Sunday, November 06, 2011

Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

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.

My Rating: 2 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: I rarely get excited about reading dystopian novels before they’ve garnered a lot of positive reviews, but I instantly put The Pledge on my wishlist back when I first heard about it because it was going to be written by Kimberly Derting, the author of The Body Finder series. After reading The Pledge though, it’s hard for me to believe that it’s written by the same author because the worldbuilding was weak, the characters were flat and the romance … *shakes head*

While I thought it was really interesting to segregate people based on language and it’s not hard to imagine a dystopian world being created when the use of language is governed, Derting’s eventual explanation for why Charlie has the ability to speak and understand any language is pretty sketchy and didn’t sit well with my scientific mind because babies actually have the potential to learn every single language (if they’re exposed to them all on a regular basis). The reason given by Derting for Charlie’s ability therefore isn’t based on anything rational and simply makes the book veer towards fantasy than dystopian. Moreover, this made it hard for me to realistically consider Charlie’s powers (unlike her sister Angelina’s) to be something worthwhile to have.

I also couldn’t really connect with Charlie nor did she particularly fascinate me, especially once Max entered the picture and she began obsessing about him. The romance was blatantly an insta-love situation and I saw no reason for why Max would be interested in Charlie other than because of who she is. I actually scoffed and rolled my eyes when Max told Charlie that he would have found a way to be with her even if she was a servant’s daughter because given who he is, it would have been pretty much impossible for her to catch his eye if she was just a normal girl.

In terms of the ending, The Pledge has no cliffhanger and concludes with a satisfying (but predictable) epilogue. Since the book is part of a series though, I’m wondering where Derting plans to go from here because The Pledge’s plot and the way it ends seems much more appropriate for a standalone novel. 

The Pledge will be released by Margaret K. McElderry Books on November 15, 2011.

Comments About the Cover: Charlie is constantly trying to keep a low profile so I feel like the cover represents that well.

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Simon and Schuster) for free via Galley Grab.


  1. Hello my dear!!
    thanks Lord you visited my blog! since I changed template, I had to add, once again, all of the blogs in my blog roll and I knew I was missing some but couldnt remember which one! It was yours! I might be forgetting some other too, though I dont remember >_</ Now you are back in my blog roll!. About my updates in your blogroll... I have no idea! is it just me? or does it happens with the other blogs as well? sniff!! Im gonna see in my dashboard what can I do about it.

    About The Pledge.. hell! I have read awesome revirs about it but yours is the first that doesnt really tell me wonders about this book. Always good to have a different opinion. THough I hope I wont be deceived by the romance! aaah!!! great review ! ^.^

  2. OH wow I have a really similar review - opinion wise. I'll be posting it next week - though it's on my Goodreads. But I agree with it all. The characters really fell flat for me. Gah. I was also really excited for it.

    Xpresso Reads

  3. Dude, you hit it right on the spot.

    Been anticipating this book ever since I heard the news about it. But ugh, what a disappointment! I hate to think that Derting's writing has turned from awesome (The Body Finder) to good (Desires of the Dead) to meh (The Pledge). I hope she gets back to awesome again.

  4. Oh dear I have no idea what's wrong! I check in a friend's blog and my blog is also stuck in TImepiece's post. That was ages ago!! sniff!! Im trying to see what's wrong. =( but nothing really works sniff!! thanks for letting me know! sniff!

  5. DEAAAAR! I fixed it! I fixed it!!! it was the freaking feedburner! =D wooohoooo!! thanks so much for letting me know!! =D thanks lord you noticed it ^^

  6. I'm a little shocked to hear this since I loved The Body Finder books.

  7. Oh no! I've been reading more mixed reviews lately for The Pledge but I'd been hoping you would like it more. *sad face* I'll be reading The Pedge, but I'm lessening my expectations in case the book doesn't live up to my expectations... Thanks for the honest review, Zahida!

  8. Oh thank goodness. Well, not really, but I had just decided the other day that I was going to let this one expire un-read because I don't have enough time to read it now and I'm not dying to read it anyway. You just made me feel a lot better about that decision. Except, it's sad the book wasn't very good :( Poor explanations for "scientific" things bothers me a lot and I'm no fan of insta love.

  9. I felt a bit guilty of letting this one expire from the galley grab, but the more reviews I've been reading about it I'm getting less and less excited for it. I think I'll wait for it. Thanks for your honest review!

  10. Shoot! I had such high hopes for this based on the fabulous romance between Violet and Jay, I figured we'd at least have something similarly well-done in this one. I'm still going to be picking this one up, but it's good to know some of the things that bothered you ahead of time, thanks Zahida!

  11. I, too, was looking forward to this one, but no more, which is sad. I can always count on you to point out the scientific inaccuracies! Because they always annoy the heck out of me too.

  12. I love this cover. I also really loved your honest review. Helps me to know what to be prepared for when I pick up this book!

  13. oh no! A shake head romance... no bueno.

    From the way you've described this book, it reminds me a lot of Drought, which I was also really disappointed with because the explanation of why one girl would have such an extraordinary ability was weak and weird. And the romance was much the same too, an insta-love that was rather emotionless. So yeah, I'm gonna have to skip out on this one and maybe just try The Body Finder instead. :)


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