Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Twisted Game of "Chess": Review of Pawn

*I received a copy of this from NetGalley AND Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

With so many different dystopian novels out there, I was wondering how Pawn by Aimee Carter would stand out. And boy, did it stand out! I thought the concept was unique, the characters were three-dimensional, and the plot had twists upon twists upon twists that it made my head spin. And those are the kinds of stories I love: the ones that keep me on my toes until its finished and I'm sitting there with my head still swimming from the whirlwind of a story. 

5 Twisted Stars!
In this dystopian society, people are separated by how they fit into society. Children take an aptitude test when they turn seventeen to determine what they'll become: by being tattooed with roman numerals. With Kitty, becoming a IV is everything. It's the only guarantee that she'll have a good life, and she knows she has no hope of ever attaining a higher level. But when she takes her aptitude test, she becomes a III. And it changes her whole life.

Having nothing to live for except her boyfriend, Benjy, Kitty makes a few tough choices that will forever change her life. When she gets bought, she doesn't expect the Prime Minister of the District of Columbia to enter the room. He offers her a deal. He'll mark her as a VII if she'll come with him. Between a life of prostitution or a life of luxury, which turns into a choice between life or death later on, Kitty accepts his proposal. But what the deal was is far more twisted than she ever thought. Daxton Hart Masked her. Becoming Masked is no small thing, especially when the person she was Masked as is one of the most famous faces in all the District. Kitty becomes Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece. A girl who was killed by her family because she was the face of the rebels. Her speeches about equality and the past sparked a revolution in the people. And the Harts want Kitty to shut it down. 

It's not as simple as it sounds. The Harts are a bunch of psychotic, vengeful, and power-hungry individuals. It's a twisted game that Kitty is playing, and she's a pawn being pulled in all different directions by the most bitter and cruel tug-of-war between the Harts. Everyone wants something. Revenge. Power. It's a dangerous, terrifying, and utterly crazy game. And everyone wants a piece of her.

Throughout all of this, one constant remains: Benjy. He's her lifeline, her sole reason for continuing to play this game. I enjoyed the sweet and innocent relationship between the two of them. They were already a couple before this story started, and even though we didn't get to see that relationship develop, I didn't mind. Although, at one point, I thought there would be a love triangle. And even though Benjy and Kitty really love each other, I'm not ruling the love triangle out. Who knows what will happen in the next book? ;)

I thought Kitty was a fantastic heroine who was only trying to make hers and Benjy's life better. She really grew on me, and I liked her from the beginning. I didn't really make a connection with Benjy, but that was partially because he's virtually nonexistent in this novel. We only know that Kitty is in love with him, because much of her decisions center around Benjy: whether trying to save him or make his life better. It was that love for Benjy that fueled Kitty's strength. The way she handled everything was sometimes unexpected, but most of all, true to her character. However, I'd like to see more of Kitty when she's not so love-struck with Benjy. Not that it's bad, but I thought her identity was intermingled with his, and I wanted her to stand out on her own. It didn't take anything away from the story, but I'd like to see more of Kitty's personality when she's not so focused on her boyfriend.

The secondary characters were equally well-developed. Each of them had an agenda, each of them had a part to play in this story. They were so very well-written that I had a hard time guessing their moves. Even Knox, whom I came to like a lot! The way they all were portrayed had me wondering if any of them were good, were really Kitty's allies. I'm excited to watch these characters develop more in the next books, as well.

The plot was seriously CRAZY! Holy hell, there were so many twists that I ended up not even bother trying to figure out everyone's motives. It was so intense and suspenseful and mysterious! I was suspicious of everyone's actions, and many of those plot twists I never saw coming!

Pawn was so unpredictable and anything but expected. And I loved it! It's definitely one of the best dystopians I've read this year, and I seriously can't wait for the next installment! I want more of this twisted and bitter game of power.