Kimberley Derting is well known for her Body Finder series, but in her next series she brings something very different. The Pledge is a YA fantasy series, in a dystopian land controlled by female queens.
There is a very strict class system, with each class having it’s own language. To look at someone in a higher class when they are using their own language can result in death. Charlaina has a special ‘gift’ which means that she can understand every language, something she obviously has to be very careful to keep hidden.
In addition to this, there’s a magical element. The ruling queen has actually reigned for many hundreds of years, each time persuading a daughter to accept her soul. This has now come to an end, as there are no daughters, and male heirs mean nothing, and cannot inherit.
Charlaina’s life appears normal when we first meet her, apart from her ability – she has friends, attends school, puts up with bullying and helps her parents. This all begins to change when she’s taken to an underground club by her friend, and when she overhears Max, who speaks a language she’s never heard before.
From here, things soon change, and Kimberley has produced a fast paced story full of surprises. There’s a gentle romance story, but also some powerful scenes of war as things break down.
For me, the star of the book is Charlaina’s young sister, Angelina, as she’s just adorable.. and the relationship between the two sisters is powerful and heart-warming. It’s suggested that she’ll play a bigger role in the second book, so I’m hoping.
The story is complete in itself, but it’s also the first part in a trilogy – there’s a slightly darker feel towards the end of the book, and Kimberley has said there’s more darkness to come. The only thing I really struggled with was the combination of dystopia and magic, because they are two genres I’ve not seen together. The magical element is however necessary for the story progression, and I think it’ll seem much more natural by book two.
Kimberley Derting now offers two very different series for the YA market, both of which I feel can be enjoyed by older adults too. With the genres of thriller and now fantasy covered, I wonder what she’ll bring us next!
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