Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fantastic Fairytales - The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Published: November 2011
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books
Pages: 323
Copy: Library
Summary: 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.

Ok, so I realise some of you are thinking why has Curlypow put The Pledge in as one of the Fantastic Fairytales, but really I think that Ms Derting has written a marvellous, modern, dystopian fairy tale with a little bit of a fantasy twist.  It has all the best parts of a fairy tale - the wicked queen being one of them.  It's a sort of rags to riches tale with the setting being an almost generic dystopian city.  There are certain hints that the 'queendoms' could be the various no-longer-united States of America - but I freely admit that I could be totally imagining that bit. 

Charlie is a good kid with a gift that she has to hide from everyone, or risk being summarily executed - good incentive right?  She is an affectionate and caring big sister, a great friend and an all round wonderful character.  Her best friend Brook is as shallow as they come, but as the story progresses we see a depth to her character that has been skillfully hidden.  Max, well he's just gorgeous.  I loved the mystery that surrounded him and the way that he tries to protect Charlie. 

This is one of the kind of stories that I really can't tell you more about without giving away major spoilers, but it is exciting, mysterious, romantic and just plain fun.  I loved every minute of it and I'm even sorrier now that I didn't have the chance to finish it when I had access to the ARC.   I'm now waiting impatiently for the second book in the series to come out. A great start to your new series Ms Derting, thank you.

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