Title: The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: October 2011
Format: E-Book - PDF
Genre: Dystopia / YA
Source: ARC from Galley-Grab
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. (Goodreads Synopsis)
I received this fairy-tale dystopia via Simon and Schuster's Galley Grab and I found it an enjoyable read.
There is not a great deal of depth to this piece and it is a little predictable at times, but I liked the character of Charlie and was drawn into her story and her world, eager to find out what would happen to her. There is not a great deal of time for fleshing out most of the characters, but the main figures come across well and there is enough growth with Charlie's character to hold the reader's interest.
As a linguist, the idea of language as a class marker was interesting to me and I thought that it worked well in Derting's world-building. The story was original and engaging despite some obvious twists and overall it held my interest throughout.
Worth a read for YA fans.