Title: The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (S&S imprint)
In a futuristic and violent country, the classes are divided by the languages they speak. Looking a member of a higher class in the eye as they speak their native tongue can result in an immediate execution. Charlaina has always understood the languages of all the classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can be free is in the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the rules. There she meets Max, someone new and mysterious, someone who speaks a language she's never heard before. As emergency drills give way to a violent crisis, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger that she'd ever imagined.
An interesting story, class separation where language comes into play. It makes the elite sound more elite, more important, if you can't understand what they're saying. A unique spin on what otherwise would've been a novel similar to others I've read this past year.
The setting was both futuristic and medieval, similar to Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth in which we're given the future after a horrid disease but it somehow felt colonial, like zombies and Plymouth Rock. The Pledge is vaguely dystopian (in terms of an oppressive group controlling the population), vaguely post-apocalyptic, vaguely futuristic, but had a Middle Ages feel in terms of class structure and a vicious, oppressive Queen.
Charlie was interesting in terms of her ability to understand all languages. She breaks through all the barriers in that way, breaks the system. Of course, that gift is what draws the unwanted attention her way and makes her incredibly dangerous to the Queen. The pulls away from Charlie's point of view, the peeks into Max and
other characters, was a dangerous choice by the author. Too many have
tried multiple points of view and had it backfire. Here, I believe it
worked. I wasn't taken away from Charlie for long enough to get bored or annoyed.
While it reminded me of other books, and made me question whether or not too many books are being classified as "dystopian" and would be better of as "futuristic," it was still a story that kept me reading, kept me interested in what would happen next. I believe I'll continue with the series, I'm intrigued as to what will happen next and what the consequences will be as to events that occurred at the end of this book.
(I read an e-galley of this book after finding it in the Simon & Schuster Galley Grab newsletter.)