December 23, 2013

Review: Pawn

It has been over a month since I blogged about a book. Yikes! I could blame it on the devastation of ‘Allegiant,’ but the truth is that my life as an AP Language teacher took over my time—and my brain—and now that I am on break, I hope to get a few ducks in a row to keep this a bit more up-to-date.

My first blog back is on one of my favorite genres, dystopia. I really enjoyed the storytelling of this novel, and it has become one of my favorite reads of 2013.

Title: ‘Pawn’
Author: Aimee Carter
Pages: 352
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Available: NOW
Source: requested from Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads):


For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked - surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed, and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

My Thoughts:

I love a good dystopian tale. There are so many on the market now, and some are very high quality storytelling while others are not, so when I find a new one, I always begin my reading with caution.

A few things I look for in a good dystopian novel: fast-pace plot, strong characters, a surprise twist I do not see coming.

This book had all three.

Some novels like to walk readers into the plot, to make us work for what is to come, but that is not the case with ‘Pawn.’ We are thrown in immediately, like ‘The Hunger Games.’ (I know a lot of people compare books to THG, but there is a reason. If a reader is a fan and is looking for another read that is as comparable, this is the best analogy to give.)

The first chapter mirrors the same pacing of THG—we are introduced to our main heroine, her plights in life, and then BAM! We are thrown into the overall plot. It is fast. It is horrific. It is wonderful.

And by wonderful, I mean the pacing. There was no wait for this novel. There was no “working for it.” There was just plot. And it was fast.

Then there is Kitty, this novel’s star. She owns this plot, period. I always felt like in THG Peeta and Gale hijacked the story, but not with this novel. It is Kitty’s world—and we are just reading about it.

What I love about her character is her strength in herself. She is an orphan. A nobody in the new world. She is also a level III for one simple reason: she cannot read. (Even in a dystopian world reading trumps in society.) This is a part of the novel that I really enjoyed because it reminded me of ‘The Reader,’ and it reminds readers that reading can save lives.

But back to Kitty. I really enjoyed getting to know her character, and I am curious to see where Carter takes us next with her. She is ferocious on the page, willing to do what she needs to do to survive and protect those she loves. There is a distinct difference between her character and that of other dystopian heroines, especially Katniss—Kitty is likeable. By likeable, I mean she seems like she could be one of our friends. In many dystopian novels it seems the heroines are so broken that being “friends” with them seems impossible.

But I could see myself hanging with Kitty.

And then of course there is a surprise twist. That is all I have to say about that. While some may say the twist was predictable, I didn’t see it coming, and it can be hard to “trick” me because I’m pretty good at seeing where an author is taking the story.

Not the case here. Carter has left the door open to many different possibilities, and I like it.

This book is for the dystopian lover in your life, period. It would also make a fabulous gift under the tree. Nothing says Christmas like a novel about a broken America where people are forced into living in the “categorical number” they are yielded by the government. I kid. But not really.

What’s the best dystopian novel you’ve read lately?

Comment below and let’s talk about books.
Happy Reading!

-      The Hodgenator

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