3/19/12

The Pledge - Kimberly Derting

I tried really, really hard to like this book.  It had so many things going for it.  The cover is beautiful, almost haunting.  Normally, I'm not a fan of covers where you can see the model's face, since I like to imagine what the main character looks like, rather than have the publisher provide a visual for me.  Her face is just hidden enough that it worked for me, plus I love the lettering on the cover.  (I imagine that the cover is probably even prettier without the library's plastic covering over top).  The premise of the book sounded extremely intriguing: a world where classes are separated by language and people have to cast their eyes downwards when someone speaks a language that is from a class above their own.  Charlie, the main character, can understand all languages and if anyone discovers her secret, it could be punishable by death.

I think where the book fell flat was in the storytelling and writing style.  The premise of the book was interesting, yet the writing didn't carry the story along at a pace that kept my interest.  I found my mind wandering to other things (like laundry or my to-do list) while I was reading this book, which is never a good sign.  The only time that the book captivated my interest was for a chapter or two in the middle and then the plot just started to meander again.

Perhaps one of the things that set me up for disappointment was reading the acknowledgements.  The author gives thanks to a woman who "shared heart-wrenching stories of her early childhood years in WWII Germany."  After reading this description, I was preparing myself for a Holocaust-type novel, and this book really didn't compare to any of the amazing Holocaust novels that I've read.  This novel takes place in a futuristic world, in a country that doesn't exist today, so it isn't intending to accurately portray a realistic event, but I just felt that if it started off thanking a WWII survivor for her stories that formed the basis of this novel, then it should have been a powerful story.  Or maybe I'm just too jaded from reading some amazing WWII stories (think Book Thief, think Between Shades of Gray) and it takes too much to impress me?

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