If you'd like to see my year-to-date four-plus- and five-star recommendations, visit Robin ReadsnWrites.
* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.
The Pledge, by Kimberly Derting ***** I really enjoyed this! I was entranced within the first chapter (so rare, these days), and I not only liked the MC, but the supporting characters were also interesting. I think one of the reasons I got hooked so quickly had to do with the unusual premise. The setting comes across very historical (old European), yet it's not! That mystery right there kept me going, trying to figure out what had happened in this world to bring it to the point of this story. I liked the magical parts (which were woven into the story in almost a magical realism way -- ie, there was no real legend or mythology, it just was), and I liked the intrigue and mysteries. There were a few things that didn't feel completely resolved to me (and I don't know if there's going to be another set in this world or not) and a few inconsistencies in characters, but for the most part, I was quite satisfied when I finished. I would love to read another book set in this world...maybe a book with Angelina as the MC? :) The story: In Charlie's country, it all comes down to class and language. The classes are distinct, even to the point of having their own language -- and no one can speak or understand any language except their own class's...except for Charlie, a member of the vendor class. She understands all languages, and that secret is one she's kept to herself her entire life. But one night at a club, a stranger guesses her secret when Charlie overhears a new language, one never spoken before in her presence. The stranger, a man named Max, takes an interest in Charlie. He's persistent, and she's intrigued since he speaks this before-unheard language, but she knows it's more important to keep her secret -- and her younger sister's secret. Both girls have special gifts, and Angelina doesn't speak and needs Charlie's protection. The country is in turmoil because the Queen grows old and frail and has no female heir -- and both She and the Resistance search for any female descended from royal blood. In the meantime, the Resistance continues to attack, aiming to weaken the Queen even further as she tightens her control with more executions. Charlie wants nothing more than to live her life in her class, safe with her family -- but when Max's attentions continue and Charlie senses he has his own secrets, Charlie's pulled into the limelight, garnering interest from both the Resistance and the Queen. (YA...dystopic? adventure? suspense?, releases 11/11, publisher: Margaret K. McElderry)