The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Reviewed by Amy P.
The Pledge is a dystopian-fantasy novel that initially seemed to have a lot of potential. Derting had thought of a captivating idea, invented appealing details to her language-caste society, and had all the right tools to craft an amazing story. There was an original concept, fascinating world-building, and a comfortable writing style that allowed the novel to flow easily, making it a quick read.
Unfortunately, after a few chapters, it all rushed downhill in a jumble of clichés and humdrum storytelling that joined together to create a confusing and tedious tangle of words. The most prominent flaws were the characterization, the predictability of the plot, and the romance that made me cringe more than it should have. As a reader, I am very character oriented. I feel the need to be able to relate to the characters by feeling, understanding, and connecting with their personalities. I definitely don’t need to like them–all I ask for is to feel a bond, yet Derting still couldn’t give me that. I didn’t care much about Charlie, the protagonist of The Pledge. The detachment and indifference I had towards her felt like a large, gaping hole. However, it wasn’t only Charlie who I had trouble relating to. Readers are never given any depth into anybody’s backgrounds or who they are beyond how Charlie portrays them as. Each character was simply a little cardboard cutout that could speak.
I was never surprised by the events that occurred, either. The storyline walked in a fairly straight route–decent pacing, mild action, and brief excitement. Even now, after completing The Pledge, there are still numerous questions circulating around in my head that the author never bothered to answer. Fortunately, the explosive ending clears a pathway for a sequel that I hope will be much more promising than the original.
Jan. 21, Amy P.