Publisher: Mira Ink
Released: January 3rd 2014
My Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Are you more than the number on the back of your neck?
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 Goodreads)
I enjoyed Pawn more than I thought I would. I never really got into Aimee Carter's Goddess Inheritance series, so didn't really know what to expect with this. However, I was pleasantly surprised and have to say I'm looking forward to reading the next book.
Kitty was a character faced with a lot of difficult choices, and was fairly likeable. While I can't say I've experienced the hardships she had, I felt like through her voice I could understand what she was going through and why she decided to do what she did. Waking up with a whole new identify couldn't have been easy, but she adapted a lot quicker than expected. It was so unfair that she was put in such a position, that the test didn't take into account her dyslexia. All she needed was extra time - she was clearly smart and the fact that one day and one test determined your whole future in this society was just horrible. But she really didn't have much of choice, and if she wanted Benjy - the only person left alive that she cared about - to survive, then she would have to take on the identity of Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died in very suspicious circumstances. I liked that at the beginning, Kitty wanted nothing to do with a revolution and just wanted to keep herself alive - she had already suffered and watched enough people she loved die - but as time when on she realised how terrible things were and how wrong it was that one family ruled the whole country, who had no say in the matter, and decided to get involved, even if it meant risking everything.
Benjy was Kitty's boyfriend, best friend and the person she had grown up with. There was a possibility of a love triangle in this book, but surprisingly, Carter didn't go down that route, and I was actually impressed. While Benjy wasn't perhaps my favourite character, it was clear how much he and Kitty loved each other (even though they were together from the start, which meant we didn't get much relationship development). I was hoping to learn more about their past together, but there's always time for that in future books. And Benjy seemed willing to do anything for Kitty, and vice versa, and I liked how they were together - Benjy never treated Kitty differently because she couldn't read and was always willing to help her. While I think certain parts were a bit cheesy, I liked their relationship overall.
Knox was a very interesting character, and honestly, even if this book had gone down the love triangle route, I wouldn't have minded sooo much if Knox were the other guy, because he was actually worth reading about. He was a bit inscrutable at first and it was difficult to tell how he really felt about anything: whether he loved the real Lila who was his fiancée or whether it was all for show, how well he was coping with Kitty replacing her, what his real aims were. I always got the feeling he was just trying to do what he thought was right, even if he was a bit secretive about it. I liked that Kitty had a friend in him, that he respected her for who she was. I do think, however, that he was right about things being difficult in the future - it would be very awkward for Kitty to try and maintain her relationship with Benjy when she would eventually have to marry Knox. I felt so sorry for both of them - Kitty, because her whole life was turned upside down and she couldn't be with who she loved and Knox because he had to marry a fake, a copy of the real girl he used to know.
Other notable characters were Greyson, the son of the Prime Minister and who was probably one of the only innocent characters in the book and Celia, Lila's mother, who had to sit across the man involved in her daughter's death every day without saying a word. It was enough to stretch anyone to their limit. Augusta, the head of the Hart family, was another intriguing character because even though she was horrible and completely deluded, she really thought what she was doing was her responsibility and for the best. She didn't have that different an upbringing to Kitty and it was interesting to see how she had taken a path Kitty probably would not have considered.
Plot-wise, there were a few twists, but two in particular that surprised me; one that I seriously want to know the reasoning behind it and another that just surprised me! I think the book was well-paced and though I found the world a bit confusing (I would like to know more about what happened seventy-one years ago and why society became one where everyone was ranked [supposedly] by intelligence and why everyone decided to just randomly accept it and how things could deteriorate so much in such a short period of time...) I really enjoyed the setting because it was pretty different to anything I've read before, even if some elements were similar. I'm already excited for book two.
Overall, Pawn was an enjoyable read and I definitely recommend it to dystopian fans looking for something a bit different, or to people who really don't like love triangles (though I can't guarantee there won't be one in the future!).