So I just finished reading Kimberly Derting’s The Pledge. It’s another dystopian novel, but what made this one unique was its element of magic. I thought that gave it something extra and helped set it apart from everything that’s out there right now. I really enjoyed this book.
Here’s the skinny on The Pledge: Charlie lives in a dystopian society where a queen always rules. And for the last–well, for a really long time, the same woman has ruled. She just transfers her Essence to the next female heir, but it’s still the same super-mean evil queen. Problem: There is currently no female heir. So not only is the mean queen fighting an uprising of revolutionaries, she’s also hunting for an heir. A family of royal descent that’s in hiding.
Charlie doesn’t realize that she herself is a princess in hiding.
As I mentioned, the element of magic is unique. I also liked Charlie’s character. She loves her family, she knows her place but she wants to fight the system, she’s loyal to her friends. However, the romance aspect felt sort of rushed to me and not all that different from what we’ve seen in this genre. She meets Max and, of course, immediately is obsessed with him. I did think Max was an interesting character and he proves to be even more interesting and has some depth, so that was good. To be honest, I feel like there’s a trend in YA fiction like this that portrays girls as always weak when it comes to guys. We keep seeing girls obsess over guys, get all weak-kneed and dreamy, make decisions that revolve around being near a guy or being touched by a guy–I’m just not crazy about this. I’d like to see more female characters show some strength. Very often in these books, the guys come across as having way more self-control than the girls. I don’t think that’s realistic or fair. I do realize these are teenage characters, so maybe it’s not all that unrealistic for them to be obsessive–but I think it would be great to see some girls who have at least as much self-control as the boys. Maybe this trend goes back to Bella and Edward–that’s the epitome of a girl obsessing over a boy to the point where she wants to die without him. I don’t mind a little of that sort of drama, but I prefer to see stronger female characters.
Part of what I thought was interesting about The Pledge was the role of the queen. Male heirs have no standing and are treated with indifference. It’s all about the girls. I thought was a unique, refreshing element. It’s the female heirs who have special powers. While that was very cool–I just wish that Charlie hadn’t been quite so predictable when it came to her immediate attraction and obsession with Max.
The Pledge wraps up well, leaving room for a sequel but not making it absolutely necessary. The pacing is great; it’s a page-turner and a very easy, fast read. An enjoyable book for dystopian fans. 🙂