Saturday, December 21, 2013
Book Review: Pawn by Aimee Carter
For Kitty Doe, the choice seems simple at first: spend the rest of her life as a III, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or become a VII as a member of the most powerful family in the country. What she doesn't expect is that her decision sends her tumbling into a world of deceit and secrets, and strips her of who she used to be--for good. Kitty is now Masked as Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece who died under mysterious circumstances. The price for a life of luxury: her identity, and her freedom. Kitty is forced to stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed and one Kitty finds herself believing in. Caught in this twisted game of manipulation, Kitty must consider her moves carefully--or she'll lose everything she's ever held dear to her heart.
First off, how thrilling does that plot sound? I was hooked from the blurb of "Pawn," and I knew I had to get my greedy, grubby hands on a copy--and I sure as heck wasn't disappointed! Ms. Carter weaves a story full of intrigue and surprise, one that grabs hold of you from the first page and never lets go. The storyline is, without a doubt, fast-paced throughout the entire novel, with tensions escalating as the story progresses and buried secrets are exposed. The entire idea of being Masked--surgically altered to look like someone--may not be entirely novel, but the real focus remains on the messed up family politics. The Harts are the governing family of the District of Columbia, but they are far from the kind of family who'll dress up in matching ugly sweaters during Christmas and pose for a geeky photo. Instead, they're cutthroat, and will do anything--even murder their own family members--to retain power. The extents to which the Harts go to really help to up the ante, building up the tension and engendering readers' disgust at the society the people are forced to live in.
This, of course, also helps to make Kitty, the heroine of "Pawn," all the more likable. Kitty is an undeniably strong protagonist, one who has her priorities straight and will do anything to protect those she loves. She's also compassionate and clever, and the way she deals with all the obstacles thrown in front of her is admirable. I especially liked her relationship with Benjy--it's clear as day how much she cares for him, and will do whatever it takes to make sure that he's safe, even if it means letting herself become a pawn for the Harts' ruthless games. Really the only thing I can say about Kitty is that she is definitely a great character to follow throughout the book, one we become invested in and root for.
The other characters also help to create a thrilling and engaging story. Augusta and Daxton make the perfect villainous duo, and can I just say here that I am so grateful I don't have a cutthroat grandma. No apple pies and warm cookies baked out of grandmotherly love here. Daxton is also an evil, manipulative sleaze with no redeeming qualities to him whatsoever--which, of course, is perfect in a villain. On the other side of the good-vs-evil battle (though admittedly some of these so-called good guys aren't very good themselves either), are Knox, Grayson and Celia. Celia, Lila's mother, was definitely one of those people you can't classify as entirely good, since she's forced to become just as ruthless as the other Harts to secure her own safety and power. It was interesting, though, to see how she dealt with Kitty as her 'replacement daughter.' Knox, Lila's fiance, is one of those charming fellows every girl swoons over, but what made him more of a dynamic and exciting character was his seriousness in the cause. I do want to mention Benjy, who's just sweet and cute and a good match for Kitty! Love their relationship.
Overall, "Pawn" is a riveting first installment to what promises to be an exciting series, packed with gripping events in the storyline, a great heroine and a dynamic cast of characters. I actually might want to check out Ms. Carter's other series, "The Goddess Test," because I so enjoyed this book! I highly recommend this book--it's an adventure you don't want to miss!