Author: Aimee Carter
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 1/2
Genre: Young adult, Dystopia
Publication Date: 1st December 2013 by Harlequin Teen Australia
Format Read: Paperback, 343 pages
Synopsis: “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.” (Taken from Goodreads)
Pawn was one of my most anticipated books for the month of November. I’ve heard only positive reviews from my blogging friends, so I was very excited when the time rolled around to reading this. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but not as much as I had anticipated.
Kitty Doe is an orphan child, abandoned by her parents who were unable to afford the fine for having more than one child. She grew up in an orphanage with forty other kids, with an intention to prove to the government that she’s not just another Extra mouth to feed, but someone that would benefit her society. On her seventeenth birthday in this new America she resides in, Kitty does a test that would rank her within society. She leaves with a III tattooed onto the back of her neck, a shameful rank that meant living on the edge of poverty and cleaning the sewers of Denver for the rest of her life.
Unwillingly to leave her boyfriend Benjy behind while she moved to a different city, Kitty makes the decision to become a prostitute for the month until Benjy turns seventeen and is able to take his test and become a VI. Kitty’s selfless character is evident from the very beginning as she’s always putting other people before herself, which I really admired.
Instead of being bought and used by a man, Kitty finds herself in the company of the Prime Minister, Daxton Hart, the most powerful face in the country. He makes her an offer she couldn’t refuse (due to death), and the next thing she knows, Kitty wakes up two weeks later as Lila Hart, and she’s been forced to choose between helping Daxton and Augusta Hart (head of the family) who wants to stop the rebellion, or Celia Hart and Knox Creed (Lila’s fiance) who wants to continue it.
This novel revolves entirely around political intrigue, and while that was very exciting at first, I soon got tired of the incessant rivalry between the Hart family. Celia Hart finds out that her mother and brother was behind the assassination of her daughter, so her motive behind her actions were always fueled by revenge. I liked Celia as a character but I felt she definitely needed to be fleshed out more, along with the majority of characters within Pawn. I didn’t feel Daxton or Augusta was as evil as they were made out to be, especially Augusta who I felt sympathy for more than once. I understand their actions are horrible, but I just couldn’t invest in them as the true villains. Carter seemed to tell us that they were evil, more than showed it. But none-the-less, I wasn’t exactly rooting for them either.
Kitty herself was a wonderful character, and I enjoyed her snarky personality that should have gotten her into deep trouble but didn’t. For a while, I dreaded that the love triangle would appear, but was so thankful when it didn’t. Kitty’s love for Benjy was beautiful, and her actions showed that she would do almost anything to ensure he lived a good life. While they didn’t spend enough time with each other for me to depict all that much spark, I did like their relationship with each other. But that’s not to say I didn’t like her relationship with Knox either – he was (mostly) loyal and a good friend to Kitty. I was almost rooting for them to be together too, but it just didn’t seem right.
Plot wise, the story moved along quite fast. But when I look back on it, nothing exactly happens besides blackmail and bittering between the Hart family. What I found hard to believe was the fact that it only took Kitty eleven days to learn everything there was to become Lila, and to be able to fool everyone. That short span of time was just not believable.
For a dystopian novel I was hoping to see more rebellion towards the end amongst the citizens, but once again it was only the rise of rebellion within the Hart family. I also expected a lot more to the backstory, but what we got instead was the unstable dynamic of the most powerful family in America, and how they tore each other apart.
Pawn is definitely an intriguing take on the dystopian genre, but it lacks the world-building and excitement behind how a true rebellion should occur. Hopefully Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion #2) will touch more on that aspect behind the story, so we can really get to the nitty gritty parts of the series.
Thank you to Harlequin Teen Australia for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.