The Pledge is Kimberly Derting’s latest book. It’s a dystopia. Democracy has fallen. Nations are ruled by matrilineal queens. In Charlaina’s society citizens are divided and stratified by language. Englaise is the common language spoken by all classes. Each class has their own language as well, so for example the vendor class speaks Pashon. Charlaina, Charlie for short, can understand every language, even though it is against the law. One is not supposed to acknowledge or look up when another speaks a different language. Tension is rising within the state and outside resistance forces threaten to overwhelm the kingdom. Will Charlie’s secret come out?
Honestly, The Pledge reads more like fantasy than dystopia to me because I automatically associate queens with fantasy or history, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I love fantasy. Plus there is some magic involved, so I suppose Kimberly Derting genre hops quite a bit with her latest release. And I guess you could call this dystopia based on the constricting society.
I hate to say this, but The Pledge fell completely flat for me. I’m totally a character person and in this book I was so detached from the characters. I never felt close to Charlaina. I still don’t understand why her love interest, Max, was so interested in her, even after I’ve finished the book, it was never explained. While we see deeper depths with some characters, they never became truly 3D to me. And I wonder if this detachment is due to the breakneck pacing. I thought there was too much too soon in terms of plot. We got huge plot twisty events taking place in the span of two days? Honestly, I found myself a bit lost and confused at what was going on.
I will say the theme of language and a sort of Tower Of Babel reference is awesome, as we can see how language does stratify people today. Especially when there are these huge fights over teaching in Spanish and what not, and I liked that The Pledge caused me to think on that.
Also, a bonus with The Pledge, it looks like it is a standalone, there’s no numbers next to it on goodreads, so YAY.
In all, this book didn’t work for me, but maybe it would work for you.
Disclosure: Review copy obtained via GalleyGrab.