Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 26th 2013
Source: Provided by Publisher via Netgalley
YOU CAN BE A VII. IF YOU GIVE UP 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.
Do you believe that your life’s work should be determined by a test you take when you’re seventeen?
No kids, I am not referring to the SAT’s, but a test considered just slightly scarier than that. It’s the test Kitty Doe takes, the test that every young adult takes when they’re seventeen, which will rank them according to intelligence and what they can contribute to society.
This book was bursting with lies, deceit, trickery, backstabbing and manipulation. The world building of this book is reminiscent of the one presented in The Giver by Lois Lowry. I was delighted at the introduction of “Elsewhere”, which is present in The Giver, but overjoyed when we were actually shown what Elsewhere was, and that it indeed was very real, and very terrifying. Another aspect I enjoyed from the world building was how “dystopian” it actually felt. The citizens in society were far from okay with their messed up world, but they felt so hopeless to change it. It felt so oppressing and hopeless in their world that I was genuinely afraid of ever being stuck in a similar situation. It was inconceivable that a simple test could destroy your life forever.
“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.”
–Pawn by Aimee Carter
I think what really made me pass the pages with almost desperate desire, was seeing Kitty masked as Lila Hart. The Hart family is the most powerful family in the country, and they’re all ranked VII’s- a rank that no other people can achieve-. This family has been in power for generations, and has no desire to give that up. When Kitty joins this family as the deceased Lila Hart, we’re introduced with plot twist after plot twist after plot twist.
This family is way past therapy; they’re all so screwed up and ambitious and selfish. They were part this dangerous game where if you lose, your life is the least of your problems.
Now as much as I loved the world building and the plot twists, I couldn’t help but feel like the characters were all so… flat. None of them seem to have a personality; they’re bland and generic. You’d think that with the awesome world building the characters would be equally as amazing, but… they weren’t. I couldn’t understand their ambitions, their motivations, and their reasons to do what they did. Only Kitty seemed to have some sort of development. As a result of this, I couldn’t really connect to the romance either. Although I’m glad that the romance in this book wasn’t an integral part to the story, because it gave way to better story development. Nevertheless, I couldn’t connect to Kitty and Benjy’s relationship. I couldn’t find it in me to like Benjy at all; it was as if his only purpose was loving Kitty. I found myself liking Knox more and I actually wanted Kitty to like him.
Overall, if you can overlook the characterization, you’ll find yourself an amazing dystopian with lots of twists and turns.
Rating: 4 stars
On the day of her seventeenth birthday, like everyone in the country with the same age, Kitty Doe took a test that would decide how her life would be. She scored a III instead of the breathtaking IV she hoped to have. In a society that ranks each citizen according to their intelligence from I to VII, she would barely have enough to survive past her forties as a sewage worker. It was the end of her life. Looking for another way to survive the horrible fate that awaited her, she goes to a club to sell herself for money to survive long enough to escape some day with her boyfriend once he takes his own test. In a surprising sale without precedents, she is offered by the Prime Minister, Daxton Hart, a VII, reserved only for the Harts family (basically Royalty), if she agreed to do whatever she was told. Kitty never suspected that her unusual and uncommon eye color that resembled that of Lila Hart, the Miniter’s niece, would get her to act as her after getting murdered by rebels. Stripped from her identity and turned INTO Lila, Kitty has to cool the things that Lila had done to bring an end to herself. She was an activist who was against the system her family had worked on after the United States went into economical chaos. Kitty was to be a pawn in all this, a victim, controlled by the corruptions both Lila and her mother tried to fight against, something that might get Kitty killed too.
The story plot was great and engaging enough to make me get really deep into the story. Filled with action and mistrusting everywhere, Kitty learns that not everyone is as they seem, even the high class. Everything she grew up thinking was correct in her society and how things were supposed to be, were a lie, things filled with corruption in every way. This is her main motivation in continuing Lila’s work in the story because she knows first hand how it is to be on the bottom while people like the Harts, the people of high society, were ignorants to what was going on and got everything they wanted in a silver plate without work.
As much as the narrative was absorbing and interesting, it left a lot of things unclear. Might have been because of Kitty’s own ignorance or a plan the author has, I felt like the story centered too much on what was wrong in the society without giving me a proper image of what was going on. We are given bits and pieces, the crumbs of a big bread we can’t have for some reason as if we were ants gazing upon it from below. I wanted to know what happened to the America as we know it, what things changed, why was change necessary, and why there was a classifying system when in this age people are free to choose the careers and lives they want or don’t want with the actions and decisions they take. I wanted to know all that and more. Maybe it was part of the plan for the oncoming books, or just wasn’t that important. If it wasn’t because we are told that this is a dystopian world, I would have thought that it was good old America with technological updates for the high class controlled by crazy power-driven humans, no post apocalyptic issues in sight.
Regardless of that, I got to enjoy the story a lot. The narrative was great and got me to make the “pages” fly by (read it from my Kindle). The characters, all of them, were amazing and left a big impression on me even if they barely appeared. They didn’t cease to amaze me as how good or bad they were. Though, the most contradicting one with me was Kitty. The others were meh sometimes, but Kitty… She was a really smart girl, but could be so stupid and thick sometimes. I wanted to slap some sense into her brain so that it would function properly. She could be stupid one moment and cunning in the other, confusing and weird to make me doubt her at times. But maybe it was all part of the story, so I let it pass by as part of who she was.
Now Knox and Benjy… hehe daaaaamn. Where those guys swoony or what?! Knox, the brooding, serious, untrusty and trusty boyfriend, and fiancée, of Lila. Benjy, the childhood friend and eternal love of Lila. Though there was never a love triangle and barely any romance in the story (glad of that because it would have been a BIG sidetrack), it was enjoyable to see these two in action with their different and likeable personalities.
Even with the big quantity of dystopian books in the market, this book reached to shine on it’s own creativity and promising story. A great addition to all lovers of the genre, and anyone in search of action and love in a world full of corruption and lies.
Rating: 3.5 stars.
Overall Rating: 4 stars