Review: Pawn by Aimée Carter

Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Pub Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: young adult
Format/Source: ARC, received from publisher
Status: Book 1 of The Blackcoat Rebellion series

Summary:
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.



Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of Pawn from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Pawn is a crazy-good dystopian novel that stands out from other dystopians by being, at its center, an almost CW/ABCFam-esque family drama. This is in no way an insult because I adore about 90% of all CW shows. The familial backstabbing and withholding-of-critical-information is similar to Gossip Girl (the tv series because I just never could finish the books), and that's something that I didn't expect, but I totally loved it when I started reading.

So you've got Kitty, pretending to be Lila, and she's trying to navigate the social standing of being a VII, meaning she's learning to walk the walk and talk the talk. Oh, and also, she's trying to figure out who is playing her and what side they're on and what side she is on. Then you have Daxton, Lila's uncle, who is clearly a complete douchenozzle with a creep factor of at least a thousand. Next is Celia, Lila's mother, who goes toe-to-toe with Daxton several times, while exhibiting signs of breaking down mentally after the death of her beloved daughter. Knox is Lila's fiancé, now inherited by Kitty. Knox is...less easily defined. Clearly, he wants to be seen as somewhat of a rule-bending rascal, but there are moments that something deeper and more serious peeks through the cracks of his facade. He's also really kind, and he and Celia seem to be the only ones with any motivation to help Kitty succeed. Augusta is the cruel and calculating matriarch who makes the Dowager Lady Grantham on Downton Abbey seem like a pushover. Greyson is Daxton's quiet, intelligent son, who everyone seems content keeping in the dark, but Greyson is more observant than they give him credit for. He and Knox are two of my favorites because there is a lot more to them than first appears. Thought Lila is dead, her spirit lingers and has a full presence as Kitty attempts to match the public persona, but realizing Lila carried many secrets that she's expected to either understand and fulfull or push aside. Rounding out the primary cast is Kitty's longtime best friend/boyfriend Benjy, who is unknowingly the collateral the Harts use to control Kitty and force her to submit to their insane expectations. Seems like every five seconds Benjy's death is being planned.

Each of these characters has a plan and methods (most of them extremely dirty and unethical) to exact said plan. It's up to the reader to try to unravel each character's thread, discover their true allegiance and their hidden motivations. Trust me; it's NOT easy. I say it's like Gossip Girl, but please don't let tha put you off. It's like eXtreme Gossip Girl with attempted murder, actual murder, mortal peril, a little bump-and-grind dance break at a club (*squee break*), a hunting lodge that brings to mind the Supernatural episode "The Benders" (one of the creepiest episodes that show has ever had, fyi), secret passages, crawling through vents and air ducts, kissing, and plenty SURPRISE! moments. I mean, there were times when I thought to myself, "Okay, this is totally going to happen" and it did, but then it's like Aimée gave me that one on purpose because BAM! she'd unleash a powerful shock that I was not expecting once my guard went down. Masterfully done, really, because I never even saw those second bombshells coming, and instead of the first revelation being earth-shattering with an aftershock, it was more like the moment when a firecracker takes off vs the moment it actually explodes.

I like that Pawn focuses so much on the characters and their relationships. The Hart family is truly the heart of this society and the brewing rebellion, and I like that Aimée gifted us with a book just about their internal familial disorder rather than jumping 100% into the world-altering part. Clearly, though, that's where the series is going because CRAZY STUFF happens that really is going to affect this society. Because first Kitty discovers that thing that only two other people know (but one of them is kinda out of commission ATM) and then that other thing happened and suddenly the thing that Kitty discovered that only two other people know is going to be a Major Deal. Seriously, I can't talk about either thing because 100% they will spoil the book for you and ruin your experience. This is not a book to spoil, yo. You WANT the surprises because they will affect how you feel about the characters and what's going on in general.

I enjoyed The Goddess Test, but I think Pawn and the entire Blackcoat Rebellion series will blow it out of the water. Aimée's writing has improved so very much, and the story is really rich, the plot complicated, the characters full of life. Pawn marks the beginning of a wild, dangerous adventure, and I'm so glad I have the opportunity to jump on the ride at the beginning.

Book Links:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg  photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg  photo B1426D4C-9EEC-4C0B-A1FB-90524B03C0CA-1855-000001A1E82B3B3E_zps17d98f4d.jpg

About the Author:
Aimée Carter was born and raised in Michigan, where she currently resides. Her first novel for young adults, THE GODDESS TEST, will be published by Harlequin Teen on April 19th, 2011. The sequel, GODDESS INTERRUPTED, will follow in January 2012.

Author Links:
   

Giveaway:
Entrants must be 13+. Giveaway is open until 12 AM CST November 18. I reserve the right to disqualify any entries that are not in accordance with my giveaway policies as stated in the Review & Site Policies tab at the top of the page. There will be two winners, one for each rafflecopter. Good luck! 
Prize 1: US & Canada: ARC of Pawn
Prize 2: US only: Signed set of The Goddess Test series. Includes The Goddess Test, Goddess Interrupted, The Goddess Inheritance, and The Goddess Legacy.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

40 comments:

  1. Fallon Vaughn joefallon1@yahoo.com
    i would do almost anything to not die so yes i would allow myself to be masked to avoid death.

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  2. Yes, I would probably allow myself to be masked.

    My favourite Greek myth is anything involving Artemis. (:

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    Replies
    1. I swear, it's like we're twins. I adore Artemis.

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  3. If that was the only way to stay alive then I would have to say yes

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    1. My favorite Greek Myth would have to be hades and persephone

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    2. Such a popular myth to remake right now. I love all the different interpretations.

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  4. Yes, I would allow myself to be be masked to save my life.

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  5. And it's hard to pick a favorite myth. The story of the minotaur has always fascinated me.

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    Replies
    1. That's one that really freaks me out.

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  6. I can't think of a favorite greek myth right now! There are way too many!

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    Replies
    1. And so many really cool ones at that!

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  7. I guess if that was the only thing that could save my life.

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  8. Yes I would choose to be masked if it meant saving my life

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  9. CAN'T THINK OF ONLY ONE. MY BRAIN HURTS.

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    Replies
    1. :( I didn't mean to hurt your brain!

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  10. Pawn looks so good and I love the Goddess Test Series

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    Replies
    1. I hope you get to read Pawn soon. It's awesome!

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  11. Replies
    1. You'll only fall more in love when you read Pawn!

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  12. Life or death? Absolutely I'd do it. Not quite so life-threatening? It'd depend on circumstance!

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  13. I think it'd freak me out too much to be Masked. However, I'd do it if I had something to live for. And I would probably do it to save my life.

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  14. I love all Greek myths, but I would have to go with Aphrodite and Adonis because it's not very well known.

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  15. My favorite Greek myth is the tale of Persephone:) And I would probably choose to be Masked if it would save my life... I make bad decisions though LOL. Thanks for the giveaway!
    -Jayne

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    Replies
    1. No, I'm pretty sure we ALL are choosing being masked!

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  16. I love the tale of Persephone and Hades, it has to be one of my favorites.

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    Replies
    1. Then you must be loving all the Persephone reimaginings being published right now. It's a huge trend!

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  17. Um, I love the myths about Artemis (she is so BA) and I also love lots of the Athena myths. Seriously, anything that has to do Greek mythology is awesome in my mind. Also, yay for giveaways!

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    Replies
    1. Artemis is my girl. You are totally right about her. She's a bamf girl.

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  18. Hmm It's hard to choose because I just think Greek mythology is very interesting to me. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  19. I have an ARC for this but I keep getting distracted by other books!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, you should read it asap. It's SO GOOD!

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