Author: Aimee Carter
Series: Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Genre: Teen Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Overview: 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.
I’ve noticed lately that it is more difficult for me to compose a review for a book that I really liked than one that I didn’t. In a 2 star review, all I have to do is focus on the facts and make it an impartial assessment of what did and didn’t work for me; but when I prepare a 4+ review, emotion enters the equation and I have to really push myself to keep it from being one long fangirl geekout. The thing is, I really want to do the book justice, describing exactly what I liked it so much, so I procrastinate… which is why you are getting this review now despite the fact that I finished Pawn ages ago.
Because I’ve taken so long to let this review percolate in my brain, I’ve been beaten to the punch by at least half a dozen other book bloggers (one’s that I’m following, obviously, because I’m sure countless others reviewed it before me, too). Eager to see what they thought, I was surprised to discover that most of them didn’t like Pawn nearly as much as I did. Many shared the objections that the characters were weak, the plot was thin, and the world needed more developing. What’s weird is that I can totally see why they felt that way about the book… but I still really liked it, anyway.
You see, despite the flaws, I truly loved the concept (a cool mesh of dystopian and a game of chess) for this story and thought the author told it with a great voice. It was one of those books that grabbed me right from the beginning and didn’t let up until the end. Carter introduced many difficult situations right off the bat in a way that showed the horrendous nature of this girl’s journey, but did so in a way that kept it light and age-appropriate (which I’ve come to understand is not nearly as important as it used to be). Anyway, all I have to say is, I dropped everything else I was reading to finish it, so that should speak for itself.
I do agree with my fellow bloggers in the sense that the characterization could’ve been a bit stronger. There were several events that I think affected me more profoundly than they did Kitty (the protagonist), which eventually made me resent her for not having more fight. To my eyes, she either had phenomenal survival sense… or was just plain callous. The side characters, on the other hand, had great motives (especially the villains) and I am eager to learn more about them because, as of yet, I feel we’ve only just scratched the surface.
If you think about the parameters of the world for too long, you will definitely notice some problems with it. However, because I liked the idea behind it so much, I was willing to overlook those issues in favor of just enjoying the story. It started out with this great momentum that you knew was building towards something epic. The trouble is, what I thought would’ve been turning point (and my favorite part of the book) was kind of skimmed over… leaving me feeling like if the author had taken a couple of days and really poured herself into the scene she would have had something truly special. It spoke to me of laziness (whether it actually was or not) and was really the only thing that knocked the book off its pedestal.
Overall, despite some issues, Pawn was still one of my favorite reads of the year. I even bought it in hardcover the day it came out.
Recommended Reading: I would recommend Pawn to people who like dystopians and don’t mind a slightly “fluffier” take on the genre.
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