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.I had been wanting to read a Kimberly Derting book for the longest time and this was my first book by her. I read a few mixed reviews on The Pledge but in the end I really enjoyed it.
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.
The main character, Charlaina, can understand all the languages spoken in her country, even ones she isn't supposed to know. I thought she was an average heroine. Aside from her language ability, there was nothing really amazing about Charlie but, surprisingly, that didn't bother me. Maybe I was just too invested in the plot of the story and all the things that were going on. The same thing with Max. He is just there and likable and there is just this mysterious and intriguing air about him. There is a lot more to him than meets the eye. The secondary characters were really enjoyable. Charlaina's best friends, Brook and Aron were there when she needed them. I thought Aron was the sweetest ever :) but Charlaina's sister was by far my favorite secondary character. Then there was the queen *shivers* The queen was a great villain and I'm pretty sure I will be having nightmares of her for a very long time. Her character is just so remorseless and to me that's what made the queen even more terrifying.
The actual concept of the book was fascinating. I love languages so even when I first heard about this book I was dying to get my hands on it. The idea of a caste system based on the language you speak was really interesting to read about. I also really loved the world, especially the underground clubs. To me, some of the "twists" of the book were sort of predictable but I'm pretty good at finding things out before you're supposed to. The book is broken up into different perspectives but there is no order to the perspectives. Don't let this deter you from reading this book. The story really flows and is packed with action and the ending just made me shiver. I will definitely be looking forward to the second book!
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