Pub. Date: November 26th, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Synopsis from Goodreads:
YOU CAN BE A VII IF YOU GIVE 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.
From Pawn’s synopsis alone I saw links to the classist society from The Elite series, a single test defining your fate from Divergent, and the fake identity/ impersonation from The Lying Game. I’m not saying those elements are unique to the novels I mentioned, but the number of links I could make to other stories made me worry that Pawn wouldn’t bring anything new to the table. Was I wrong. Almost instantly after starting reading, Pawn’s uniqueness and ability to captivate me as a reader decimated my worries.
I literally devoured this novel. Starting the story off with Kitty making quite the interesting career/ life choice completely threw me as a reader in the absolute best way. It’s a twist and a decision that I did not expect in the slightest. Finding out what happens to this brazen, independent, fearless girl, consumed me. Kitty’s choice sets a tone of unpredictability, and created an expectation that anything could happen when it came to what the characters could handle, and what they were capable of. There were enough ‘did that really just happen?’ moments, alongside plot turns you could see coming, but eagerly anticipated anyway, to keep me glued to my seat, waiting to see how everything would unravel.
As invested as I was in the story – and I was really invested – I was that much more invested in Kitty. I loved her character from the first sentence. She’s smart, scrappy, and uses everyone’s underestimation of her to her advantage. I loved her underdog-‘ness’, because she doesn’t allow her situation to make her into an underdog. She knows she’s smart, and she knows how to depend on herself and her intelligence to survive. I immediately respected (and probably related way too much) to the logical, straightforward, and focused way she makes decisions. Kitty’s voice and personality is just so different, and represents a perspective that I don’t think we see enough of, especially not in YA.
Overall, there were so many things about this novel I loved. The pacing had enough peaks and valleys in the tension to keep you constantly engaged, a romance that could have predictably become a love triangle stayed far far away from even a whiff of one, and there were so many different types of characters that you never really knew what to expect from each one. Maybe what I loved the most – I have no idea what could go down in book two, but I am really excited to get my hands on it to find out!
** I received a copy of the novel from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated.