Received via: ARC - Simon & Schuster
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: November 15th, 2011
The Scoop: (Goodreads)
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.
As you no doubt read in the blurb, Charlie resides in Ludania, a country where they keep everyone divided into a rigid caste system. Like the age-old residents of Babel (as in Tower of), Ludania's citizens cannot understand any languages other than that of their caste and a universal language, except Charlie (natch, or we wouldn't have much of a story here...).
|Looks like somebody's been doing their homework...|
So, you know something's up the minute the mysterious Max comes on the scene and she can understand him although she's never heard the language before. Max (of course) is drawn to Charlie because she is so compelling. (I'm so over this device in YA novels.)
However, the day is saved (in terms of me not having a diabetic attack due to sappy overload) because Charlie doesn't immediately fall head over heels for Max just because he's dreamy. She makes him work for it and that's a good thing. If every teen girl starts taking a page out of most YA novels and falls for the first hot, creepy guy that is drawn (lusting) after them, we are in BIG trouble.
|The original Creeper was inexplicably drawn to ladies too...|
Charlie is a great FP (female protagonist) and has a good sense of responsibility and love for her family. I liked rebel leader, Xander's role and was wondering if a potential love triangle was going to pop up. Max for all of his instant-love-you-forever-sappiness eventually won me over and, by the end, I was happy with how his part of the story winded up.
Although, I'm sure, this book is just the beginning of a series, it really could have stood alone. You can see that there is room for more to tell, but I appreciate that Derting kept the novel intact instead of treating it as an Act I, as so many YA authors are doing lately. (I'm talking to you Varient! I loved you, but come on!)
|The end of this book just about put me on suicide watch...|
The pace was fire-quick and I was able to breeze through The Pledge with a quickness. The Pledge introduces us to an amazing and unique world. Derting has created a tale that I definitely want more of and her characters kept my attention at every turn. Bring on the sequel!
It's made of the same five ingredients every time, but still tastes good.