arrives on our shelves!