Book Review: The Pledge

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting. 2011.

In the country of Ludania, the language you speak determines your social class. If you forget your place, you will be harshly punished—or even killed. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina (Charlie) has spent her life trying to hide the fact that she can understand all languages. One false move could send her to her fate, which is why she must keep her ability a secret. Her life hangs in the balance the night she meets a mysterious boy named Max. He speaks a language she has never heard before..and she answers him.

The Pledge was one of those novels that really stayed with me long after I finished it. Partly it was the ending, because it left me hanging (and is meant to, because it is the first in a series). The other part was because the story in itself blew me away. I had never read anything like this before, and I was hooked from the very first page! Derting really made me feel as if I was a part of the story and that I had immediate connections to the cast of characters that she had created. Her gift of writing is spectacular as she brings small moments, specific emotions, and unique relationships to the written page.

One of the many fascinating elements of this novel is the Queen of Ludania. I have always been a fan of queens, especially evil ones! The Queen is dying, but she has magical powers that allow her to do many implausible things. I won’t go any further than that, since I want you to get the full story yourself. I will tell you that the prologue for this novel is one of my favorite introductions ever! Don’t miss it!

Max is one of the other characters that is a favorite of mine. Derting does a wonderful job of conjuring up the perfect male counterpart, and Max is definitely in my top five. I really enjoyed how he wasn’t your typical broody Edward-esque character that you usually see in YA literature. He is honest and sensitive, and he will do anything to protect those he cares about. One of the moments in the book that solidified my faith in him was when he left a note for Charlie that said: I pledge to keep you safe. Definitely a positive male character for teen girls to swoon over!

The Pledge is a novel that is unlike anything you have ever read. Derting manages to combine elements of fantasy, dystopia, history, and romance that will have you begging for more. She has also devised a futuristic twist on the fairy tale that is spellbinding yet utterly original. You are going to love it (because you know I did)!

Please tune in tomorrow to see my exclusive interview with the fabulous Kimberly Derting!

Kristin J.