Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Published by HarlequinTEEN on 26 November 2013
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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.
Seventy years ago, the United States introduced a strict new regime to address overpopulation and bring order to a collapsing society – everyone undergoes a test at seventeen to assign them to a caste from I to VII. The VIIs are the ruling class – the seemingly untouchable Hart family. Most of the rest of society fall in the IV or V groups, while those III and below are the underclasses, forced to do the work no-one else wants to do. Those deemed to be no longer useful to society are sent elsewhere – the old, the disabled, the criminals. Not everyone is happy with the structure though – rebellion is brewing.
Sounds like a harsh but intriguing societal model, and makes a great basis for a story, but unfortunately with Pawn, I’ve committed the cardinal reviewer sin of finishing the book but not writing my thoughts down until a week or two later. Now that I’m sitting down to write a review, I’m struggling to remember what actually happened in this story, or what the characters were like. That probably says a lot about this book, to be honest.
The story started with a bit of a bang, with Kitty deciding to head off to a life as a prostitute in one of the local clubs rather than be shipped off across the country so that she can stay close to Benjy. It’s a pretty desperate move, but she just doesn’t feel like she’s making a desperate decision, she’s just bumbling along to her mate to get her hooked up in the club. It’s not until she’s having her virginity auctioned off that she realises what she’s getting herself into, and by then it’s far too late.
I haven’t read Aimee Carter’s Goddess Test series or The Selection series (which Pawn has been compared to in several other reviews). I found the storytelling style to be a little dry. The characters took terrible risks and made life-changing decisions, but I never felt emotionally connected enough to really be worried about what happened to them. The only character I really felt for was Benjy, Kitty’s boyfriend – mercilessly dragged out of his otherwise comfortable life as a VI and into her world of lies and deceit in the Hart household. He seems like such a loyal and steadfast guy and I feel like all that’s coming for him is a world of hurt.
Character flaws aside, the story kept me interested all the way through. The shenanigans in the Hart family were suitably devious, with everyone pretty much willing to stab each other in the back. There were a few surprises I didn’t see coming, but on the whole things progressed as I would have expected them to.
If you enjoyed The Goddess Test then give this one a go. Otherwise, I’d suggest waiting to see reviews for the second book before making a start on this series. It does have potential to be a great story of the overthrow of a corrupt society.
– An interesting dystopian premise but with slightly flat characterisation.