Pawn by Aimee Carter is a YA dystopian novel that tells the story of Kitty Doe a young woman whose similarity in looks to the niece of the Prime Minister catapults her into a dangerous game of politics. I absolutely loved this book and breezed through it so quickly.
What I liked
The setting. Carter has done a wonderful job in creating the setting for Pawn. Kitty lives in a society in which every member sits a test on his or her seventeenth birthday which determines his or her worth to society and therefore his or her caste. In Kitty’s world, as in ours, a formal test isn’t always a true indicator of a person’s intelligence and Kitty’s dyslexia means she is assigned a lower ranking than she’d hoped and that her intelligence deserves. She is clearly very smart, but not in a way that can be reflected in a written exam. Kitty’s rank is tattooed on her neck, implying that once a rank is assigned there is no way of improving one’s status in life in Kitty’s world.
Those who are judged to be able to provide no value to society are banished to “Elsewhere’ and one of the most shocking scenes in the book is when Kitty learns the truth about this.
The book raises some interesting questions; should a person’s worth be judged on what he/she can provide to society as a whole? Does society have a duty to care for those who are unable to contribute? Is a life full of privilege but also danger better than safer one with less options? Can a person’s worth be determined by one single test?
The characters. I found Kitty to be an interesting protagonist and loved hearing about her story. It was interesting comparing her to the real Lila Hart and seeing how they differ.
The pacing. The plot moved along at a brisk pace and kept me turning pages.
The narration. Pawn was narrated by Lameece Issaq who did a wonderful job. I felt she added real life to Kitty’s story. Here’s a sample.
What I didn’t like
Moustache twirling villains. While the majority of the characters have varying shades of grey, the main antagonist of the piece, Daxton Hart, is very much a cookie cutter villain. He appears to have no redeeming features at all. I do prefer my antagonists to be a little less in-your-face sociopathic.
All in all I loved this book and gave it four and a half stars out of five.