Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

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The Pledge
Kimberly Derting
Release Date: November 15th, 2011
by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Goodreads / Purchase

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.

*A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster for review purposes*

In Kimberly Derting’s The pledge, we embark on a fairy-tale like story set in a dystopian future where language dictates your class standing. I was first attracted to this book by it’s intriguing premise and original setting. Unfortunately, I found myself unable to connect to the characters nor was I very invested in the story.

As a reader, I’m very character oriented. I feel the need to be able to relate to the characters. Feel their emotions, understand their decisions and connect with their personalities. I didn’t feel any of this with Charlie, the protagonist in The Pledge. I felt very detached from her. She didn’t have any distinct traits or strengths. I also never felt the connection between her and Max – the love interest. It was never clear why Max was so infatuated with her. She simply “intrigued him”, whatever that means. The one part I did enjoy was Charlie’s relationship with her sister. She was deeply devoted to saving her sister and making sure she was ok. I was also happy about the presence of the parents in the book.

Charlie has a big secret, she can understand all languages. In this world, if you even look at a person while they are speaking a language of a higher class, that is punishable by death. I did find this to be a bit harsh, but not necessarily unrealistic. If we take the present, there are already a lot of problematic prejudices caused by language, so I could see, in a dystopian future, that it could come to this. The part about the world building I had a problem with was that I couldn’t fathom how society would put a full worldwide matriarchy in place of a democracy. It wasn’t very well explained, how it came about. World building is especially important in a dystopic setting, and The Pledge did not have me convinced.

I was never surprised by the events that occurred during the story. It was as expected and went in a fairly straight route. The pacing was pretty decent, but the action was mild and the excitement was short lived. I never felt especially alarmed during the book, neither did I feel intimidated by the Queen. It was over fairly quickly without much aftershock, and we barely got any details regarding the magic. Why was Angelina not speaking? What’s the point of Charlie’s abilities? She never really took advantage of them which was pretty disappointing. I guess a sequel may cover it, but it feels strongly like a stand-alone novel. I’m not sure if a sequel is planned, but I can’t see where the plot would go from here.

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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29 Responses to “Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting”

  1. Kelly

    That’s really disappointing. The premise was so promising! I think its destined to be a trilogy? But I hate when you are forced to read a sequel to uncover things that should have been revealed.

  2. Books And Beyond

    Great review. I have this in my reader & have been hesitating about whether I should read it next or not. I guess first instincts are always the best.
    The cover looks great. The summary was good.
    BUT it has been getting a very luke warm reception from others. That is what made me hesitate on more than 1 occasion.
    I think I will check it out & if it ends up on my “Crash & Burned” list then I can kick myself for not listening to everyone else..lolz..
    Thank you for stopping by my blog this morning.
    Books and Beyond

  3. Missie

    Bum deal. I’ve seen the cover around, but I had no idea the story was based on prejudices caused by language. That seems rather dull. And if the love interest really didn’t create a spark, then it doesn’t sound like a book for me.

    Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts.

  4. Rebecca

    Aw, sorry you didn’t like it too much. I started reading the prologue and I loved that, so I still have hope I’ll enjoy it! Great review.

  5. Giselle

    Thanks for all the love, guys!

    Don’t let this stop you from reading it if you were planning to. I’ve read plenty of good reviews on it so it’s possible you’ll love it.

  6. Laura (All of Everything)

    Hmm, seeing lots of mixed reviews for this. A copy I won should be arriving soon, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing to read it straight away. I’m with you on the intriguing concept though, still looking forward to reading it.

  7. Ron C. Nieto

    This is why I love your reviews. I get infatuated with a cover, and then I can turn to you for some real reasons as to why I might like or not like the real thing…

    In this case, not like. Problems with worldbuilding, with characterization, with romance… Nope. Staying out of my TBR!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ron @ Stories of my life

  8. Melliane

    Oh I don’t know yet what to do with this book… I’ve heard great reviews like not so great… I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. It’s always difficult when we don’t get into the story. Thanks for the review. So now I think I’ll pass.

  9. Steph @ The Caffeinated Reader

    I actually really enjoyed this one, but I do agree with a few of your points. I was actually surprised by most of the events that happened, but I’m terrible about predicting things ;/ I do agree that character development left much to be desired, and Charlie’s ability should have been more explored more in depth than they were. I really thought the dystopian world was interesting though, and I loved Angelina. The romance was just “meh.”

  10. Shellie

    I’ve been seeing this pop up when I’m browsing around & have thought about getting it but have always picked something different. Glad that I did. Thanks for the honest reveiw as always.

  11. A Canadian Girl

    Totally agree. I wanted to know why Angelina could start speaking all of a sudden too and while Sabara was kind of creepy, she just never seemed scary enough to me. Maybe if I lived in Ludania and had her as a queen, I’d be terrified.

  12. LisaILJ

    I’m sorry you didn’t like this one. I am right there with you on the relationship between Charlie and Max, but other than that, I really liked this one. I thought the pacing of the book was great. You really do bring up some really good points about the world building. I got a totally different picture about the government structure than you did, in that there were still several countries not one big country, but it wasn’t really elaborated on, just briefly mentioned a couple of times.

  13. Candace

    That’s too bad you didn’t like it more. I’m definitely more for the character oriented books, the characters are almost more important then the plot for me. However I did love this book. So I think that we interpret things differently, etc. And mood has a lot to do with it as well. But we can’t all love the same books so I’m sorry you didn’t care for this one too much 🙁

  14. The Princess of Storyland

    I’m kind of torn about this one myself. It took me a wk to read it, which isn’t like me and should have been a hint that I wasn’t too crazy about it. It was ok but not quite the epic read I was hoping for. I think for me, it was also my first time reading an ebook and I probably would’ve liked it more if I had had the phsyical bk. If that makes any sense lol

  15. Maria

    This has been on my To-read list for a while. While I do agree, the plot intrested me. I can live without background so I checked the fansite after reading your review. Just saying it isn’t a stand alone. Gonna read anyway ^^

  16. Maria

    I read the book before I read your review (which I enjoy) and am sorry to hear you didn’t like the book. It wasn’t the best book ever, but I’m a sucker for a book… well, almost any book that I don’t hate. My personal complaint was the ending was awkward, and as you said it feels like a stand alone. But I hope that Essence will clear up some things because as you said, “intriguing” someone doesn’t mean you fall in love.
    I did love how female oriented society was. I’m getting sick of History and hearing about males dominating… everything official. 😛 Happy reading!

    edit: fail. I read your review but so much has happened with school my life kind of blanked ^^’