Pawn by Aimee Carter (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
(Available December 2013)
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.
The ideas behind Pawn are the same ones behind almost every dystopian book out there, and it hasn’t got much to make it stick out. The ranking system and government is neatly explained and pretty simple, which is a point in the book’s favor, but its plot circles around itself constantly. It’s very predictable, but it doesn’t entirely lack excitement. The Harts are the perfect dastardly villains, without a shred of good in some of them. Carter succeeded in making me hate them and keeping me guessing at their true intentions. However, most of the excitement leads to a standoff almost identical to one a chapter ago. Kitty’s reaction is always the same, and always centered around her love for her boyfriend and her fear of death; she doesn’t change at all through the course of the book.
The premise of the book, while similar to a lot of others, wasn’t disappointing. The point of dystopia is to point out flaws in our own world by exaggerating them into a fictional one, and Carter hit the nail on the head there. The idea of false equality for everyone in society and the promise that hard work would lead to the life everyone deserves mirrors some of the ideas in our society, and that aspect of the book was fairly interesting.
The symbolism of the ranking system wasn’t enough to earn the book more than two stars, however. There are a lot of books with similar ideas behind them (the most similar would be Starters by Lissa Price) that are much better written, and I’d be more likely to recommend one of those.
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