Pub Date: Available now!!
ARC received from Harlequin Teen in exchange for an honest review
Dannie says: Check and Mate.
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.
WHAT I LIKED
The plot. It's a like and not a love only because of the cliffhanger ending. Obviously, it's a series, so they aren't going to resolve everything in one book. But I really, really hate cliffhanger endings. It makes me not want to read any of the books until the entire series is finished because I'm left with this feeling that I'm missing something. I wanted more resolution at the end of this book. As is the ending feels like a marketing tactic (which is exactly what it is) and that's super annoying for me as a reader.
WHAT I LOVED
Long live dystopian. I know everyone's tired of it. I know agents and editors are waving the white flag. But man, I don't think I'll ever get tired of dystopian stories. And I suspect I'm not alone. The great thing about PAWN is that it's a little different from everything else that's out there. Parts of it remind me of the movie FACE OFF which is one of my guilty pleasure favorites. And it does have some of the traditional dystopian tropes--I mean, it wouldn't be dystopian if it didn't have a caste system, huge socioeconomic overtones, and a crazy unfair ruling body. But they were done so well, you hardly even notice they're tropes.
The pace--this book MOVES from the opening chapter. I found it rather un-put-down-able, and I don't say that often. Well, okay, I do, but not super often.
And talk about stakes--the Elsewhere element is done so fricking well and caught me so off guard. If I was hooked at the beginning, this aspect made me feel like I couldn't STOP reading until I got to the very end. And I am caged-lion-pacing to get my hands on Book 2.
The characters. There wasn't anyone I didn't love or hate, even if that feeling changed as the story progressed. These are well-etched characters and I was instantly invested in their story.
WHAT I WANTED MORE OF
The story? Does that count? I wanted to be able to move immediately on to book 2, and, well, I can't do that.
A stronger name in the MC. I know it's petty, but I really dislike the name Kitty. Just in general. It's old fashioned and weak and kind of meh for me. So yeah, petty and not really a big deal. But it did sort of weaken her awesome for me.
The blossoming love triangle. I can feel it on the horizon, hopefully very soon in book 2, but I wanted it NOW. This is me being impatient and not a problem with the book. But on a related note, I did want more from Benjy as a potential love interest. He's a little two-dimensional and lacking in flaws for me.
Distinct narrative voice. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with this voice and it felt very authentic for YA, I wanted something a little more from the author there. Honestly, that's really the only story element I can pick on though because I really enjoyed this read.
Short story long, if you can handle a cliffhanger pick this one up RIGHT NOW. If unfinished endings leave you stabby, wait until book 2 comes out. I'll be first in line to pick it up. GoodReads and Buy links are below!