Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1)

First Lines: Risking my life to steal an orange was a stupid thing to do, but today of all days, I didn’t care about the consequences.  If I were lucky, the Shields would throw me to the ground and put a bullet in my brain.  Dead at seventeen.  It would be a relief.

So, if I haven’t said anything about this before, I’m going to confess now.  Aimee Carter is probably one of my favorite authors.  I’ve read The Goddess Test an ungodly (ha!) number of times. That series is so much fun and it’s the first series I go back to when I want to reread something.  So I was definitely looking forward to this book.

As a III, Kitty’s life is pretty much over.  Oh sure, she’ll live maybe another 20 years if she’s lucky, but it’s going to be far from an easy life or the life Kitty wants to lead.  When Kitty’s offered the chance to become a VII, the highest level possible, it’s an easy choice.  If Kitty says yes, though, she’ll have to give up her identity as Kitty Doe and be Masked to be Lila Hart, niece to the prime minister and part of the most powerful family in the country.  She will be famous.  She’ll have fans, just like Lila.  And just like Lila, she’ll have enemies.  Because the real Lila died under mysterious circumstances.  The one catch to having this life as a VII is that Kitty must stop the rebellion that Lila was a part of, the rebellion that got Lila killed and that Kitty believes in.  Soon, Kitty will discover what it feels like to be a pawn in a game that’s much bigger than anyone could have anticipated.

First of all, I simply found it funny that the main character’s name is Kitty.  And not in like a “Haha, here kitty kitty” way.  (Though, admittedly, her name does not inspire much fear.)  The reason I found it funny, or ironic really, is that Kitty is a nickname for Katherine.  And Katherine/Kate is the name of the heroine in Carter’s Goddess Test series.  If this trend keeps up with future books, I’d be interested to see which nickname she pulls out next.

Alright.  So one thing that Carter has always done well in my opinion is create characters.  They’re all so varied.  No two characters are exactly alike.  They all have different personalities that just sort of work together.  They don’t feel like stock characters; they feel like real people.  They don’t all get along and they don’t all believe the same things.

In that same vein, all of the characters are really fleshed out.  Especially the villains.  That doesn’t always happen.  I understood why the villains were doing what they did because it made sense to them.  Their motive wasn’t that they wanted to be evil.  And as a reader, I could see what it was they wanted.  I could see exactly where they jumped the rails from “normal” to “crazytown” while still believing they were on the right train.

And the plot of this book really does play out like a chess game.  Everything is a series of moves and countermoves, more extreme than the last.  And that’s pretty fun to read, though I did get frustrated a few times when I wasn’t sure what was going on.

I’m going to have an English major moment here.  I noticed right away that this seemed to be commenting on standardized tests.  The rankings that people are assigned are given out based on a single test that literally affects the rest of their life.  Does anyone see the parallels between this and say, the SATs?  Because I totally did.  (And yes, one of my friends did point out how nerdy this makes me sound.  She called it my “English teacher analysis.”)

I guess my expectations for this story were a little off.  When I started reading, I thought it was going to be a lot like The Goddess Test in its elements.  And in a lot of ways, I was right.  But I wanted a love story and kissing, which doesn’t really happen here.  It’s just not that kind of story.  Nothing wrong with that, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

Overall, I thought it was a fun read, but you really have to be paying attention to catch a lot of the subtleties in the story.

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