Title: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Author: Aimée Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Acquired Via: NetGalley
Release Date: November 26, 2013
YOU CAN BE A VII. IF YOU GIVE 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.
Pawn by Aimée Carter first caught my eye back in the summer of 2012, but I was torn about whether or not I should read it. On one hand, there is a dystopia, rebellion, and castes. On the other hand, it is Harlequin (which implies romance, and I HAVE to be in the mood for it) and the potential for switched identities (instant frustration). The lull of the evil government won me over in the end, and I am so glad that I got down from my high horse long enough to read Pawn.
I wasn't really in the mood for romance, and thankfully it wasn't at the forefront of Pawn. Sure, there are romantic elements but Kitty has other important things on her mind than just her boyfriend back home. No, she doesn't forget about him, but that young lady knows how to keep her shit together. None of the kissing was gag-inducing, and Pawn is a really clean read that would be safe for younger YA readers as well. I don't sail on too many ships, but I didn't want to shoot burning arrows at any in the book. Trust me, this is good.
The story itself in Pawn is quite good. I don't know why, but I like the use of caste systems in dystopian novels because it gives the protagonist (who is going to change the world, naturally) extra cause to be both helpless and want change. Every person in this new society is forced to test to find out which caste they'll spend their lives in (nothing like The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau or The Hunger Games), and it is not exactly fair. Kitty ends up with a very low III because she is dyslexic and illiterate, and thus doomed to a shitty life cleaning sewers. She is forced to decide between leaving her loving boyfriend, Benjy, and moving to Denver based on her government assignment or staying in the Heights and becoming a prostitute. She chooses going to a brothel with a friend and things pretty much go downhill from there. I giggled and told myself that she went from a whore house to the White House, but the White House wasn't really used. The idea was the same, and IT WAS FUNNY TO ME, DAMNIT.
I should wrap it up or I'll start spoiling some of the twisty-turny fun-bits that kept me glued to Pawn until the very end. I seriously breezed through this book so fast, I knew for sure it had to have been only 50 pages or so (not really). Pawn is a fantastic book that is great for reluctant readers because the plot moves so quickly and there isn't a lot of complications. I highly recommend Pawn to any dystopia fans who are looking for a quick afternoon ride in a crappy future USA - you'll have a great time.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book for reviewing purposes through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.