My breath is my pledge to worship my queen above all others.
My breath is my pledge to obey the laws of my country.
My breath is my pledge to respect my superiors.
My breath is my pledge to contribute to the progress of my class.
My breath is my pledge to report all who would do harm to my queen and country.
As I breathe, I pledge.
Those words, which are the heart of the novel’s events, hinting at what’s to come are also beautiful to read, a work of art in their own right that implies a story that is as well written as it is told.
I’ve been an avid reader my whole life, consuming books that range from historical fiction to my all time favorite Star Wars novels, but I’ve never read a book that was as well written as The Pledge. Not only is the grammar and sentence structure perfect, but Kimberly Derting is a master of the art of secret dropping–divulging just enough information to imply a fact without expressly stating it, a talent that had question after question piling up in my mind and kept me reading as much as the pace of the novel itself did.
I also found the concept behind The Pledge intriguing. A society divided not just by class, but by languages that can only be understood based on the class you were born into reminded me of the biblical Tower of Babel. But while in the latter God used the barrier of different languages to halt a monument to human arrogance, The Pledge uses the division of language as a means of controlling the masses–and the very thing which places the main character in danger.
Charlaina is of the Vendor class and as such, should only understand the language of her class and the universal language of Englaise. There’s just one problem: she can understand every language and it is this secret–artfully revealed–that causes all the trouble Charlaina finds herself in as well as the danger that threatens herself and everyone she knows.
Charlaina’s secret isn’t the only slow and well placed point. Characters, their motives and identities, and a plethora of other things are revealed in small doses strung out across the novel with such skill that I’m positively envious of what Kimberly Derting has done. Add to that twists and turns, cliffhanger chapters, and a final confrontation that keeps you on the edge of your seats, and The Pledge is a standout novel that keeps you engaged and guessing. In short, it’s hard to put down.
The Pledge is an interesting novel with fascinating and unique concepts, the lot of which I’ll love reading again and again. Alas, that will have to wait as I’m poised to read it’s successor–The Essence–and what to find out what happens to Charlaina next.
Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this novel and the quote from the book above is also not mine.