The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

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

My breath is my pledge to worship my queen above all others. 

In a world separated by socioeconomic barriers, language and class. But for Charlaina, she has always been different, far beyond the stereotypical roles the queens society. Rumor has it, that the queen is coming to the end of her reign, in an era of civil unrest. The revolution has been on the rise, citizens that detest the queen and her imposed way of life or lack thereof, while the war brews within the borders of their own country.

The throne has always belonged to the magically charged women of the royal family, the title passed down from each generation to the next female to inherit. The queen needs to find the lost princess of generations removed, only then can she transfer her essence, discarding her frail and failing body. But with the underground rebellion gaining strength, time is dwindling.

Max is a servant of the queen, working as a guard within the military. From the moment he sees Charlie being berated by an upper caste girl in her parents restaurant, he is intrigued by how she seems to understand a language other than her own. Charlie could have been put to death for her mistake, not lowering her head when upper casts are speaking in their native tongue, rather than the universal Englaise language. Public executions were not uncommon, queen Sabara rules with a cruel, firm hand.

The rebellion has amassed a support of thousands, fighting the injustice of segregation and the queen is determined to send every last traitor to death. When sirens pierce the silence of night, the attack on the capitol brings all citizens together, seeking refuge in the city's bomb shelters and underground tunnels. With the promise to keep four year old sister Angelina safe, Charlie flees to safety, with Max hot on their heels. She can't risk exposing secret to anyone, not even at the protection of Max, who has an explosive secret of his own. In a sinister twist, the queen has plans for the heir to the throne and is quickly closing in, but when Charlie realises that her parents have been taken, her best friend tortured, she has no option than to comply. But will she pledge her allegiance to her queen?

The Pledge was a magical blend of dystopian and the paranormal, where citizens are segregated and ruled with an iron fist. They are monitored using passport scanners and armed guards throughout the city. The law is cruel and unjust and punishable by public hanging, especially related to the rebellion with family members turning in their own. Charlie was not only likable, she was endearing. I loved the addition of younger sister Angelina, she was a beacon of innocence within the war ravaged word Charlie lives in.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and looking forward to continuing with the series. In comparison to Kimberly Derting's body finder series, The Pledge was fantastic, my only regret is that I hadn't read it sooner.

The Pledge
(The Pledge: Book One)
Written By Kimberly Derting
Published 15 / 11 / 2011
338 Pages

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