Pawn by Aimee Carter
Pawn by Aimee Carter
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion (#1)
Genre: action, dystopia, science Fiction, Young Adult
Release: November, 26 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
GOODREADS || AUTHOR'S SITE
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.
Maybe it was the great hype off Twitter that got me, or maybe it was the synopsis that promised something fresh and exciting. I picked up PAWN and dove in pretty quickly expecting a new and engaging dystopia about a girl who takes the place of the Prime Minister’s daughter in a future dystopia. I should have known better. Really, I should have known given my previous experience with Carter’s THE GODDESS TEST and the increasingly overflowing dystopia market filled with 50 variations of the same book.
This book just didn’t cut it. It didn’t even come close to truly establishing itself from the overcrowded dystopian shelf. Instead, it read like a mish mash of tropes, of themes, and of previous books and movies, which is not the right way to stand out from the pack.
FACE OFF MEETS THE SELECTION
Have you ever seen the movie Face Off with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage? About the FBI agent or whatever who impersonates a bad guy by taking his face, only for the bad guy to get his face and then escape? And I bet you’ve at least heard of THE SELECTION, where a common girl is suddenly selected to be one of a bunch of teenagers competing to be the wife of the Prince?
Yeah, this book was basically those two mixed up. We follow Kitty, an extra (a second child to a lower caste family) who has been rated a III during her testing and assigned a lovely new job as a sewer cleaner in Denver. Except she’s madly in love with Benjy, an untested guy who is sure to get a VI and be rich and powerful. So she decides to become a prostitute, only to be bought her first night by the Prime Minister and Masked (see: plot to Face Off) to replace his niece, Lila, who was supposedly murdered to keep her rebellion against the castes quiet.
Things happen, secrets are revealed, and we get a genre-typical ending. Not once does this book stand out from the crowd, except by having a heroine with a unique problem (dyslexia) and being strangely exciting when the sh*t hits the fan in ridiculous ways.
STEREOTYPICAL VILLAIN FOR THE WIN
Where this book failed the most for me, though, was the fact that the characters as a whole never came alive, except for our heroine Kitty. She came alive for the sole fact she was a revolving door of naïve thoughts followed by knowing more than any teenager would just by guessing. Our villains, Prime Minister Daxtor Hart and his mother Augusta, are the typical villains of Law and Order – the ones that happily admit their evil plots, their evil plans, and their evil machinations to our heroine, simply because they can, or to rub it in his face.
I liked that Kitty was dyslexic, but I couldn’t truly believe that she could get away with so much of what she did with her inability to read. From memorizing speeches that would make Shakespearean actors proud in the space of a few hours to punching in codes to free people, it just felt off considering the emphasis placed on the fact she can’t read. Beyond her, characters such as Knox and Benjy were never fleshed out well, other than Knox being creepy and Benjy being weirdly accepting of his one true love turning into a basic clone of a famous girl.
But hey, you know what this book had going for it? When the reveals started flying, it got weirdly entertaining in the sense that you don’t know what crap is going to revealed next. Now that’s fun stuff.
VERDICT: Falling short on every level, PAWN is another entry into a crowded genre that doesn’t stand out in any way. Skip it.