by Aimée Carter
To be published by Harlequin Teen
on November 25, 2013
Source: thanks to Harlequin for providing me an e-ARC via NetGalley
Connect with the author: website | Twitter | Facebook.
Summary from Goodreads: 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.My thoughts: Despite my extreme dystopian burn-out, I still managed to muster up a surprising amount of enthusiasm for Pawn. Twisty and well-plotted, it kept my interest from the first page to the last.
Perhaps because I've read so many dystopians in the past four or five years, Pawn felt to me like a mash-up of many familiar dystopian tropes: numeric tattoos out of XVI by Julia Karr, the forced abandonment of a loyal boyfriend from The Selection, doppelgänger action out of Linked by Imogen Howson, Dualed by Elsie Chapman, Tandem by Anna Jarzab, and Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna; and murder for sport out of The Hunger Games.
But a good mash-up can be a very good thing, and Pawn does a fine job of mashing and re-mixing. And despite the very familiar tropes, the book featured plenty of plot twists and turns that kept me guessing. There's a ton of scheming by some truly evil characters that seemed straight out of a nighttime TV drama like Revenge or House of Cards.
Kitty is a very appealing main character, though I found Benjy, her love interest, kind of bland. The book's world-building is pretty hand-wavy, not really explaining how the United States ended up with both a caste system and a prime minister. And by the end of the book, there was so much double-crossing and triple-crossing that my head began to spin -- to me, there was too much stuff backloaded into the last few chapters. I think this kind of story (the kind where most of the characters are either amoral or downright evil) needs at least one character to serve as a moral compass. In Pawn, there was only one character that filled this role for me, and it wasn't Kitty!
But Pawn was definitely an enjoyable read. If you're also burned out by dystopians, you still might enjoy this. And if you are still loving the dystopian genre, you should definitely check Pawn out!