This was one of my anticipated new releases this year, because I loved Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test series, but unfortunately, the first book in her new The Blackcoat Rebellion series fell flat for me. I’m a huge fan of dystopian books, and I had expected something unique and exciting, but while the concept was intriguing, Pawn couldn’t hold my interest, and the characters grated on my nerves more often than not.
I didn’t hate the book, but I didn’t really enjoy it either. Mostly because of Kitty, the heroine. She should have been perceived as a survivor in her new world, someone tough, determined to live, and courageous. But to me, she was weak and annoying. Every decision she made was with hesitation, and sure, maybe she needed to make rational decisions to keep herself alive, but it was tiring to see her never fighting for herself. It was always, “I have to keep myself alive” so she does nothing because she doesn’t want to jeopardize her life. She becomes a pawn, and even worse, a pushover. She was always second-guessing herself and saying how she has no choice but to do others’ bidding, except near the end, when she finally makes bigger and tougher choices.
In Kitty’s world, at seventeen, you receive a number tattooed onto yourself, and that number determines everything about you–your job, your life, your quality of living–and the higher your number is, the better off you are. The numbers range from I to VII. The Ones ending up being killed, and only the Hart family, the leaders of this new world, are Sevens. On Kitty’s seventeenth birthday, she receives a III and a job in the sewers, and is devastated. If she’d gotten a VI, she could have lived a relatively normal life, but with a III she has to leave her home and boyfriend, Benjy.
Kitty doesn’t want the life of a III, so she goes with a prostitute to be auctioned off. At this point, I wasn’t sure why Kitty wanted to join that kind of life, and I honestly had no idea what was going on. Pretty much the only thing I liked about the book were the twists and surprises Aimee Carter has up her sleeve. So instead of being auctioned off, Kitty meets with Daxton Hart, the prime minister, a man who has nearly all the control in her country. She has a choice of either death or becoming a VII, so of course she chooses to become a VII.
What Kitty unknowingly agreed to was becoming Daxton Hart’s neice, Lila, who was killed recently. Kitty is Masked and is surgically transformed into Lila, and has to learn how to be Lila if she wants to keep living. Kitty enters this world of death, corruption, murder and chaos, and has to do Daxton’s bidding to stay alive. Kitty’s new life involves speeches to give, rebellions, and family problems. And the Hart family has serious problems. They’re so manipulative, always plotting someone’s and/or each other’s murders, and while all of this should have been intriguing, I wasn’t interested at all. I didn’t like the main character, so I couldn’t connect with her, and the story was too convoluted to enjoy.
The romance was also very weak. Even though Kitty has a boyfriend, their relationship wasn’t fleshed out well enough. They loved each other, and yet didn’t seem to belong with each other. I’m not sure if Aimee Carter did this on purpose, but either way, I didn’t care for the romance. If you’re looking for a romance book, or even something like her Goddess Test series, look elsewhere. Pawn mainly focuses on the dystopian aspect of the story, and it’s mostly politics at that.
The villain was at least mildly interesting, since Kitty’s never sure who the villain actually is. There’s so much backstabbing that there’s no one she can trust. Even I couldn’t tell who was the good guy or the bad guy. If you’re more into this kind of story, with political agendas and corruption and secrets that eventually get someone killed, then Pawn might be for you. But for me, it just didn’t click.