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Sunday, January 25, 2015

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Review: Pawn by Aimée Carter (Twisted Chess)

Pawn by Aimee Carter

The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Aimée Carter
Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Reviewer: Sophia


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.

In another lifetime, I may just say, "Pawn by Aimee Carter is FANTASTIC! You should totally read it!" (read: sarcasm) and then just go on with life from there.

In reality, Aimee Carter's first book in her newest series is well... okay. Better than The Goddess Test novels if you ask me, but in reading Pawn, I felt as though I was reading The Lying Game again (read: watched the TV show for a while, then stopped). The entire book is about a future America where everyone is tested at seventeen to prove their worth. I's suck and they go to "Elsewhere," II's and III's get a sucky life and job, IV's get a pretty decent life (certainly no short life), V's get a pretty wealthy lifestyle but not as much as VI's, and VII's are the Harts, the "fabulous" rulers and makers of the America of the future.

Has anyone noticed it's almost the exact backwards of how the castes of The Selection trilogy work, only it's not a "caste" that you're born into and stuck in forever? It's a great way to tell some people they're useless without actually hurting their feelings. I think I'd rather stick with being born as a Five or lower and never take the test. My self-confidence wouldn't be deflated.

Kitty Doe is just one of those people. She recently turns seventeen, takes a test, and ends up with a III.

Psychiatrist: So, Kitty Doe, how does it feel to be so close to a IV and decent life? *pauses as Kitty Doe gives answer* Oh, but wait. You don't have to be a III and have a sucky life and job like the other III's. You can be a VII – join the Harts, be a Hart. Doesn't that sound great?

Then again, when that offer is laid on the table, no one actually told Kitty Doe that she would be a Hart – she just got offered to be a VII. The end. Who wouldn't want to be a VII like the Harts and live a life in luxury? But Kitty's agreement to the offer pretty much turns her into Lila Hart, the niece of the Prime Minister, and the only thing that's the same between the two before Kitty is "masked" are their eyes. Complete strangers, not twins like The Lying Game, but still the same concept because Kitty has to act like Lila Hart and unravel the things Lila did before her "death."

Yet throughout the entire book, I also feel as though Lila 2.0 is literally a "pawn" to well... a Hart, and I couldn't help but think this entire book is a game of twisted chess (my first round in my first tournament resulted in me getting forked by a person who had a rating of well... over 1000). The Harts are the chessboard; some of the family members are white, some of them are black; Kitty and some other peeps – perhaps the entire country – are happy or sad little pawns that could potentially become powerful if they're not getting "captured" by the Harts.

Or in another scenario, the country and the people are the chessboard; the Harts are white, the rebels are black; anyone who's questioning the system and aren't sure of what side they're on are pawns. Gray pawns, but are there ever three sides to chess? Ha. Nope.

In terms that probably makes more sense, Kitty is a doormat for the majority of the book. A puppet with a spunky attitude, if you will, and as much Kitty isn't a doormat by the end of the book, I still feel as though Kitty has been played (read: used) by multiple members of the Hart family for their advantage in this complicated game of chess.

Much as this is all politically intriguing, in the world of books, only one side checkmates the other (no matter how complicated enough it gets that it baffles the referees) and the game is over. You shake hands, say good game, and then go on with life. Or perhaps, the next game/round.

So the million dollar question is, will I even bother with the sequel? Perhaps looking into it is the more accurate answer.

3.5 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.