Ms. Carter is back and she’s back with a HUGE win with Pawn. I really enjoyed her Goddess Test series but this series is so unrelated, so different, it’s almost as if another author wrote this book. But it’s Ms. Carter’s talented writing style that I immediately recognize in the action sequence that starts from page one and never stops until the very end. Seriously, this one is a page turner with plot twists, “Holy Crap!” moments, major espionage, and moments when I thought Ms. Carter would go the easy route but instead took the “oh no you didn’t” route.
Ms. Carter doesn’t waste time on long, descriptive paragraphs explaining Kitty’s “world” to the reader. She lets Kitty do it, as she’s the protagonist and the voice of the story. From page one, we’re tugged along with Kitty as she wanders the outdoor market after she’s learned she’s been ranked a III after completing her placement test. This is a test every seventeen year old takes to determine their “lot in life” - where they we will be best suited to work and function in society. I’s are shipped out of sight. As a III, Kitty is going to be sent miles away from the Washington D.C. area where she currently lives, out to Colorado to work and live for the rest of her life.
Kitty isn’t happy with this because she’s got enough confidence to know she’s pretty smart and didn’t have enough time to complete the test because of the reading sections. She’s also not happy because she’s going to have to leave her VERY smart boyfriend, Benjy (short for Benjamin), who she’s grown up with in foster care.
As a result of an encounter in the market, she is offered a chance of a lifetime, to become a VII, a level only attained by the “royal” family, but at the cost of her identity. She will be “masked” to become another person.
Trust me when I say this isn’t a simple decision. Ms. Carter isn’t one to dance around issues in her books because for the character of Kitty, it was a choice of either ending her life or taking the opportunity with the possible chance of seeing Benjy again someday in the future. And the test? Kitty realizes that it was entirely biased against her because of her inability to read. It doesn’t exactly say it in the story but I’ve heard mention that Kitty is dyslexic.
As I mentioned before, there are so many twists to this plot and the story is written with so much depth, the world is actually spelled out for you as you read. You’re never left wondering what anything looks like or how something works. It’s a very visual book and very character driven. You can’t have crazy espionage without great characters.
Knox, Lila’s fiance, was easily likeable and I’m so entirely grateful that there was NO love triangle. I kind of wished we had more Benjy in this story but I’m crossing my fingers he’ll be playing a bigger part in the second book, Captive. Greyson, Lila’s cousin and the son of the Prime Minister is an awesome character and I’m hoping he finds his inner “beast” somewhere in him and lets it loose. That I’ve GOT to see!! And characters you love to hate, Ms. Carter made sure to include plenty of those!
This isn’t your average fluffy piece of young adult material. With it’s constant espionage, brutal scenes, and well… some disregard of human life, it’s a crazy ride with an awesomely satisfying ending. I only knocked off ½ a star because I groaned at some of the character’s decisions. The book is perfect, just not exactly perfect for me story-wise. I absolutely can’t wait for the next book to see where Ms. Carter is taking this story because the Blackcoat Rebellion is not done! There is still a nasty ruling family to bring down.
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