Pawn by Aimee Carter Review

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Title: Pawn
Author: Aimee Carter (Twitter)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: November 26, 2013
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Pages: 346
Source: Publisher

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.
These days, it seems as though dystopian novels are a dime a dozen and, for the most part, we don't complain because such stories offer us this incredible glimpse into a potential future society; albeit fictional. However, over time, we've watched as many dystopian novels have become watered down and mere shells of what the genre implies. Luckily for us, Pawn does no such thing. Offering readers a broken, fragmented society, a young heroine with the the entire world hanging in the balance and a shot at the ultimate redemption for all, this novel embraces what the dystopian genre us and clings to its shattered reality.

I've read The Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter before, so I was certain we would be given a world in which we could lose ourselves yet again, and I wasn't disappointed. While not altogether different than other different dystopian backstories, Pawn welcomes us into a world in which a test administered to teens determines their future in either poverty or the elite. There is a clever twist to this test though, giving readers a more snide and sadistic turn to this rather commonplace backdrop. There is a score in the novel which a person can get that transforms them into something else entirely. It means their past is erased, their future is pre-determined, and they are funneled down one path alone. 

Kitty, for the most part, is an incredibly likable and accessible protagonist. Throughout Pawn though, we watch as she's transformed into this new person and, in doing so, almost becomes another being entirely. While we can sense that she is the same person, as her moral compass remains intact, we watch as her disposition is slowly but surely altered to fit that of her new identity. Sometimes quiet and comfortably normal, it is a pleasure for us to watch as her status is elevated, and she has the opportunity - and power - to change the future of her people.

Pawn plays host to a whirlwind plot, as well. The pacing is superb, and we're never in one place or one time for too long. Just as we think we know enough, we're thrust into a new scenario, a new plot twist, or another carefully and strategically-revealed secret. Each element is planned out with precision and leads us to the next, but it does so without offering too much foreshadowing so as to give anything away. There is a sweet love interest in this story, but it was refreshing to find that, while it plays a significant role, it's not the end-all, be-all by any means. It was, however, established at the forefront of the story, which I found a bit out of place.

Overall, I was really quite impressed by the depth of Pawn. Ms. Carter has most definitely tightened up her writing style since her previous novels, and the prose itself is clear and fluid. Despite the minor hiccup with the relationship development, I enjoy the story. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy dystopian novels.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Oooh four stars! Yay. I'm still a huge Dystopia-junkie, so this'll be earning a place on my bookshelf soon :)

  2. I just finished this yesterday and really loved it too Melissa! I was worried Kitty would start out strong and then kind of lose who she was in the craziness of the Hart's world, but I loved that she stayed strong throughout and always seemed to know herself no matter the face she wore. Can't wait to see where things go in book two, fabulous review!

  3. Very very glad to see you liked PAWN! I loved it too, and I love the cover. I can't wait for the second book either. And I liked this in a lot of different ways than I liked the goddess test series.

  4. Such a bummer that I couldn't enjoy this one as much as you did! The world-building lacked for me and the characters were only so-so to me, but I can see why a lot of people are going to enjoy this one :) The whole concept was unique and I definitely give her credits for that.

  5. I've been seeing a lot of this book lately, but I haven't joined in the bandwagon yet. Good to know that most reviews are positive. Fab review!

  6. I love the sound of this one! The concept of a test determining a person's future and a particular score erases their past is pretty captivating. I'm going to have to add this to my TBR pile. Even though the relationship was lacking, it seems pretty good overall. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Great review!

  7. I have an e-ARC on my Kindle, and it sounds like I need to start it soon. I'm always a fan of stories with a whirlwind plot and great pacing!

    Fabulous review :)

  8. For some reason, my school is blocking your you have dangerous content? Bad girl! Anyway...

    Dystopians. I do love them but I also hate them. Scary societies, teens that need to save the world, some great writing/some terrible writing. This one has definitely been on my radar and I'm happy to hear it lives up to its promise.

  9. Nice review of this one Melissa! I haven't finished this one, but liked that it was a bit grittier than the Goddess Test novels. I can't wait to get further into the story now!


  10. I wasn't in love with Pawn but I haven't read The Goddess series. This was my first Aimee Carter experience and I thought it was really cool. I think it's so provocative, especially at first.

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

  11. Excellent review Melissa, I just typed up my review for this last night and you hit all the points I wanted to mention but much more eloquently. I thought it was excellent too, loved Kitty and the multiple agendas and twists & turns.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence


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