I've been hearing good things about this book for a while, so eventually I decided to bite the bullet and see what all the hype was about. To be completely honest, Pawn is an okay book...but it's nothing spectacular.
Kitty Doe has been raised in a world where, on your seventeenth birthday, you take a test which will determine what rank you receive. Your rank (from I – VI) determines what kind of life you will lead – from what job you will do, to where you will live and what privileges you are entitled to. Aiming for an average VI but marked as a III, Kitty knows that there is no hope for her...until she is offered an opportunity she cannot refuse. In return for raising her rank to a prestigious VII (which only the Prime Minister and his family are entitled to), Kitty must agree to fool the world and live the life of Lila Hart – the Prime Minister's dead niece. But as Kitty is drawn deeper into the Hart's twisted game, she slowly begins to ask herself - is a rank worth the lives of those you love?
Pawn was a bit of a let down for me in terms of writing style and character development. Although it sounds great, I didn't feel as though the rest of the novel lived up to it's premise. Quite often we're told instead of shown that Kitty has 'spunk' – okay, that's great and I'm all up for a feisty character – but not when they're generally just standing around observing events and occasionally coming up with stupid 'smart' comebacks. And if I need another characters specifically telling me that the main character has 'spunk', then warning bells immediately go off in my head and I spend the rest of the book rolling my eyes at her 'spunkiness' (okay, I'll stop using the word spunky and all it's variations now).
Then there's Kitty's boyfriend, Benjy. To me, Benjy merely seems to exist in this book to create some extra teenage angst/drama – the overall plot would've worked perfectly well without him, given that he doesn't actually do anything. Ever. Oh, but when he does pop up, you can be assured that he'll bring with him the whole 'overprotective boyfriend' cliché. Seriously, he wants to stop Kitty from doing anything...but when she says she's going to do it anyway, he just seems to shrug his shoulders and let's her get on with it, which is a tad contradictory to me (not because I agree with him stopping her, just because he seems to whine a lot and gives up far too easily).
The whole book feels very clunky – there are virtually no descriptions, or if there are, they're very generic and flat. The only time I felt as though I could really visualise the setting, was when the author wrote about Elsewhere – then I could really imagine all the vivid colours of the woods. Although, there is one part when Kitty is on a private jet and her luxurious surroundings are described to us, including the real log fire...yes that's right, there's a real log fire on the plane. Now, I'm all for futuristic, but I'm pretty sure a real fire on a plane would interact very badly with the plane's combustible fuel system...but hey, what do I know? There's also a scene with a poker towards the end of the novel – I won't go into details in case I spoil it, but I'd love to know if anyone else spotted the consistency errors in that scene...
Final comments: Overall, Pawn was an okay read – nothing spectacular, but good if you're looking to while away a couple of hours. Just don't expect too much from this novel, and you won't be disappointed.