Review: Pawn by Aimee Carter

14 June, 2014 Reviews 12 comments

I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Pawn by Aimee CarterPawn by Aimee Carter
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Published by HarlequinTeen on November 26th 2013
Pages: 346
Genres: Dystopian
Format: Hardcover
Source: Book Expo America
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository


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.

It should probably be illegal to keep reading an authors work when you’ve so thoroughly panned it twice before but, you see, I was curious. Take away the horrible plotting and burdensome story of The Goddess Test, could Carter write something I liked, because I always suspected she could. If Pawn had continued in quality from the first half into the second, then I’d probably be giving it four stars right now.

Pawn started out very promising indeed. Kitty, ranked a three in a society that lives and dies by rankings, has two choices. Shovel shit in a far off city away from her beloved boyfriend, or take to prostitution. Figuring prostitution is temporary, she chooses option B but is quickly given a third option. Become the body double of the newly deceased princess.

Kitty, living as Lila Hart, still isn’t safe. She knows her days are numbered and the only way to survive is to play the game and hope she can outsmart the other players. Pawn is really well written and well actualised up until roughly this point. The players are all there, you can see the intrigues and alliances and power plays are all ready to be explored.

Where Pawn lets you down is that they aren’t explored at all. Despite Kitty’s plan to try and outsmart the others, despite the myriad references to a chess match which spawns the title of the book, Kitty does not play or dalliance in any kind of battle of wits. She is a very reactionary character, making decisions and acting on the spur of the moment, often to her detriment. This would be okay, except the other characters fare little better in their plotting. Eventually it becomes a jumbled mess with too many plot holes and not enough sense to see it through to a satisfactory end. I don’t think any characters knew what the fuck they were doing. It kind of feels like the author just kind of went with whatever plot twists occurred to her at that moment.


Which means that I want to be annoyed, but I’m not. I’m relatively impressed with this offering from Carter, but still disappointed at the wasted potential. The writing has improved, as has Carter’s use of characterisation and gender roles. Plotting and plotholes aside, the writing and pacing of this book was pretty good – a definite improvement!

This is the third Carter book I’ve read now. I want to read the sequel to this, but doesn’t that constitute some kind of cruel and unusual book reviewing behaviour? On one hand, if I’d hated this book, I’d be like:

But I didn’t hate it, and I doubt many readers will despite its faults. It’s a pretty endearing novel and I’m glad that I read it. So onto the next one for me!


Even if maybe, at this point, Carter is like:


Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

12 Responses to “Review: Pawn by Aimee Carter”

    • Kat Kennedy

      The rash decisions really killed it for me. It’s like nobody in this book could think ahead more than 30 seconds into the future.

  1. Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    I read the Goddess Taste and was very nearly tempted to rip the copy apart, except for the fact that it was my sister’s book. I did the same thing, and just hoped that I would like this book better and I wouldn’t DNF it after I requested it. I actually enjoyed it, and gave it 4 stars, but I do wish that Kitty had been a bit more proactive and not just been a pawn!
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…ARC Review: Paradigm by Ceri A. LoweMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      I didn’t mind her being a pawn – but she swore to herself that she was going to outsmart them and then she did all of no outsmarting. At all. It was really frustrating for me.

    • Kat Kennedy

      I know. I get disappointed a lot, unfortunately. And I wonder what the authors must think of me when I keep reading and hating their books!

  2. Rebecca @ The Library Canary

    I agree about this book. I liked it, despite the fact that it was riddled with flaws. Although, I do think it was a bit forgettable. It started off really strong, but then just kinda turned into a clusterf***. I didn’t understand what the heck Kitty’s bf was still doing in the picture either. Seriously? We know nothing about him. Get out of here.
    Rebecca @ The Library Canary recently posted…Review: Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna SlaytonMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      Yes! I had NO attachment to her boyfriend at all. Just… none. I was kind of hoping he WOULD get killed off! And the story was kind of forgettable, I completely agree.

  3. Natalie


    Never mind.

    Nice review. I think it’s great when you can really see an author improving. It’s why I never ban myself from reading an author’s work if I don’t like some early stuff, unless they are a terrible human being OFC.
    Natalie recently posted…The Hero of Ages – 4/5My Profile

  4. Amelia

    I tried to like Ally Carter’s “Goddess Test” but couldn’t get more than sixty or so pages into it. So I haven’t been even slightly interested in any of her other work. But this is a different genre and hell — I’m not adverse to browsing through it if I happen to see it at the library. Your review has me convinced that I owe it at least that. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    Amelia recently posted…A Spy in the House by Y.S. LeeMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge