Monday, December 8, 2014

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by Aimee Carter

Kitty Doe is an Extra (a second child born to parents who were only allowed to have one), raised in a orphanage, and just took the nationwide "test" that will determine her rank in society.  Unfortunately, she got a III, which means she's facing a hard life near the bottom of the food chain.  That is until she runs away and is "bought" by Daxton Hart, the Prime Minister.  He gives her the option to become a VII, the highest rank, and she readily agrees.  What she doesn't know is that she's going to be Masked as Lila Hart, Daxton's niece, and take over her role.  This also involves Kitty agreeing to undo the rebellion that Lila was apart of.

Soon Kitty learns that she's merely a pawn in a game between Daxton (and his mother) and Celia (and Knox, Lila's fiance).  Kitty believes in the rebellion, but worries that going against Daxton could get her boyfriend from the group home sent to Elsewhere (a prison that no one returns from).

I'm not a big dystopian girl, so trying this one was definitely going out of my comfort zone.  But maybe because I'm not bored of these books where the evil government is trying to suppress the people (and a strong girl ends up standing up to it to save the day), I quite enjoyed the book.  It's a high-paced book that doesn't waste a lot of time with exhausting world-building.  Not to say the world isn't adequately described, it's just doesn't take a lot of time to get what world they're living in.  I really had fun reading about Kitty's adventure down the rabbit hole.

The story was great.  You have a girl who is from a lower class, and is now destined to stay in that lower class, and you turn her into royalty.  She's scared to step out of line because of the threat of going Elsewhere and the threat of death to Benjy.  At the same time, Kitty WANTS things to change.  She doesn't want people to be doomed to starvation based on what scores they got on a single test.  I loved that push-and-pull mentality that she had.  Kitty is a stubborn girl, so the fact that she had to sit back and take orders from all these people proved to be problematic for her.

My problems with Kitty: She's not very likable, she thinks she's smarter than she is, and she thinks the same things over and over on repeat a lot.  I know that she had grown up being fed all the B.S. that the government was putting out, but Kitty just seemed SO naive about things.  For instance, she really believed that in a country where the rich have everything and the poor have nothing, that a test that decides your future is going to be 100% fair.  That all people have an equal opportunity to "earn" a better life by doing well on the test.  AND she thinks that despite the fact that she can't read AT ALL, that she's going to somehow get a really high score.  Yeah, okay.  The girl has a learning disability, so I feel for her... but I don't think an oppressive government like this one is going to give a crap and let her take the test orally.  Plus this government is all about "what you can contribute to society" will determine your ranking.  Having a disability is going to get you a one-way ticket Elsewhere, it just is.  Until Kitty "earned" a III she was in complete support of the rank system.  Then she gets a low score and it's all so unfair!!  It didn't endear her to me very much.

I also wasn't wild about the romance in the book.  I loved Knox and Greyson, but Benjy??  Meh.  I wish we were shown more about why he was so amazing.  I sort of just wish Benjy was never brought to Somerset and Kitty could let her friendships develop with the other people.  Once Benjy came around she felt very closed to everyone else.

I love when books like this make me think about society and how we live.  The ranking system and the fairness of it really got me thinking about how it's not too far off from what we do now.  Sure, we're not ranked based on one single test (cough, SATs, cough), but how far we go in life is determined largely by what career you choose or who you marry.  And the choices are infinitely greater and easier for people who grow up in households with larger incomes.

Besides from Kitty grating on my nerves a little bit, I really did like this story.  There were mulitple twists that I didn't see coming, and I am definitely going to continue with the series.  I just hope Kitty gets a reality check somewhere along the way.

OVERALL:  I loved reading this tension-filled dystopian.  It was something different for me and I think it was well done.  The main character could be a little dense at times, but I still rooted for her and couldn't put the book down at times.

This Book Contains:

  • A future America- specifically D.C.
  • A government that ranks people I-VII based on a test
  • Murder
  • Human Hunting
  • Dyslexia
  • Fear
  • Love
  • Friendship
  • Family Dysfunction

My Rating- 3/4

Date Published: 11/26/2013
How I got this book: Library


  1. I personally wasn't a fan of this book at all. Kitty annoyed me and I hated her way of thinking. I think the only thing I like is the ending

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

    1. I totally agree, Kitty is tough to take. I wish she would have been a little less dense. Sadly, she doesn't get smarter or less self-centered in the 2nd book :(

  2. I am about to review the sequel meaning I need to get my hands on the first one. I have high hopes for it, but at the same time mixed feelings. Thanks for your review.