Book Brats Reviews

Pawn by Aimee Carter

pawn aimee carter coverPawn by
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion (#1)
Genre: , , ,
Release: November, 26 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
346 pages
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ♥♥

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.


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.


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.


Megan (246 Posts)

Megan is the founder of Book Brats, started as an unemployment project in June 2011. She's a twentysomething writer/reader/all around nerd with a love of cats, science fiction, fantasy, and film. With her master's degree, her goal is to one day be the US Ambassador to Japan and win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

Dec, 01 by

2 thoughts on “Pawn by Aimee Carter

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  1. I keep seeing so many mixed reviews for this, and I keep changing my mind on if I want to read it or not. I just finished a really good dystopian, which is hard for me to find since I’m getting sick of them, but I’m thinking I might just skip this book after all. I have so many good ones waiting! Thanks for reviewing.

  2. I think the best thing this book had promised was the “stop a rebellion or join it” plot, which never really got off the ground. The rebellion had minimal page time and wasn’t fleshed out at all. :(