ARC Review – Pawn by Aimee Carter: Finally a decent dystopian

November 19, 2013 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

ARC Review – Pawn by Aimee Carter: Finally a decent dystopianPawn by Aimee Carter
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Published by Harlequin Enterprises, Australia on November 26, 2013
Source: Publisher
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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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.

Pawn caught me off guard with the sheer amount of corruption, backstabbing, and manipulation. The book was like a chess game, where Kitty is wedged between two powerful people with opposing agendas. They think she’s just a pawn in their twisted game, but she ends up besting them all. And I loved every minute of it.

At first glance, Pawn sounds like your average dystopian, where it uses an aptitude test to determine what people become in life. Those assigned a ranking of III or below are doomed to a life of poverty and prostitution, while those with a VI or higher are given fame, fortune or a high ranking official status. But it’s so much more, as Kitty becomes Masked as the daughter of the most powerful family in the country, and that’s where the story really takes off.

Before today, I had never questioned the ranking system. It was there to give us what we deserved so we could make the most of our natural abilities. – Kitty

Instead of having the ruling family as a simple entity, Pawn places Kitty at the heart of the action. She becomes a part of the most powerful family in the country, with their fame, fortune, and power…and lies, backstabbing, secret agendas and assassinations for the sake of power. I was wowed by the sheer amount of manipulation, with the prime minister Daxton and grandmother Augusta wanting to use Kitty for their own agenda, while Lila’s mother Celia pushing her for revenge. It was fascinating watching Kitty maneuver through the dangerous waters, never letting anyone push her around, even with her life in constant danger.

Having Kitty ranked as a III simply because she ran out of time wasn’t really believable, as she demonstrates her strength, courage, and intelligence throughout the book. In only eleven days, she picks up Lila’s accent and behaviour and is ready to assume her life. Despite this gripe, Kitty was an easy character to get behind, with her rebellious streak standing up to those who are trying to push her around, and making sure her boyfriend was always protected.

It was refreshing to have the romance as a secondary focus in Pawn, letting the action and story take center stage instead. Kitty and Benjy’s relationship started before the story begins, that way there’s no need to develop it further without making it into an insta-love affair. Their romance is sweet and strong and even though Benjy is pretty much your cookie cutter protective boyfriend, it was great without the relationship drama. There’s no love triangle either which is a bonus – retaining your focus on the constant entropy that is Pawn.

They had taken away my face and a name, but I’d thought there was no way they could take away who I really was Kitty

Where there’s conspiracies and a rebellion brewing in the background, there’ll be shocking revelations, deaths, and secrets revealed. Aimee Carter doesn’t hold back on this one, as the constant twists and turns are filled throughout the book. Like a Chess game, you don’t know what the author’s next move would be and the direction of Pawn was completely unpredictable.

Pawn is one of the most exciting and refreshing dystopians I’ve read this year. Although the world building is limited, it’s the intrigue behind the twisted family agendas and Kitty’s stubborn streak that kept me reading. Without the frustrating YA elements, it was even better and I can’t wait for Captive to come out.

Thank you to Harlequin Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. Pawn will be released November 26, 2013. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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62 responses to “ARC Review – Pawn by Aimee Carter: Finally a decent dystopian

  1. Will you forgive me if I say that I didn't request this one from NG/EW because I have an unfounded prejudice against Aimee Carter? *hangs head in shame* Although I haven't read any of her books especially her first one (The Goddess Test), I've read negative reviews that didn't sit right with me. And the paranoid that I am, I let that formed my opinion for all of her works so I passed up on this book.

    But after reading this review, I will give Aimee a chance. This sounds like a hardcore dystopia because it doesn't rely on the romance to move forward. And most importantly, it is really about the corrupt and totalitarian government.

    Awesome review, Jeann! <3
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  2. Fabulous review Jeann! You've just increased my excitement about Pawn. I'm really looking forward to reading it because it sounds like it has a fantastic plot. But also because I actually loved Aimee's Goddess Test series, I thought it was great. Excited to read something new by her and interested to see how she'll tackle a dystopian. Glad you liked it. Sorry I haven't been an active commenter of late but I'm trying my hardest to catch up:)
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  3. I have heard so many awesome things about this! I definitely want to start it very soon. The plot sounds really interesting and I'm glad it takes precedence over the romance. I love romance in books, but it can get to be too much. Great review! 🙂

  4. Awhh man, I almost feel like I've read an entirely different book :p It's pretty frustrating, but perhaps it wasn't the right book for me at that time. I agree that it's more than just a Dystopian book, but the world-building lacked for me. The backstabbing was fun though, haha and I liked the already existing romance 🙂
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 216. Aimee Carter – Pawn.My Profile

  5. I'm so glad you liked it! 😀 It was such a fun book! I didn't think it was extremely beautiful or anything like that, but it was so. much. fun. Really refreshing and I went through it pretty quickly! I'm really glad you liked it as well 🙂

    Great review!
    Celine recently posted…I Did Something And It’s So FreeingMy Profile

  6. I'm glad you enjoyed this one better than I did! I definitely can see why so many people are loving this one, because the idea was so intriguing. Also, the fact that Lila was given a III made me so sad because, like you said, she was obviously smart from how she carried herself.

    Fantastic review! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and recently posted…Pawn by Aimee CarterMy Profile

  7. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Jeann! I read it recently and had a few problems with it, but I thought it was a decent book overall. I think maybe Carter isn't quite the author for me, as I can't say I was a huge fan of her Goddess Test books either. But anyhow, I look forward to seeing what you think of the sequel. I'm still undecided about whether or not I'll be continuing. Great review! 🙂
    Sam @ Realm of Ficti recently posted…Review: World After by Susan EeMy Profile

  8. One of my fav parts of this book was that the romance was merely in the background and not a big part of the plot I found that so refreshing! I found the whole book was fairly unique and twisty! It was a fun read and a dystopian that actually stands out. It's also funny bc I'm not usually a fa of political conspiracy stories but this one was awesome! Glad you liked it, too, Jeann!

    • I know, some books could do well with putting the romance in the backseat and focusing on the amazing plot. It was so fast paced and amazing, made the political stuff really interesting. Hope Captive comes out soon!

  9. I've seen some people raving about this book. It seems like a book that is needed more time to read with plot twist and backstabbing issue, however I'm really interested to read it! It sounds very refreshing and also engaging! I love that there's no triangle love because sometimes it's annoying. Definitely put this on my wish list! The cover is pretty cool, I just realize there's an eye peeping on the hole XD Anyway thanks for the review!
    Ikao @ Sky Duck recently posted…2014 TBR Pile Reading ChallengeMy Profile

  10. Yay! I've been hearing some mixed things about this so I'm glad you enjoyed it. I can't wait for it! From when I heard about it I thought it was a really interesting sounding story. I will definitely have to get it soon. Great review 🙂
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  11. It's so difficult these days to find a good dystopia book, I saw this around a few times, but decided not to add it to my to-read list because I suspected to be disapointed. I guess I have to reconsider now. I think having the romance start before the book is a good way to make sure there is no insta-love and in some cases it works really well, although sometimes when the romance is done like that I find it difficult to really feel their connection, but from your review it seems that isn't the case in this book. Great review!
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    • Yeah, I thought it might have been stereotypical too but I'm really glad it was unique! The romance wasn't really a major part of it which was good, but yeah there's barely any development in the relationship. Kinda refreshing to have.

    • Glad to hear, have you gotten your copy yet? Yeah, they chose her to replace Lola because the colour of her eyes were a match, and it was rare to find someone with those deep blue eyes. Turns out she's actually quite smart though 🙂

  12. It was a good book. ^.^ Definitely refreshing. Although I wasn't so keen on the aptitude testing, seeing as that was a HUGE part of LEGEND (but, then again, I guess there's only so much you can do with a dystopian?)

    I keep about Kitty's inability to read, too. I loved that awesome touch of making her dyslexic and really smart. It was nice.

    • Yeah, like reading isn't the only thing you needed to be smart. I liked how she was really street smart, probably from having lived on the streets. Glad you reminded me about that part of Legend, I am reading Champion now and I can't recall a lot of it lol