“One of the things I love most about reading are the worlds created inside a book. I am a huge fan of anything that can take me outside of my own life and plant me firmly inside a fantastical land. Derting's The Pledge did just that for me.
Ludania is a world were the class system is clearly defined and enforced. You are never learned in any language other than two; your casts language and the one universal language. However, Charlie understands all languages - even the most rare. She always has and it is a secret her family guards with their lives.
“I loved voices, I always had. Words held meaning, but voices held emotion.”
Charlie's ability is not their only secret that would sentence them all to death if the Queen was aware. When Charlie learns her family's entire story her world is turned upside down and she is forced to make hard decisions, all while the country is at war and she finds herself pushed into the middle of it all.
Max enters her life at both the worst and best time. His presence could end her or save her. Yet she can't seem to pull away from him. Not that I blame her, Max is hot! Charlie and Max make a good couple, they are both strong, determined, selfless and caring. They are both willing to make unlimited sacrifices for those they care and feel responsible for.
“He leaned in then and kissed me again, sweet and soft and tender, silencing my arguments and stealing my breath, making me wonder how one simple gesture could be so tragically lovely.”
Another aspect I loved about The Pledge was the Queen. She is so deliciously evil. She is a bit of a Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Gorgeous, powerful and absolutely horrible! I am a fan of sinful and immoral royals and this queen epitomizes that.
Though I loved the world and the underlying story of The Pledge, it was not without its faults. Ultimately, I think the book was too short. Had it been longer there could have been more development of the characters and their relationships. I found those to be slightly lacking. Also, with a plot so focused on languages and words - this writing needed a little more magic in its words.
Not that either deters me from continuing the series, I'm eager to see where it goes and excited to see how the world develops.