The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
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.
What a powerful, exhilarating, poignant experience of a novel! Hands down, my favorite dystopian this year.
Imagine a world in which language marks your rank. Your social standing decides your language. Lower ranked people--ones with different arrays of languages--are supposed to bow their heads and advert their eyes when any other languages above them are spoken. You don't understand what they are saying, so why would you look at them? Looking at people who stand higher than you is seen as an act of defiance, and could mean your life.
Then there's our MC, Charlie. Charlie can understand them all. Every language, every infliction. She gets them all. Why? Beats the heck out of me, she's just special.
Above all else, we have the queen. And of course, you guessed it, she's freakin' evil. Like sick. We even get some insights with "The Queen" chapters that made me shake my head at the actions and thoughts of that queen.
I LOVED this book. Like other dystopian novels, I was pleasantly surprised at how the author sees this world. I loved the new idea about how language decides your rank, and really your fate. The main character is a strong character, one I think everyone will be willing to root for.
Charlie goes about her days hiding her ability. Her ability to understand anyone, at any time, no matter what language. That right there decided the fate of this novel on my TBR list (how about yours?).
When Charlie hits up a club (an underground one, that is) she hears a language she's never heard before. Of course, since she's so awesome, her ability allows her to understand, but really, this is the turning point for the novel. We get to meet new characters that help shape the work, and we get to have nice, confusing battles with oneself on which guy to root for. (Though don't be confused that this is a love triangle. It isn't. Or well, I don't think it is. I hope it doesn't turn out to be. I'm confusing myself.)
Okay, not much I can really say that won't reveal like, everything.
I totally think that fans of Lauren Oliver's Delirium or even Veronica Roth's Divergent will enjoy this cool dystopian! 4/5 stars.