The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Book: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting, Margaret K. McElderry, November 15, 2011

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian / Fantasy

Series: Book 1 of the Pledge trilogy

Format/pages: eGalley provided by Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab, available in Hardcover (320 pages)

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

More Reviews: Goodreads

Buy the Book: Amazon

Synopsis from 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.

The Pledge is the first book in a new dystopian series by Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder). The concept is interesting and fast paced enough that I read it in one sitting, and the story’s fantasy elements set it apart from other YA dystopian books. The imaginative story is entertaining and full of adventure, which made for a pleasant fast read even though some of the character insight and dystopian world building details were sometimes lacking. I did enjoy it as much as The Body Finder series though, and especially the royalty / fantasy parts of the story.

The series opener introduces a cool concept in which the citizens of Ludania are separated by a language barrier according to class. Learning another class’s language or even looking another class member in the eye in acknowledgement of their language is a crime punishable by death. The ruler, Evil Queen Sabara, uses some fancy magic that keeps her around forever to continue to torment the citizens of Ludania. The heroine Charlaina (Charlie) is born with the talent to understand all languages. Her parents have asked to keep her talent under wraps to keep her safe and to keep a watchful eye over her gifted younger sis Angelina. Her secret is exposed when she meets Max and he recognizes she can understand his unusual language. This starts a sequence of events that cause Charlie’s world to turn upside down.

There are multiple character POV’s in the book, with Max and another character Xander sharing the spotlight with Charlie. Several other side characters are introduced, including a couple other potential love interests for Charlie, which made it hard to buy into the Max and Charlie romance completely. The side characters are somewhat lost in the shuffle of the fast moving plot. With so much action in the book, I hoped for a breather that would allow more focus on the magical origins and Queen Sabara.

The series has a lot of potential, and I’ll be interested to see where it goes, though it seems a bit twisted considering the epilogue. I would recommend this book to fans of the author’s writing, and those looking for something different in the dystopian category. The Pledge is available in stores today. You can read an excerpt of the book on the Simon & Schuster book page here.


10 thoughts on “The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

  1. This is on my to-read list 🙂

    1. Lucy says:

      Hope you enjoy it!

  2. Hate that it isn’t over the top awesome. But will still have to read. Love Kimberly Derting. I didn’t realize it was a dystopian.

    1. Lucy says:

      Can’t wait to hear what you think of it, Amy. I did like it at least as much as The Body Finder. I would consider it dystopian-light.

  3. Amber Hughes says:

    This is on my TBR list 🙂 I really like her Body Finder series, so I was really interested in reading this one too! I didn’t realize it was the start of a trilogy. How did I miss that? LOL! All this time I thought it was a stand alone. Good to know it continues! 🙂

    1. Lucy says:

      There’s a lot of story packed in this book, and the ending is satisfying on it’s own. We’ll see where the story goes with the next book. I still need to read the second book in the Body Finder series.

  4. bookchelle says:

    I thought I had this book somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. I think I’ll just pick it up based from your review alone. I’m not curious at how the storyline plays out, although I’m not really a big fan of multiple POVs.

    Thanks for the great review! I’ll make sure to add it to my TBR list.

    1. Lucy says:

      The majority of the book is told from Charlie’s perspective, with just a few chapters told in Max and Xander’s POV.
      Hope you enjoy it when you get the chance to read it 🙂

  5. I’m reading this one soon. I wasn’t overly blown away by the synopsis for some reason, but I’m still definitely going to read it.

  6. […] “The imaginative story is entertaining and full of adventure, which made for a pleasant fast read even though some of the character insight and dystopian world building details were sometimes lacking.” The Reading Date […]

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