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.Pawn by Aimee Carter
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Published by HarlequinTeen on November 26th 2013
Source: Book Expo America
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YOU CAN BE A VII. IF YOU GIVE UP EVERYTHING.
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: