The Pledge by Kimberly Derting Book Review

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?

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting Book Cover

The Pledge

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.

Other Reviews of The Pledge by Kimberly Derting:

Presenting Lenore
The Allure Of Books

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I just got this on GalleyGrab. I really liked The Body Finder so I’m sorry to hear that this one disappointed you. I admit that I am not a fan of the main character’s name and the synopsis didn’t sound as thrilling as say, Divergent or Across the Universe.
    Language differences can be divisive in countries-it has been a factor in wars like the civil war in my parents’ homeland of Sri Lanka. I am intrigued by the Tower of Babel concept and I’m glad it at least made you think about language issues in the U.S. today even if the story was flawed. Great review!

    • I can see that, how it would be divisive and cause civil wars. I mean, if one can’t communicate, then sure it seems fighting would result.

      And just because I didn’t love it doesn’t mean you won’t. I’d say it’s worth a shot because you never know.

  2. I definitely think the plot overshadows the characters to the point that the book basically fails. I wish we’d enjoyed it more!

  3. Love that you pointed out that this reads more like a fantasy. After a more detailed summary, it really does sound more fantastical than dystopian.

    I kind of want to read this one, but her other books weren’t really winners for me so I’d have to think about it. Did you like her other books by any chance?

    I’m happy to hear that this is a standalone though. So I’m guessing that the ending was tied up enough.

    Thanks for the review, even if you didn’t end up loving this one.

  4. Blah, I got this through galleygrab too…Was hoping for a better review! I still may check it out…and I for sure like that you say it leans more toward fantasy than dystopian. I’m more in the mood for that at the moment…

  5. I haven’t heard of this book. Interesting premise, but it’s hard to connect with a story when you can’t relate to the characters.

  6. Oooh, I’m a character person myself. Sorry it fell flat–that is so disappointing. Still I want to give it a try. I like the concept of the languages and I DIG a fantasy and a dystopian. So if they are sort of mashed up, maybe I’ll like it. I don’t know. But I love your thoughts and I love your honesty.

  7. Bummed to hear it fell flat. I loved her other books and was looking forward to this one.

  8. Hiya! I stumbled across your review while blogging. I got The Pledge from Galley Grab too, and I wished you’d enjoyed the novel more, I simply loved it. I agree with you about the relationship between Max and Charlie, and the slightly flat character of Charlie. And fyi, The Pledge is the first of a trilogy. Looks like we still have a lot of reading to do.

  9. I actually loved the book. id say give it a chance(:

  10. Biggest plus was that it was a standalone. This review is even funnier in hindsight.

    Also, what’s up with previous commenter telling you to give the book a chance? You read the whole thing, so how can you give it more of a chance?


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