Release Date: 15 November 2011
Series: The Pledge, #1
Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab
In the violent country of Ludania, the language you speak determines what class you are, and there are harsh punishments if you forget your place—looking a member of a higher class in the eye can result in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina (Charlie for short) can understand all languages, a dangerous ability she’s been hiding her whole life. Her only place of release is the drug-filled underground club scene, where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. There, she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy who speaks a language she’s never heard, and her secret is almost exposed. Through a series of violent upheavals, it becomes clear that Charlie herself is the key to forcing out the oppressive power structure of her kingdom…. (Summary from Goodreads)I absolutely love the cover! It's so dark and seductive, and I think it fits the story perfectly. I thought I would read this book slowly in my spare time, but once I picked it up I didn't want to put it down. I was thinking about the story and the characters even when the book wasn't in my hands.
There are so many amazing relationships in this book. Kimberly Derting didn't write about a dysfunctional family, but about people who genuinely loved and cared about one another. They were willing to sacrifice anything and everything for each other. The friendships weren't flimsy or wishy-washy, but meaningful and important. I really liked the bond between Charlie and her sister Angelina. They were so close they were able to communicate without words.
Charlie was a really great main character. At first she was scared, apprehensive, and confused. Later, she became more confident and less afraid. I really saw her growing throughout the book and becoming the person she needed to be at the end.
There wasn't really a love triangle in this book, and I felt like the romance came naturally. It wasn't something the author forced together; there was no "love at first sight." Like in any relationship, there are secrets and questions in the beginning, but I believe the push and pull of their relationship was believable and normal.
The story was incredible, I was caught off guard on more than one occasion, and the ending left me feeling satisfied. However, I am left with the knowledge that there is a lot that I still don't know, and I'm itching to find out what that is.