Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pawn by Aimee Carter

Pawn by Aimee Carter
Release Date – November 26, 2013
Publisher Website – Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 296 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

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.
Imagine a world where one test determined your future. One afternoon could seal your fate. Kitty Doe lives in such a society where a test determines your standing in society. Score high and reap the rewards, but score low and sentenced to a bleak future...if you have one at all.

I predict that there will be a general theme used when discussing Aimee Carter's Pawn. The idea that even if you're turned off of dystopians that Pawn is worthy of a look. This certainly proves true. Pawn was both refreshingly unique and addictive.

The premise, one where identities can be swapped surgically, immediately caught my interest. The scientific elements are not as fleshed out as the emotional ones. It's the impact on not only the person who is Masked, but the family of the deceased person as well. It's the emotional aspects that resonate, and draw you into the story. Kitty, Lila's family, friends, and those Kitty leaves behind. Each of them are left with the consequences of the choices that are made.

This dystopian world is not just playing at being dangerous. I relished in Aimee's deliberate choice to create a world that was brimming with danger, and where consequences mattered. There is no last minute reprieve. Punishment is harsh and swift, and the truth is often more sinister than you could image. I shuddered a few times, and the twists and turns left me awestruck. The chess theme of the marketing compliments this aspect of the novel perfectly. You have different players all with their own agenda. Kitty is thrust into this 'game' and has to play the part of a pawn while keeping her eyes on those around her. One wrong move could be deadly. It's this tension that plays so well, and creates an atmosphere where this world can thrive. The tension is laced in the littlest details, and you never know what each infraction will cost you.

Kitty is easily one of my favourite characters. She's brave, but not reckless. She's intelligent, but doesn't know everything. She has flaws, and yet she still tries. She works with what skills she does have and embraces what she can do rather than lament what she cannot. She takes the opportunities given to her and uses them to her advantage. She is self sacrificing, and yet at times selfish. She came across as incredibly human, and therefore came to life through Aimee's words.

The Hart family is not unlike most rich and influential families. They have secrets they want to bury. They are a classic example of power becoming addictive. They also show that family doesn't always mean loyalty. This family is flawed, and it's members are broken. The numb Greyson , ruthless Daxton, cunning Celia, and the rebellious Lila all paint a picture of fractured, and deadly family.

Knox and Benjy are the two men in Kitty's life. As Lila she inherits a fiance in Knox. Benjy is her beloved from before she was Masked. Each relationship is interesting, and I find myself enjoying this 'triangle' of sorts. It's one where I am torn. I can't pick whom I think would be better for Kitty because I see the potential in both. Benjy is the solid guy whose unwavering support and love is utterly refreshing. It's easy to see why Kitty loves him. Knox is the wild card whose motivations are uncertain. He's all seduction and allure. Yet he's also incredibly kind, and a voice of reason among the crazy. He's tempting and I wouldn't blame Kitty for giving into his charms. This seems like it may not be your typical love triangle, as I think it's obvious where Kitty's heart lies, but as Kitty changes, her desires may also. My favourite triangles are ones that come out of the character growing and changing, and this is what I can already see happening to Kitty. Her world is changing, and with it her convictions.

Pawn's world is one where things are not what they seem, people may not be who they say they are, and family doesn't automatically equal loyalty. A fast paced, jaw dropping read that took me by surprised, and rejuvenated a genre where I thought I had seen everything. This is Aimee's best work to date, and a very promising start to a new series.

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