Saturday, May 12, 2012
The Pledge, by Kimberly Derting
Charlie is a young woman with a terrible secret: she can understand all of the languages. It's a talent that could get her killed and she hides it at all costs. But when she meets a man named Max at a local rave who speaks a language she's never heard before (but immediately understands), he recognizes her for what she is. To her surprise, rather than turn her in, he promises to defend her.
Billed as a dystopian novel, the story is actually more fantasy, with a mixture of other genres thrown in. It's also something of a narrative mess. The novel shifts gears at least three times, each time nearly completely tossing out the storyline in favor of a new direction. This ratchets up the suspense, but makes less and less sense. The characters suffer as a result and by the end, I found myself losing interest in who was doing stuff. I liked the linguistic basis of the story, but even it becomes largely unimportant by the end.