Book Review

Book Review of Pawn by Aimee Carter

Pawn by Aimee Carter book review

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion)

Kitty Doe, an "extra" second child who should have never been born, lives in a future American where everyone seems to be given a fair chance at achieving success. At the age of 17, teens take an aptitude test that decides their job placement, where they will live and what place they will taken in the hierarchy of society. The sevens are the highest ranked, the ruling family, royalty and government rolled into one. The ones, well….the ones are taken "Elsewhere" so they are not a burden on society, as are the old, disabled or mentally challenged.

Kitty has never questioned her life. She believes the Prime Minister Daxton Hart's promises. She's ready to work hard and contribute. When she gets ranked as a three, her hope for a decent future is crushed. The new tattoo on the back of her neck means that she will forever be one of the lowest ranked. She will never be allowed to have access to the best food or good housing or even a job anything more than working in a sewer. Kitty is going to be sent half a continent away… Away from her boyfriend Benjy who grew up with her in the group home and into a life where she will never accomplish anything and will always have to struggle and scrape.

There is another way though…a way that can be made in the glamorous clubs and the shady back alleys where freedom is purchased through the price of a pretty body. Desperate to not be separated from Benjy and to have any sort of say in her life, Kitty agrees to sell her virginity to the highest bidder when she is unexpectedly purchased by a mysterious man who turns out to be Daxton Hart. With only seconds to make a decision, the Prime Minister offers Kitty the unthinkable. He will make her a seven. He will make her one of them…where she can have anything she wants in an undreamed of life filled with riches and wealth and a glittering lifestyle. Kitty knows there is really no option. Her yes changes her life, but in ways she never imagined.

After being drugged, Kitty wakes up - not as Daxton's mistress, but as his niece. Literally. And from there, the unexpected keeps happening and secrets about the society she always thought she understood begin to unravel and reveal themselves until she has only two choices. Give in or fight.

Pawn kept my attention from the very first page right through the last. When I finished it, I about died because now I have to wait for the second in the series!! I read the entire book in one sitting; it was that good. The pacing is perfect and the surprises that kept popping up kept me guessing.

I think the strength of Pawn is how it keeps running from one thing to the next at breakneck speed. There is just enough world building to understand what's going on, but the book is very action driven without very much time spent in the overall atmosphere of each locale. There are a lot of your run of the mill dystopian themes -nothing new for the most part, but even with that, I had to know how everything turned out. I enjoyed Kitty as a character. She tried hard to do the right thing in all situations, even when that wasn't so clear and despite her having some sort of learning disability (perhaps dyslexia) she is bright and quite capable. She is literally a pawn who finds herself moving across a in a convoluted game that keeps twisting and turning and thrusting her in a position to become "queen",  just like in a real game of chess.  
Kitty's boyfriend Benjy was kind of one dimensional/cookie cutter, but he wasn't featured too frequently and so that didn't really detract from the story.  The other characters had enough development and were interesting. There is clear cut evil, but there are also good characters who may not be as good as they appear or at least are more multi-faceted. Thank goodness there were no ubiquitous Y.A. dystopian love triangles, even if there was a hint of that potential.

Pawn was an entertaining read that didn't demand a ton of brain cell power but was highly enjoyable. As an adult reader, I did find a few moments fairly juvenile but these always fit with the characters age. This isn't a deep tome and there were plenty of flaws, but I didn't care, lol. Pawn was pure a worthwhile diversion and I can't wait for the next book.

Now for the mom part of the review: Pawn has several things in it I would be cautious about as a parent. There are prostitutes and Kitty's virginity is being sold off to the highest bidder. At one point Kitty's boyfriend Benjy talks about how he should be Kitty's first  and Kitty assures him he will be because the "others" she is with won't count. There is some minor cursing, though it's not very frequent. There is violence and a nasty surprise about what happens to people in "Elsewhere". There are a few passionate kisses between Kitty and her boyfriend and also between her and another young man who is supposed to be her fiancée after she takes on the life of Daxton's rich niece.  While the book is fairly frank in the things I mentioned above, there is very little description and so it comes off as more tame than some of the other Y.A. books because it's dealt with in a matter of fact sort of way. I think Pawn will appeal to most teens, but because of the s*x, I personally wouldn't find it appropriate for my teen. As an adult though, it was a fun dystopian read.

*I was given a free ARC (advance review copy) of Pawn in exchange for my honest review!

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