Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Pledge

The Pledge is fairly typical as far as young adult dystopian novels go--teenager Charlie Hart lives in a North American world that was changed a few hundred years ago (though we're never told precisely how or why), and is now ruled by a Queen with some magical powers. In Charlie's world, it's the female line in the royal house which must inherit the throne, and the current Queen, Sabara, is fast approaching the end of her life without a girl to take over when she dies. But all that is far away from Charlie's day to day life as the daughter of a Vendor; her main concern is helping her parents in their restaurant and making sure she follows the intricate rules of language that separates the classes. On the surface, Charlie seems to be fairly typical, with her friends Aron and Brooklynn attending school, but actually Charlie has two major secrets she must make sure never come out: Charlie, despite no training, understands every language she hears, and her mute younger sister Angelina also has a very unique gift. Should either secret come to light, it would mean the gallows.

The writing is fast paced and Charlie's story moves along quickly when she allows Brooklynn to talk her into visiting an illicit club after hours one night. On top of a harrowing incident at her parents' restaurant, Charlie is further dismayed when she meets not one but two young men who seem to know more about her than she knows about herself. In a world where everyone knows his or her place, Charlie finds herself drawn further and further into a mystery that threatens to topple not only her own life but the lives of her family and friends. 

I really enjoyed The Pledge right up until the final few pages which seemed a bit forced as far as resolving the storyline. Charlie is very believable as a young woman unsure of herself yet determined to protect her sister at all costs, but her relationship with the mysterious Max found me stretching my limits of credibility. It was hard to understand how Charlie felt so strongly for a boy who mysteriously shows up and doesn't tell her who or what he is, appearing and disappearing randomly, but seemingly with very strong feelings for a girl he's never met. I did, however, like the equally secretive Xander, and the epilogue leaves room for a sequel. The deep bond between the sisters was the glue for the entire story as far as I'm concerned, and I'd love to see what happens in the future with all these characters. Overall, this is a good entry in the dystopian young adult genre, and I'll definitely look forward to reading more about this unique look at the future.


No comments: