Bookit Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting (Guest Post!)

I picked this title up when it was returned by one our avid teen readers. I don’t know how she has time to do anything but read with all the books she takes out. Oh what a life! I am jealous.



From 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.

This book is described as a dystopian fiction novel, but it also ventures into the fantasy realm. Seventeen year old Charlie, nicknamed Chuck by her best friend Brook, lives in a world of hierarchy classes ruled by an evil queen with magical powers. I am a fan of both genres, but for those of you who prefer high-tech gadgets and more scientific explanations of the future you will find this text lacking. The dystopian aspects come in the form of mandatory ID badges and ranks, armed checkpoints, underground clubs and rebel hideouts. These aspects converge with the historical storyline of fallen kingdoms, anarchy, castle ruins, and Charlie’s quest to discover more about herself and her family. Charlie’s innate secret power to comprehend all forms of communication (from verbal and body language to ancient pictographs) is a blessing and curse.  When a war fuelled by rebels and outcasts breaches Charlie’s door-step, she is forced to re-evaluate the safety of the life she has always known and her own ideological beliefs.

Overall I liked the storyline of the book because it was fast paced and contained many of the genre elements I enjoy. Thus, it was a quick interesting read. However, it did not rock my socks off. I found some of the character relationships and story plot decisions not fully explained or rationalized. Although, Charlie posses this special communication power that should give her the ability to easily understand others, she discovers that her best friend and her own family has hidden many secrets from her. Also Max claims not to be interested in her because of her ability, but no other explanations are given, and their romantic relationship heats up quickly despite her inability to uncover the mystery of his intentions. Furthermore, the explanation as to why a ruling female monarch is deemed necessary in order for the country to live happily ever after is filled with wholes of inquisition.

After finishing the book I flipped to the front and read the acknowledgments. There I discovered that the premise for The Pledge and the character Angelina, Charlie’s little sister, came from the survival stories of a woman who lived through WWII as a child and had shared many of her experiences with the author. This real world connection can be used to bridge this book with other young adult war stories, and even create conversation about comparisons between Charlie’s world and our own. I was really glad my eyes feel upon this tiny portion of the book, and in the future I will definitely make sure I don’t just skim the acknowledgement section. You never know what you might find out, and where the inspiration for a story comes from.

I give it 3 out of 5 J

Happy reading,


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. The Nate Gatsby
    Feb 18, 2012 @ 02:55:13

    Not my kind of book, but thanks for the review.I was interested in seeing if it was about the movie called the pledge that came out in the 90’s I think.


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