I love languages. I love learning new ones and I love eavesdropping on people who think I don’t understand what they are saying. So it won’t come as a surprise that I found The Pledge by Kimberly Derting highly intriguing when I first read the summary.
This girl Charlaina, Charlie for short, lives in world and time wherein language is used as a tool to segregate people into classes: the servant class, the vendor class, the counsel class and the royalty. A class is supposed to speak a class tongue plus Englaise, the adopted “universal” language. When a person of a higher class speaks in his class’ language, a person of a lower class should look down and assume a conduct that acknowledges the lowness of that class.
So Charlie was born into the Vendor Class, speaking Parshon and Englaise. But she has the ability to understand any language, even those that are made of drawings or those tactile languages. The trouble is, she can’t let anybody know because it would be considered as breaking the law. The only people who knew were her parents and her mute-at-first younger sister. Then she meets Max, this enigmatic guy who dons a soldier’s uniform, speaking a language she has never heard of.
And just like any teenage girl who sees a handsome guy, who showers her with unlikely attention, she falls in love with him. But that’s okay because apparently he’s smitten with her too. And the best thing was that he made this pledge to protect her. And boy, did she need protecting!
It turns out that she is this princess descended from an almost extinct lineage. And in Ludania, only women get the magical powers and the power to rule.
The story was simple enough but with a unique setting. The ending is not unexpected but at least the buildup was not lacking. Charlie was sensible so I did not get frustrated with her. And I definitely would like to have her ability. Being able to understand any language would be a real dream come true. It would be a gateway to every unchartered place and experience. The opportunities would be endless.
The supporting characters were great, too. There were some really surprising turn of events and the author gave each of the characters depth and justice.
The only thing lacking was the romance between Charlaina and Max. The descriptions were not too engaging as opposed to say Vampire Academy where the struggle and sexual tension were just too thick. Charlie exhibited great self-control and focus to tasks on hand that it’s quite admirable.
Overall, if you are looking for a light read, choose this book.