PAWN (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1)

Author: Aimée Carter
Rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: YA Dystopia
Format: Digital ARC
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Recommended Reading: 15+

Contains No Spoilers

Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

THE GIST: This concept was quite clever, and while I was put off by certain aspects, it was interesting and I enjoyed most of the characters. Carter’s best quality was her world-building, as I found it very easy to picture. Some characters may have fallen a tiny bit short of the mark, but I liked them, and that goes a long way with me.

SYNOPSIS: YOU CAN BE A VII IF YOU GIVE UP EVERYTHING. 

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.

BREAKDOWN: I read a LOT of YA dystopian, and I must admit, it’s getting hard to really blow me away, but it can be done. In this case, it didn’t, but there are still good merits to this book. First, and most especially,  the world-building. As I stated, this was Pawn’s best feature. Author Aimee Carter’s picture painting was spot on; I had very vivid images of all the scenes and settings. I also enjoyed the variety of settings, as some stories tend to have a bunch of settings that are all variations on one another. Carter’s world was rich, well-developed, and diverse.

The story follows a 17-year-old girl named Kitty Doe. She’s one of society’s lesser ranked individuals without a lot of promise, or any for that matter, but she’s given the opportunity to jump to the very top of society’s hierarchy… but at a great cost. Kitty represents the nobodies, the uneducated, and the hopeless, which makes her journey compelling. However, there were some drawbacks in her story that were a little hard for me to get past. There was a sequence early in the book dealing with Kitty’s sexuality that I found appalling, not necessarily because it wasn’t believable, it was, but Kitty’s nonchalance toward the heavy subject matter was disappointing.

Kitty’s boyfriend, Benjy, is better off than she is. He’s smarter and has a much more promising future. I can’t exactly say he was swoon-worthy, this wasn’t quite that kind of story, but he was undyingly loyal to Kitty, and he was a steady figure in the parts of the story he was present. Sadly, though, he was the one character that didn’t really have an arc.

Other characters were much better executed. Characters such as Knox, Celia, Augusta and another character that I can’t name without spoiling anything, were all impressively characterized throughout the course of the book. For that, I say well-done. And for the record, that secret someone who shows up in the latter part of the book was perhaps the most impressive and surprising character, developmentally speaking, not because he/she was wonderful, but because he/she defied the expectation.

I would’ve liked to have seen more dimension in Benjy and more compunction in Kitty. It also would’ve been a bit more satisfying with a little more action and heart-pounding tension. While the world-building was great, the characters were mostly good, the story itself was a bit underwhelming. For that reason, I’m not sure if I’ll read the sequels or not, but if you’re a fan of the genre, you should decide for yourself!

FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, I thought this was an entertaining take on a popular genre. While I had some complaints, I’d say this book was original and worth the read.

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