Pawn by Aimee CarterAuthor: Aimee Carter Website|Twitter
Published: 3 January 2014 (Mira Ink)
Format: Kindle e-book (ARC)
Buy the paperback: Amazon|Hive|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle
Source: Received free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Mira Ink!
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Are you more than the number on the back of your neck?
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 follows Kitty Doe, whose future is looking bleak after only earning a III in the test every citizen must take at the age of seventeen. When she's offered the chance to become a VII - a rank reserved only for the most powerful and influential - Kitty must sacrifice her old life for the chance of a safer future.
This is the first book I'd read by this author and I was drawn to it because it sounded like a great dystopian story, and I wasn't disappointed! Pawn is probably one of the smartest dystopias I've ever read. It had a great combination of wicked characters and chilling ideas and has a great focus on the political side of the story. I liked the exploration of divisions in society. Each person is given a rank which is marked into the skin at the back of their next, displaying their status to the world. It was a really interesting idea and threw up a lot of questions about how that society works.
I really liked Kitty herself. She's incredibly smart and sharp and should have a great future ahead of her, only she's held back by the fact she can't read. I thought it was great that something like that was addressed. One of my favourite parts of the book was the relationship between Kitty and her boyfriend Benjy. The relationship is already established at the beginning of the book which was something I really liked. It's a relationship that's developed from a friendship and I think that really shows in the connection they have with each other.
Like I mentioned before, Pawn is full of truly twisted characters. Kitty finds herself in the hands of Prime Minister Daxton Hart who had a pretty cruel way of doing things. He sees people as disposable and there were some truly harrowing moments as you learn just what his family is capable of. What happens to Kitty in itself is quite a horrifying idea. In the book there is reference to somewhere known as "Elsewhere" where old people and trouble makers are sent. When more information about Elsewhere was revealed it actually shocked me. There's definitely a dark side to Pawn which I think will appeal to fans of those darker themes in books like The Hunger Games.
There were so many twists and turns throughout the book that it was impossible to predict what was going to happen. I loved the constant action and suspense and how each character has their own secrets and motivations which slowly come to light. Like all great dystopias, there's that idea of a rebel movement at work, in this case the Blackcoats. I feel like there's so much more to learn about them and I can't wait to see more of that rebellion in later books.
I think the only downsides to Pawn for me were that some moments were a little too convenient. Kitty spends the majority of the book using air vents to escape from every single occasion where she was locked up which got a bit annoying. I also could have done with more of Benjy! He's a character I'd love to discover more about, as well as Greyson who seems to be a bit of a mystery.
Overall I was really impressed with Pawn. It's intelligent and sharp and really stood out from the crowd. I think there's huge potential for later books inthis series and I can't wait to discover where the story goes from here!
What to read next: Captive by Aimee Carter, the 2nd book in The Blackcoat Rebellion series
Books like this: Divergent by Veronica Roth, Matched by Ally Condie