Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Pledge #1
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: November 15. 2011
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.
I’m going to admit it! I was afraid that I might not like The Pledge, so I became Ms. Procrastination when it came to reading it. Now, I can honestly say that I had nothing to be afraid of – I actually really liked it. I wasn’t quite sure about the whole language thing at first, it was a unique concept. Different classes of people can only speak and understand their specific language, except Englaise, which is universal – that seemed a little weird at first. I’m glad I finally read it, and stuck with it.
I really liked Charlie. She’s born into the Vendor class, so the only language she should be able to understand is Parshon. Turns out she can understand ANY language, no matter how old, new, no longer used, whatever…. if it’s language, she can understand it. No one knows about her ability, except her family, and if anyone else found out, she could be killed.
I liked that Charlie wasn’t exactly a “goodie-goodie” type of girl. It’s not like she was a total rebellious, bad girl, but she did go out to the seedy underground clubs with her best friend, Brook. Speaking of Brook, wow.. I can’t even tell you how back-and-forth I went about her. Ultimately, I really loved her. One moment when I really felt a connection with her, was when Charlie told the story of how Brook talked her into cutting her hair and why. I about died laughing, because my friend and I did the same thing when we were in 5th grade. Good times. There were a lot of other great characters in The Pledge, like Max – yum. He came off a tad on the creepy side at first, but quickly grew on me.
It was a little difficult to know who to trust in this book, and I really liked that. I think I had doubts pretty much about everyone at one point in the story. It’s nice when a book can keep you guessing, and isn’t so predictable. And I love that there were “queendoms” instead of “kingdoms.” I didn’t necessarily like Queen Sabara, but I loved that the women held the power.
Overall, The Pledge was a pretty good book. I’m actually looking forward to the second book, and won’t procrastinate when it comes to reading it.