November 15, 2011
Margaret K. McElderry
Words are the most dangerous weapon of all.
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.
THE PLEDGE is a stunning YA debut that I didn't expect to fall so in love with. Rich and full of depth, THE PLEDGE isn't your average novel. It is full of secrets and lies galore that make it all the more complicated. Derting reveals the plot points at just the right times so you are able to understand what is going on. I was shocked at some of the developments that were revealed, even though there were little hints. Derting has proved herself with THE PLEDGE and I look forward to more from this intricately woven series.
Charlaine, or Charlie as her friends call her, has a deadly secret that only her family knows about. She is able to understand the language of any class, which is something no one can say. No one can know about her secret, for she fears what could possibly happen to her should they find out. In her society, you cannot speak or understand the language of the classes above you. When a higher class man speaks their language, those below them are not to meet their eyes. If they were to do such a thing, they are immediately put to death. Charlie's country is dark, dangerous, and a place that no one would want to inhabit.
Charlie is a serious and sincere girl with whom I could easily identify with. She is very special, and cannot reveal the most essential part of her to even her best friends. Charlie wishes she could confide in them, but knows that is not possible. The trials she faces in THE PLEDGE cause her to question her beliefs, and she faces some terrifying situations she never thought she would be in. She also finds out the true meaning behind her specialness, and I was shocked at what was revealed! There were little pieces of the puzzle here and there, but I could never seem to fit them together.
The side characters also have their own stories and secrets. The Queen is a merciless and horrible woman whose perspective readers are able to experience a few times. Her thoughts will shock and horrify you at the same time! Max, the mysterious boy that Charlie meets, is equally as complicated as Charlie. He has a huge secret he is keeping from Charlie, and it took me quite awhile to figure out what it was! He is also the tall, dark, and handsome guy who always seems to be there when Charlie needs him.
I am still running everything that happened through my head, long after finishing THE PLEDGE. I have fallen in love with Derting's world and I will be waiting on pins and needles for more from this series.