Summary: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.
But if you’re careful—if you protect your pawns and they reach the other side of the board, do you know what happens then? Your pawn becomes a queen.
I’ll admit that I was a bit hesitant to read Aimee Carter’s Pawn, mostly because I had a bad experience with her former book The Goddess Test. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how the story turned out, and the evident improvement in Carter’s storytelling.
In Aimee Carter’s futuristic United States, on your seventeenth birthday, you take a test determining the course of your life. Your test result is listed on a scale of 1 to 9; the higher your score the more comfortable your life will be.
17-year-old Kitty Doe is doomed when she sees she received a 3 on her test. But her scenario is a special one, because, not long after her test score is revealed, she is approached by the country’s Prime Minister, who offers her a chance to live life as a 7 by being surgically transformed into the his daughter Lila. The catch? Lila has secretly started a rebellion, and it’s Kitty’s job to stop it…
The premise is not unlike one from the plethora of other YA dystopians, but it is intriguing in its own right by the fact that Carter adds her own twists and spins into her world; ones that, while not entirely unpredictable, were thoroughly entertaining.
Kitty was a delight as a protagonist; mostly in the sense that she is not the stereotypical kickass heroine we see so often in dystopian stories today. She is flawed physically – suffering from dyslexia – and had her faults at times, but I found her incredibly easy to like and connect with. Her intelligence and spunk combined with her sass made the story quite a bit more entertaining to read.
The world-building here was a bit lax for my liking. I enjoyed the concept Aimee came up with – testing to see your role in society – but it lacked a sense of plausibility. I found it skeptical that the United States would so easily give up the democratic style of government it cherished so much in the snap of a finger; regardless of the scenario.
Despite being skeptical about the origins of the society, however, I did like the way Aimee set up her futuristic world. Using a caste system was an original and thought-provoking choice, and the debates that come with that are extensive.
It was there to give us what we deserved so we could make the most of our natural abilities. The smartest members of society could help people in ways that 2s and 3s couldn’t, so they earned more. It was fair, and without the test, someone who had grown up in a disadvantaged family might never have their talents recognized.
In the end, while I can’t say this necessarily stands out in the river of dystopian YA, it was an interesting and entertaining read, and the parallels to modern-day society were especially intriguing. I am definitely interested in seeing where the sequel goes.