Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading : Pawn by Aimée Carter

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Just Finished Reading : Pawn by Aimée Carter

Pawn (Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
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!

34 comments:

  1. I need to read this one soon, but I keep putting it off because of my own dystopian burnout. I'm having trouble committing to yet another series like this. I've heard rumors that we could be headed towards a triangle in later books, which always make me hesitant to invest. I also have trouble when a of the characters are evil. It never seems believable to me, though perhaps I have a better idea of humanity. HOWEVER, the fact that you still enjoyed this one is a big plus for me Jen. I need to read this anyway, so I think I'll get on that soon.

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    1. I was totally expecting a love triangle and was so happy when there wasn't one. If there is going to be one, I would probably take a pass on the rest of the series.
      And yes, the "everyone is evil" thing does seem unrealistic, but the book was still fun!

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  2. I don't think I'm burned out on dystopians just yet though I have slowed down on reading them. It's funny how this book really seemed to pass me by but I am curious about this mash-up. I should probably check this out at some point. :)

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    1. I just feel like there are very few new ideas to try in the dystopian genre. But I'm sure they will come back again, like fashion...

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  3. Awesome review! I'm totally going to have to read this book.

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  4. I didn't even think about the comparisons to XVI and The Selection though I liked both of those plot points more in Pawn. It was just exhausting by the ending! Who wants what, who is acting in what way for what reason, etc.? It got so confusing! I'm undecided if I want to continue with the series as I didn't really like any of the characters that much but once it starts popping up, I'll probably feel tempted by the blogosphere buzz to try it.

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    1. The ending was too much, I agree. I got hopelessly confused at one point too. If there is no love triangle (see Lauren's comment above) I'd try the next book.

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  5. I was a bit disappointed with Pawn. I got really excited when I found out about since I enjoyed the Goddess Test series by the author. I lacked connection to the characters which was a bit of a let down. I'm hoping the sequel will be better for me. Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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    1. I haven't read the Goddess Test series, but I really liked her plotting, so I may have to try it!

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  6. I really look forward to reading this one BUT I am kind of burned out on dystopians. I find myself reading and wanted to read more adult lit books because I feel like a lot of YA authors are doing the same thing over and over again ...

    Still, love Aimee Carter -- I have high hopes for this one!

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    1. If you love the author, I'd definitely try it!!

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  7. I'm going to read this one because I loved Goddess Test, but the dystopian part makes me want to groan. I've seen a lot of other people agreeing that they've had too much dystopians lately.

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  8. I've only read a few dystopian's because it was already starting to feel repetitive but I always try to squeeze one or two in a year. This sounds interesting.

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  9. Ha - my review for this also went up today. I don't watch Revenge or any of those shows, but this had so many similarities to daytime soap operas that I had to laugh. Especially the masking and scheming.

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  10. Sorry Kenji was rather bland but good to hear there were things to enjoy

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    1. LOL I wouldn't mind if she switches guys, but I don't want a triangle :)

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  11. I wasn't a fan of the author's mythology series but I love the premises for Pawn and since I haven't read many dystopians this year, I thought it was fitting to give this a try. A mash up story doesn't sound very appealing, but then again, I don't recognize most of the books you mentioned. So that's great! I'm just glad that it wasn't a disappointment. Great review, Jen!

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    1. If you love the premise, definitely give it a try!

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  12. I agree about Pawn feeling like a good mashup - just because it uses many common tropes we have come to associate with the genre does not make it a bad book. And Carter did still have some of her own twists and turns in it.
    I agree we didn't get too much character development for Benjy, but I don't think he's a bad character. He just wasn't given enough time to develop just yet. But I have hopes that he will as the series continues.
    Glad you were able to enjoy this one overall, Jen!

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    1. Yeah, I hope Benjy gets more of a chance to shine. He came off a little dull to me. And please, no triangle!!!

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  13. Great review Jen and I'm actually reading this now and I like it a lot! I REALLY AGREE that it is a good mashup so far and Aimee has her own take on it too. I can't wait to see how it finishes and I have hopes to read her mythology series!

    Happy Reading!
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

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  14. Reviews for this one are everywhere and most of them I've seen have been glowing. So it was nice to see a less glowing, but still positive review. I've been burnt out on dystopians so I've been trying to stick with the series I've already started and not try any new ones. I think this might be one I'll give a try one day when I catch up on the ones I already have.

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    1. There are definitely people out there who will never tire of dystopians! I'm with you -- I can use a break from them.

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  15. Oh I want to read this right now! I need my classes to end so I can start tackling my TBR again. :-)

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    1. This is a perfect after-classes-end book -- very fast-paced and fun!

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  16. OMG I think you're point about the mashup was brilliant. I can totally see it, even though I haven't read all of those other dystopians. I didn't feel the same way about Pawn, though. I thought it was okay, but I think I'm starting to suffer from dystopian fatigue as well.

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    1. I think it's a matter of timing too. There have been SO many YA dystopians since the Hunger Games that its practically impossible to find a fresh take. So I was impressed that this one was still so fun...

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  17. I was rather surprised by Pawn--I agree, this one did stand out against other dystopians.

    wonderful review, hun! <33

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  18. Nothing makes me want to read this more than finding out that the main character isn't the moral compass. :D

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