Author: Aimee Carter
Shelves: Dystopia/Post-ap, Hot like meh
Pawn is jumping the bandwagon of dystopian books bound for great sales but ultimately not satisfying legions of readers. It had a lot of potential to be realized but in the end, it failed by filling it all up with boring action scene after another and lackluster character, which is quite a feat now that I think about it, because around 100 pages initially were written to lay down the groundwork for the characters.
So commercially? It’ll be a hit.
And aesthetically? Flop, flop, floppity-flop!
In many ways, Pawn has many similarities with Divergent, not in terms of plot but flimsy world-building and great pacing. But being a sorta-fan of Divergent(only), I can guarantee it won’t please many Priorities or Initiates or whatever you guys call yourselves.
Kitty lives in a future world where single-party government prevails, and citizens are divided based on the result of a test they take on their seventeenth birthday. This society makes no exception for dyslexic people, which includes Kitty, and which I found implausible. Firstly, Kitty had such an easy time of it all and the only reason I knew she was dyslexic was because she kept repeating it, and the only importance it has is to help along Kitty in failing her test and giving rise to the story. I wish it weren’t simply used as a plot device; it also played the part of detailing how lack of sensitivity and ignorance towards conditions as ADD, dyslexia, autism etc could prove catastrophic. Only to some extent, that is. I’d have liked it more had Kitty simply been an average-minded person who got a III because Ms Carter didn’t pull through on the dyslexia front.*shrug*
Moreover, I just had trouble believing they eradicated all these words(dyslexia) from history and dictionary; that’s a bit too far-fetched for me. It’s similar to what happens yet in many backward countries where folks aren’t aware of severe metal problems, disorders and conditions but goddamn, this is a future version US of A. I just don’t see how this society could function. Here members who score III are given menial jobs, while even lower results could cart you off to Elsewhere.
I have so many questions about this world-building. What about actors and models, what sort of ranking do they need to get? And construction workers and fishers and mountain climbers and butchers. My conclusions were that these people from the latter group would need a minimum III but it’s not as if these don’t require brains. Also, these are tests in a written exam! One that doesn’t test our experiences, and then what goes for football players and musicians? You can’t be forced to become a musician, you have to get into it. But what if the musician has a low IQ? They don’t get to select their own job.
This nation doesn’t function. It’s flimsier than Divergent’s world which was at least fun. And if you look at the US of Pawn, and compare them to the citizens of today’s US, it is IMPOSSIBLE.
Dystopia isn’t basically about creating a super-bad controlling government; you can’t just write your story off of that. A dystopia has to be about the people, it’s a world that scares you because it could very well take place. 1984 remains the father of classics for that, because although it was improbably on many accounts, like technology, its dealings with citizens and humanity was scarily un-dubious(neglected negative, you’re welcome!).
On several steps yet, Pawn stumbles when it comes to being dystopian. Religion, the outside world, whatever is happening here outside of Kitty is what I’d like to know.
Back to the plot, Kitty is madly in love with Benjy who’s intelligent and will get a IV for sure except she’s got leave Washington DC for her job. So to stay in the city until Benjy gets a IV and becomes rich and they can marry to have a happily ever after, she becomes a prostitute. Shit goes down, someone dies and lo. behold! Kitty is Lila, the president’s niece who was killed/murdered for being the voice and face of a revolution against her own family.
Apparently, Kitty is so special because of her eye color. It’s unbelievably similar to Lila’s, and the rest of the pesky details? Boobs, legs and height? We’ll take care of that with a procedure called being Masked. Extra growth, variation in melanin, boob job we can take care of, but the concept of simple colored contact lenses baffles us.
Carter’s world: they have everything, except the one thing hundreds of folks use everyday. The story wouldn’t even be written had the invention of colored lenses not been lost to the past. What kind of fuckery is that?
But really, let’s get back to the plot. Or move on and discuss other things. My choice, really.
Kitty, naive and fail.
Benjy, wanting and fail. Mostly, his presence is only a stimulus to his absence, or rather stomping out of the scene.
Knox, creepy and confusing and fail. He had more substance than Benjy but ugh! Also, apparently, he’s in love with Lila, so why does he kiss Kitty and flirt with her?
Augusta and Daxton, archetypical villains and fail. No substance.
Character-who-shant-be-mentioned and Celia. Coulda used more fleshing out and a timid pass.
Greyson, more please? and pass.
Another thing that perplexes me is that while Lila and Knox were betrothed at birth, Greyson, who’ll be the heir has no future nuptials or plans as such on the horizon. From experience with books that deal in hereditary rulers, I find it inconsistent especially seeing as how Knox and Lila were to be married before her 18th birthday. And she doesn’t have a choice in the matter.
There was nothing special about it, except it became annoying frequently, with Kitty’s narration who was fond of repeating two phrases periodically:
~i realize i can trust him
~like you protected lila
In this case, I don’t get the hype and I don’t agree with the hype. In this case, I should have trusted my past experiences with Aimee Carter, but oh well, I won’t be picking another one of hers anytime soon. Or anytime, actually. Twice bitten, forever shy and all that jazz.
But Thank you, Harlequin!