***I was granted permission to read Pawn by the publisher (Harlequin Teen) in exchange for an honest review. Quotations may change between ARC and publication. Many thanks to Harlequin Teen!***
Rating:4 ½ – 5 stars
Pub date: 26 November 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre:Young Adult Fiction
Format:eARC via publisher
Status:Book one of The Blackcoat Rebellion series
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.
Previously titled Masked.
This dystopian novel is one of the best I’ve read because it’s so different from the others. America is ruled by a “democratically elected” family, the Harts. They’ve been in charge for over 70 years. On everyone’s 17th birthday, a person takes a ranking test to assign them to a level of society (II – VII, I’s are sent Elsewhere).
Our narrator is newly 17 and tested, Kitty Doe. She has trouble reading, and didn’t finish her test on time and was assigned a III and a work assignment of sewer duty in Denver. She is devastated by the news while her boyfriend, Benjy (not yet 17), is optimistic.
“You are more than the number on the back of your neck, Kitty. Never forget that.” – Benjy
Plans are made and screwed up leading to an offer. Kitty is offered a chance to become a VII. No one becomes or earns a VII. Only the Hart family is granted a VII.
I’ve never seen family drama quite like this! The Hart family is massively screwed up. Kitty is to become Lila, the prime minister’s niece. She “died in an accident” and the country cannot know. She is surgically altered to look like Lila in every single way. When she wakes up from surgery, she is thrown head first into a family power struggle. She has to navigate who she can and cannot trust and also decide which side she’s on. She first met Daxton, Lila’s uncle and the prime minister. His capabilities to make skin crawl is impressive. Then she meets Lila’s mother, Celia. Celia is… slightly unhinged. She’s incredibly unstable from the death of her daughter and Kitty being brought in to act in her place. Kitty also meets Lennox “Knox” Creed who was Lila’s fiance. Now that Kitty is Lila, Knox is HER fiance. Knox is Knox. He has many sides that are difficult to navigate and understand. He wants to help Kitty succeed, but he’s also keeping deep secrets. Finally Kitty meets Augusta, the matriarch of the Hart family. She is the ultimate definition of “psycho crazy bitch.” Augusta is the one who is the one who came up with the plan for Kitty and also must approve of Kitty’s performance. The last family member Kitty meets is dear Greyson. Greyson is the favourite child and everyone tries to keep him in the dark about family matters. What they don’t realise is he’s on to their secrets.
Speaking of secrets. Everyone’s keeping them. I mean EVERYONE! There are secrets upon secrets upon secrets in this messed up family. They make Jerry Springer seem like a simple misunderstanding. With the secrets come the plans. Everyone has a plan for Kitty/Lila and every plan has strings attached even if it’s said there are no strings. Poor Benjy is pulled in unknowingly and is used as collateral for every move Kitty must make. Knox and Celia try to protect him while Daxton and August try to off him. Who has the right motives? Well, Aimee leaves a lot of it up to you. Or at least that’s how I feel at the end of Pawn.
And holy plot twists I did not see THAT coming. Or THAT. Or even THAT. Aimee does a fantastic job on keeping the twists and turns coming. Elsewhere? Whoa. Lila? Whoa. Daxton? Whoa. Augusta? Whoa. I made this face O.o several times through reading. If there’s this much in book ONE, I don’t know how to handle the future books. I mean WHOA. And that’s all I can say about all of these because if I say MORE, there’s no need for you to read it.
I was so impressed with the world and relationship building Aimee did. I haven’t read The Goddess Test series, so I can’t compare the two in anyway, but I believe The Blackcoat Rebellion will be an incredible series. I’m ecstatic to continue reading! I’m thankful that Harlequin gave me the opportunity to review Pawn. I loved every page. I really loved Kitty who is incredibly smart and determined despite the tattooed III on her neck. She looks at every option before she dives in. She’s definitely smarter than her world gives her credit for being. I’m definitely #TeamKnox. Sorry, Benjy, but you don’t really have a backbone. I’m so ready for book two!! Need it NOW! I definitely recommend this for dystopian lovers. (: