Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

Previously titled Masked.

347 pages, ebook

First published November 26, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Aimee Carter

57 books4,716 followers
Aimée Carter is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the author of over a dozen books, including The Goddess Test series, the Blackcoat Rebellion series, and the Simon Thorn series for middle grade readers, now a #1 international bestselling series under the title Animox. Her newest middle grade book, Curse of the Phoenix, will be released in June from Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
3,306 (26%)
4 stars
4,679 (37%)
3 stars
3,215 (25%)
2 stars
910 (7%)
1 star
279 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,795 reviews
Profile Image for Saniya.
360 reviews826 followers
Want to read
July 19, 2013
All that hardcore blurb with the heroine named Kitty?
Now, seriously?

I mean, it will be just so funny to read. xD Just imagine.

She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves...

As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter...


Kitty: "You...you left me for that girl?

Hahaha, I can actually imagine the hero saying that and Kitty being like, NO!

LOL, I think I am just gonna read the book because of that. xD

Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,357 followers
September 15, 2013
For the 82323234287637's book in its genre this year alone, Pawn was surprisingly original with a refreshing triangle-free minimalist romance and a plot that had tons happening throughout, not just anticipation for the ending. As my first Aimee Carter book I can't tell you how it compares to her Goddess Test series, but I was impressed with this one for sure.

The world building, at first, sounds like your average dystopian. Society is divided by numbers given to you after a big test on your 17th birthday. If you get a 5 or over, you live a rich life, if you get a 2 or a 3… well at least you didn't get a 1 and get sent to Elsewhere. The originality of it all comes after Kitty gets offered a 7, which, in the most literal of ways, means she needs to be turned into another person altogether - a process called Masking. After which is where we start to see the cracks in this world. We get access to the biggest secrets, as well as intel on the biggest rebellion. Overall the world is well built, particularly in a political sense, with tons of conspiracies and mysteries, though I wouldn't have minded a more detailed history. There is no lack of evil, of course. The first true hint of it comes from a glimpse at what this "Elsewhere" really is. It caused my eyes to bulge open wide in horror.

Pawn's pacing is what makes this book highly entertaining. Not only do we have a world filled with threats and secrets, but we have a plot that answers questions, spitting out twists and significant happenings at regular intervals. In other words, it doesn't save all its cards for the ending - though the ending is not lacking either. Plus, the romance is kept light, but most importantly, it's kept triangle free! Let's all take a moment to appreciate this! … *takes a moment to appreciate this* … The love interest in question is Benjy and while the romance didn't throw me off my seat by any means, I thought it was sweet how loyal they were to each other. I also enjoyed the amicable jealous banter between him and Lila's "fiancé".

Since Kitty gets surgically changed into a new person, it's actually fascinating to see all the details that go into acting like someone else entirely. It also provokes thoughts of having to walk in someone else's shoes. As for the character herself, Kitty is easy to like. She keeps her senses and her moral values; she understands what's at stake when she considers using what's now available to her to do the right thing. She's really just an average girl with a now powerful face. The side characters have distinct voices and personalities, and every one of them has a role to play in this story - no fluff page fillers, but nothing in particular to note. I do praise her creation of evil, heartless villains, however. From the first time we meet Augusta, she comes off as exactly that. The atmosphere surrounding her is charged with malice, coupled with her power makes her downright terrifying. As for Daxton, well, we're only just learning who he really is - repulsive being one of them.

With a writing style that is crisp and engaging by an author who's not afraid to take risks, Pawn combines political intrigue and "masking" science to put a fresh twist on the dystopian genre.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
December 6, 2013
"But if you’re careful—if you protect your pawns and they reach the other side of the board, do you know what happens then? Your pawn becomes a queen.”
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. If you had asked me what I was going to give this book after the first few chapters, without question, I would have said "1." Therefore, it was with a considerable amount of surprise that I found myself enjoying the rest of the book as much as I did. This does not mean that the rest of the book was perfect, far from it, but the majority of the book was exceedingly better than the half-assed beginning that made me want to slap some fucking sense into our main character, Kitty Doe.

The book suffered from two main faults: a vague dystopian future without much of a past, and a main character who started off as a moron who then grew into a character so exceedingly perfect that I could not find her character credible. Were it not for the excellent writing and the side characters, this book would have garnered a lower rating from me. I would not be so critical of the vague dystopian setting if not for the fact that the plot hinges around that setting and the civil unrest resultant upon it. As such, the setting and premise failed for me. The most enjoyable part about this book was the portrayal of the side characters. I liked that their characters were not black and white, I liked that they are human, they make choices that are imperfect, but realistic, and I liked that they have a considerable amount of depth. The supporting cast are certainly better, more credible characters than our main character and narrator herself.

Summary: Kitty Doe has just turned 17 years old, and she is determined to die. These days, we would call it "suicide by cop." That morning, she took a test to determine her future, she lives in a futuristic America that ranks its citizens based on their intelligence, and Kitty has only received a III. With that rank, she will not be allowed to live past 40 years, and she is destined to be a laborer, a sewage worker. Rather than accept her fate, she chooses to die. Kitty steals a forbidden fruit, an orange, intending to be shot on the spot by Shields---armed guards who protect the peace. Kitty changes her mind at the last minute, and decides to choose a life of prostitution rather than work as a sewage worker, no matter how much her loving boyfriend, Benjy (a sweetheart of a boy), tries to change her mind.

At the brothel, Kitty's virginity is auctioned off, and she is "won" with an astounding sum of 30,000 gold---the highest anyone has ever received. It turns out that the man who bought her is the country's Prime Minister, Daxton Hart. She is given the opportunity to become a VII, the highest rank in society, if she agrees to play a role. Kitty is to become Daxton's recently killed (or murdered) niece, Lila Hart. But it's not as simple as becoming another person. Lila was not simply a pampered politician princess, she is an outspoken, activist, protesting against what she felt was the wrongs of her family's rule. Before she died, Lila wanted the past back, she wants the Ranking system abolished, she wants equality for America's citizens. Kitty has to become Lila, and play a role as a pawn within the twisted politics of the Hart family.

The Setting & Plot: The setting can only be described as shoddy. Let's get one thing straight: if you're going to write a novel based on a dystopian setting, it better be well-described, because it sets the tone for the rest of the book. This book failed in that standard.
“It’s frightening how much things change in seventy-one years.”
It is 71 years since America, as we know it, has disintegrated. Kitty is a poor narrator in that she knows, or is willing to tell us, almost nothing about the past. When Kitty got the chance at gaining more knowledge to Lila's cause while playing Lila, she did not take advantage of the situation to learn any more about the supposed society that she is supposed to be trying to save. All we know of the past is that America ran out of resources. Riots broke out. Some people were killed. Food was scarce. Society disintegrated.

...that's it? Are you serious? I don't buy it one bit. For one thing, America is fucking overfed, we have natural resources and viable farmlands up the fucking yin-yang. Ever taken a look at the heartlands of America? Those middle states? Yeah. Chock full of farmlands and major farming corporations just planting corn and shit all over the damn place. Corn is king. We can manufacture pretty much anything out of it. We can pretty much keep American fed on manufactured food alone. It may not be a nutritious state of living, but corn will keep us, and the pigs, fed. High Fructose Corn Syrup will keep America fat and happy until an asteroid crashes into us. Civil unrest? Maybe. A shortage of food? No fucking way. I don't buy that.

And the vast, vast changes in society that happened smack out of fucking nowhere? No. We are supposed to believe that in the middle of all this unrest, one man stepped up, mobilized the masses, and told them "WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A SOCIETY WHERE THE ELITES GET ALL THE MONEY AND STATUS AND RESOURCES" and the rest of America nods and says "Yes. Please, sir, may I have some more?" Fucking no. It is simplistic, this future is credible only if you don't want to think about what you're reading. I have higher standards for my so-called dystopian novels than that. Historically, when civil unrest occurs, it is the lower classes who are rising up. They are not saying, yes, we are rebelling so that others can be put on a pedestal while we, the laborers, the working class, the poor, the numerous, will swallow our craptastic place in society and do nothing about it.

We are given the fact that the US is ruled by 12 Ministers of the Union, and above them, with the Prime Minister in charge. It is more or less a dictatorship. Nobody questions the ruling family, the Hart. They are in power permanently, regardless of some attempts at a rebellion by a "terrorist" group called the Blackcoats. There is no history of how this came to be.

There are 7 classes in society. The lowest are Is and IIs, they are useless, and they are sent off to a mysterious place called "Elsewhere," presumably to meet with a bullet in their head. The highest are the Vs and VIs, VIIs are only given to the ruling family. Kitty never questions the ranking system until she scores a III on her ranking test.
It was there to give us what we deserved so we could make the most of our natural abilities. The smartest members of society could help people in ways that IIs and IIIs couldn’t, so they earned more. It was fair, and without the test, someone who had grown up in a disadvantaged family might never have their talents recognized.
The US of the future is poorly depicted outside of the ranking system. We don't know what kind of food there is, if there is supposed to be a shortage. We know there are numerous poor, we see almost nothing of them through Kitty's eyes. We know almost nothing besides the supposed terrible injustice of the ranking system of the future.

The plot is well-done. It is fast-paced, it makes sense most of the time, but it is plagued with unnecessary holes the likes of which one single stupid action could have eliminated a countless amount of headache within the plot.

The Characters: Kitty is the weakest character in the book, in terms of believability. Her actions are completely stupid initially, but she grew to accept her fate. I am not criticizing the fact that she chooses to become a prostitute, I am criticizing her dubious choice of a very disturbing career (because really, few sex workers do it for the joy of the job). Being a laborer is a tough job, but an honest day's work, and I seriously question her choice in choosing one occupation over the other. I have no problem at all with prostitution, I just question her choices. Furthermore, she gapes at being forced to marry a boy (Knox, a really nice boy, actually) whereas she hardly blinks at giving her virginity over the the highest bidder.

Kitty's character is supremely inconsistent. She is supposed to be smart, though dyslexic, which makes it difficult for her to learn written things. Given her learning disabilities and her lack of skills, it completely makes no sense to me that she plays the role of very upper-class, highly educated Lila almost flawlessly. Kitty becomes too perfect to be true, she is too damned adaptable to be real. It is the equivalent of a My Fair Lady transformation, complete with accent and education and attitude, within the span of two weeks. She also becomes a spectacular orator, giving a rousing speech to a crowd of 20,000 people without any trouble. I don't fucking buy it.

Without a doubt, the best characters in the book are the side cast. I absolutely loved the boys in this book. There is a mild romance within this book, and an almost-love-triangle, but it didn't bother me. The guys in this book are so freaking fantastic, and I loved them both.

We have the wonderful Benjy, Kitty's so very loyal boyfriend, who will stick with her through thick and thin, who doesn't care about the fact that Kitty is a lowly III.
“I’m never better off without you,” he said. “We’re in this together. I love you, and that’s never going to change, all right? I’m yours no matter what your rank is. You could be a I, and I would go Elsewhere just to find you.”
And we have the wonderful Knox, Lila's fiancé, who becomes Kitty's reluctant ally, who does more for her than I would have done.

The "bad guys" are wonderfully written. They have depths, they are not purely black and white in their evilness, and I found them believable and sympathetic.
I loved her, but I have a duty to my country. We all do. And I will not allow us to return to that dark time. My grandson will not go through what I did. No one ever will again.
Overall: a well-written book that is enjoyable if you overlook the extremely vague and inconsistent world building and mildly annoying main character.
Profile Image for Cyna.
219 reviews262 followers
February 27, 2016
So Pawn. It's a dystopian novel by Aimee Carter.

what can you do

t-th-th-th-th-that's all folks

Ugh, I wish. I mean, that is basically the gist of it, if you wanted the tl;dr version, but there's so much absurd fuckery that no joke, I actually considered doing a chapter-by-chapter snark-along. This book is just fuckin' perfect for it, fuckery abounds on every page. However, one (and a half) read-throughs were enough for me, so instead, this review is just going to be long. Very long. So long. I'm sorry.


The biggest shame of all when it comes to Pawn is that Carter has a really solid premise here. We open to a Terrible Dystopian Society on the day that our heroine, Kitty, has performed terribly on the test that will literally decide the course of her future. See, Kitty lives in a future-world where every citizen, on their seventeenth birthday, is tested, and has their worth to society ranked on a scale of 1 to 7. It's implied the test gauges intelligence, possibly among other things, and the higher the score, the more prospects you have, and the better the life that awaits you.

Kitty ranks a 3 III, not because she isn't exceptionally intelligent - this is YA, fuck you very much, and it shall not stand for an average heroine - but because she is dyslexic and illiterate, and thus unable to finish the test. As a III, Kitty is deemed fit only for sewer maintenance, and a life of poverty and degradation. II is just about the lowest anyone can be ranked before they're carted off Elsewhere, the final destination for criminals, and likely the mentally and physically handicapped.

I’d seen the posters and heard the speeches. Everyone had. We all had our rightful place in society, and it was up to us to decide what that was. Study hard, earn good grades, learn everything we could, and prove we were special. And when we turned seventeen and took the test, we would be rewarded with a good job, a nice place to live, and the satisfaction that we contributed to our society - everything we would ever need to lead a meaningful life.

So hey, this is good stuff, right? I mean as far as YA dystopians go, I was kinda impressed. The Thing the dystopia is built around is relevant, pressing, not too abstract. There's a Point there, a Thing that needs to be addressed: standardized testing and the SATs and the school system that rewards certain kinds of intelligence and undervalues others; the benefits that come with wealth and privilege, the self-perpetuating system that keeps the same people in power, that makes poverty so hard to break out of, that shunts off those it considers useless or a-typical, maybe even a nod to our flawed-as-fuck justice system. There's some meaty shit in here, and if this book really engaged with any of it, it could be fucking phenomenal. If this were about a girl, ambitious and fiercely dissatisfied, ready to smash the system, to join the resistance, to do something, anything, for herself, I'd be down, man.

Instead, there's a boy. There's always a boy. This is, after all, a dystopian by Aimee Carter, whose Goddess series drove us coin to the term "man-tivation"*.

*on this blog. Others may have coined it somewhere else.

So when we meet Kitty, and we discover that she's a III, and what that means, we also learn that she's not exactly upset for herself. I mean, she's not thrilled with the prospect of lifelong sewer maintenance, but mostly, she's upset because this means disaster for her and her boyfriend, Benjy. Kitty is assigned to move to Denver, which separates her and the yet-to-be-ranked Benjy. They consider running away together, or getting married, but-

“Of course I want to marry you, but you haven’t even taken the test yet, and what if being married to a III affects your rank? I can’t do that to you, Benjy. You deserve better than that.”

I would have done anything to make him happy, but because of my stupid III, I was going to hurt him no matter what I did. At least this way I would be the one risking everything, not him.

So instead of apparently fucking up Benjy's test by marrying him - would the testers really even know or care...? - or running away with him, or following through with her assignment in Denver, Kitty opts to...run away to a brothel and auction off her virginity.

I took a shaky breath. “Please don’t do that to me. Don’t make me be the reason your life is ruined. You won’t lose me, I promise. I’ll come see you every day, and when you turn seventeen, you can take your test, and then we’ll both be okay.”

I mean, let's be clear - this isn't for Kitty, or at least, it is only indirectly. Kitty opts for prostitution so that a) marriage doesn't fuck up Benjy's chances to score well on the test, b) she doesn't ruin *his* life by playing a part in his becoming a fugitive, and c) so they aren't physically separated.

I just, what?

Benjy then asks to fuck her before she goes, because he wants to be her first, and Kitty explains it's a no-go, because her virginity makes her more valuable, and I try not to vomit.

“I know,” I whispered. “But I have to. And by the time it’s over, we’ll have enough saved up to get out of here. Go anywhere we want. You’ll have your pick of assignments, and we’ll never have to worry about any
of this again. Until then…” My mouth went dry, and I tightened my grip on his hand. “Until then, I think we
should break up.”

Benjy stiffened beside me, but he didn’t say a word. He didn’t have to.

“You’re right,��� I said. “You deserve better than this. Better than having me as a girlfriend. Better than having me ruin your life. So—let’s not anymore. Not until it’s over. When you’re a VI, if you still want me...”


You know, I get it. I do. This shit happens, and I almost admire Carter's willingness to go dark and depict the kind of circumstances that might lead a person to prostitution with a minimum amount of slut-shaming or judgement. Exceeeept that a) we'll soon see that this gun was never really loaded in the first place, and b) for fuck's sake, Carter, can we just not have a heroine whose life revolves around a guy?!? Can we not?


But whatever, it doesn't matter, because actual prostitution was never in the cards. At her auction, Kitty is purchased by none other than the prime minister of our totalitarian regime, Daxton Hart - yes that is his real name - which is when the flap summary plot finally kicks in.

Thanks to her "bizarre blue eyes" - bizarre blue eyes, jfc, are you fucking kidding me? ughhh - Kitty is the best available candidate for Masking, a plastic surgery-type procedure that will alter basically every aspect of her body to match the Daxton's niece, who has been stealthily dispatched by the government. Apparently science and medicine are capable of altering literally everything about a person right down to the sound of her voice, but is totally at a loss when it comes to eye color. Right.

At any rate, in "exchange for her service", the Prime Minister is willing to bump Kitty's rank from a III to a VII, which means that she and Benjy can be together and it won't inconvenience Benjy in the least! Yaaaaaaaaaaaay, optimal outcome!

Of course, the PM doesn't actually tell Kitty about the Masking until after its done - she expects the VII in exchange for her service as a mistress, which makes waking up with Lila's face a bit of a shock.

So at this point, I'm pretty much still on board. The boyfriend stuff is annoying, but it's an interesting premise that should work fairly well for a tense dystopian thriller. Kitty is blackmailed into agreeing to masquerade as Lila for an indeterminate amount of time, learning the ropes from Lila's mother, Celia, and fiancee, Knox, so that she can fool the public and undo the political damage the real Lila had caused as a figurehead for the obligatory rebellion. Solid idea, solid conflict, lots of potential.

And then the narrative just sort if...unravels? Like it's not sure what direction to take the premise in or how, so it just chooses all of them and then jumps around, being "about" a bunch of things without ever settling on one.

You'd think the bulk of it would be about Kitty leaning to become Lila, having to live her life on a tight rope, always afraid of stumbling and exposing her true self. And it is, but only briefly. Kitty spends way less time leaning than you would expect - a few weeks, which works out to two and a half chapters, max - and there are maybe three instances in total where she has to publicly play the part. Plus, almost the entire family is in on the switch, so the tension of whether or not Kitty will expose herself is rarely, if ever, present.

Honestly, there was so much shit going on and I guess being set up for the rest of the trilogy that I had no idea what this particular installment's conflict would be until it actually happened. There are so many fucking subplots introduced - the rebellion bombing government buildings and mounting an attack on the Hart family compound, Celia's efforts to persuade Kitty to resume Lila's anti-government activities, Kitty's thwarted attempts to prove to Benjy that she's alive, and of course, her impending marriage to/developing feelings for Lila's fiancee Knox, plunking a goddamn love triangle down right smack in the middle of this overstuffed mess.

The love triangle actually takes more of a back seat when Benjy shows up for the last half of the novel - rendering the whole Daxton subplot needlessly distracting at best - but I'm sure it's something that'll be come back up in later installments.

For all I enjoyed the potential of the dystopia, all of the relevant social issues more or less fall by the wayside - AFTER, of course, Kitty discovers that the "Elsewhere" that criminals and lower-ranked members of society are whisked away to is actually a fucking reserve where the ruling elite go to shoot people for sport.



This, by the way, is how Kitty's foster mother dies.


FYI, that is literally the most cartoonish fucking thing you can ever have a villain do. Like, when it comes to mustache-twirling levels of villainy, there's tying a woman to the railroad tracks, and right below that, then there's this. I mean - you can't even expect people to be horrified by this, because it's basically a joke.



The point is, once things get rolling at the mansion, the social commentary is so much window dressing. We hear a bit about the things that Lila advocates for at her rallies and speeches, and we come to find out that Celia is the head of the rebellion and Knox is her second - which is apparently supposed to be a surprise?!? - but it's all utterly unimportant to the plot of this novel. Family drama is what ultimately emerges victorious from the scuffle of Potential Things this Book Could be About, and serves as the catalyst for this book's climax.

Basically, Celia is upset that her brother and their mother, Augusta - who wields the real power behind the throne, and we'll get to that later - murdered Lila, so she initially masterminds an assassination attempt on Daxton, which Kitty botches, and later kidnaps her nephew, Augusta's favorite grandchild, in an effort to exact revenge. And it's riiiiight around that first assassination attempt that this shit just dissolves.

If you need a moment to get a soda or something, now would probably be a good time to do that. Cuz we're about to get a whoooooooole lot more in-depth.


Read the rest of the review at You're Killing.Us
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,981 followers
December 4, 2013
Here a clone, there a clone, everywhere a clone, clone?

Mini spoilers ahead about the confusing nature of the characters, but no big plot reveals.

The only thing more disturbing than a clone scenario would have been clowns.

So... a girl takes a placement test and ends up getting put on the bottom tier of society advantage. She gets the opportunity to become a higher class if she hides the truth of how she got there. This is when everything goes to hell in a handbasket.

You know how high fantasy books have a map in the front? I felt like I needed a spreadsheet just to keep track of which people were supposed to be doing what, and who was actually telling the truth about their persona.

It's not like Pawn was a difficult read because it wasn't. I zipped through this in less than a day and had no trouble following the story itself. My only hurdle had to do with characters coming and going, and a bunch of dangers which were retracted, then acted upon again.

In a way, I think this book should have been shortened a touch and made into a prequel, simply because it laid a lot of character groundwork without really moving the story along. It wasn't really until the last 25% when we started to find out about the rebellion, instead of being privy to one huge game of "invasion of the body snatchers."

By body snatchers, I am referring to the process of being "masked," in which one person has surgery to look like another. Plastic surgery - all the cool kids are doing it. I wasn't buying the ease of how things such as height and skin were so easily changed, but whatever.

There is a potential love triangle alert. I don't know how far the author is going to go with it, but I found my heart sort of sinking when I realized that the "other" guy was being set up to be infinitely more interesting that the current love interest (who I liked at the start, but ended up becoming a bore far too quickly).

Knox (the other guy), with his reading glasses and secretive ways, amused me frequently.
"I have a boyfriend."
"Yes, you do," he said. Me."
"One I actually like."
"You'll learn to like me eventually," said Knox. "Most people do."

Benjy (the faithful boyfriend) was cute like a puppy dog to start, but his personality didn't get much of a chance to develop. This is really too bad, because we don't see many lead characters with long reddish hair. It's kind of unique.

I was getting sort of a vibe similar to The Selection with the class building and love interests both being set up in the current location of the house of government, which made me sort of nervous.

What makes this story readable is potential of rebellion to come. Kitty, our lead character, is going to have to choose between the safety of herself and her loved ones, or making a difference in the world.

Readers who want to move away from the heavy focus on romance will eventually find a few scenes to be disturbing and eerie. Violence does come into play when citizens are shown as nothing but dispensable objects to be moved around as pawns by the people who rule the roost.

We went around in circles a few times before we finally started getting somewhere, but I'm intrigued enough to see what happens next.

This book provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes taken from the pre-published copy and may be altered or omitted from the final copy.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,447 reviews1,111 followers
April 4, 2016
This book has me a bit torn. I immensely enjoyed the plot as it unravels and the characters were nicely done. The writing moves at a rapid pace that constantly left me wondering where things would go next. And on the flip side was an inadequately built world around them.

Kitty has grown up in a world where people take a single test that determine what kind of life you will have. A six is the best (government officials, etc), a four is average and a one gets you sent Elsewhere, never to be seen of heard from again. However there is one class above it all. The elite sevens- of which only the Hart family members are privileged enough to be. When Kitty tests out as a three and is to be separated from her boyfriend she makes a few frowned upon choices and winds up with a very strange "offer" to become a seven. Next thing she knows she is Lila Hart! To protect those she loves she is enticed to become Prime Minister Hart's pawn.

Through the early parts of the book I wanted to knock some common sense into Kitty. She is very naive and oblivious to a lot going on. She is the perfect pawn, never asking questions. I often found myself disappointed with her. On the flip side, the other characters seemed very well done. There is room for doubt as I was stuck inside Kitty's head for the duration of the book but from what I read, each of them has hidden depths and multiple sides that are periodically revealed to the reader.

The world in which Kitty lives makes no sense. How did America become ruled over by a single family? How have they remained in power? The explanation is weak and filled with holes. For some countries that have always lived in government fear, this might have worked but I don't see America ever accepting such a thing. Revolts and riots would be way out of hand and overthrown such a concept. In many ways, the government system is similar to the one used in Kiera Cass's 'Selection' series. Yet it bothers me more here with what the plot focus is. Political games is much higher in this book.

There are several twists and turns in this book. Each character has their own agenda and secret(s). Everyone. Alliances seems to alter. Some real, others false and each time you think a character is going to zig, they zag. This had be distrustful of the characters and not quite sure how things would turn out. Some twists were obvious but some of the personality ones in particular were intriguing. People's motivations especially.

Overall, the book is an enjoyable read. I just need to pretend that the setting is somewhere other than the US. It is a fast read (seems shorter than it is) and is easy to get through. I will be continuing this series. The ending left enough to continue on that my mind will not put this series at rest. So while not an overly heavy cliffhanger awaits, there is enough of an edge to leave me wanting more.
3 & a 1/2 stars.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.*
Profile Image for Sema.
164 reviews29 followers
December 10, 2020
Oxuyanların 95%-i kitaba bayıldığı üçün gözləntilərim var idi. Amma nə hadisələrin gedişatı məni çox təəccübləndirdi, nə də obrazlara çox isinə bilmədim. Yenə də oxuduğuma peşman deyiləm.
511 reviews211 followers
December 1, 2013

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.

The characters.

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.

The writing:

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!

Profile Image for Evie.
714 reviews930 followers
October 11, 2013
Think you've read all the dystopians out there and nothing can possibly surprise you, let alone blow your mind to pieces? Well, think again! Aimee Carter's latest YA novel has everything an awesome dystopian story should have - a thrilling, well-thought-out premise, complex world-and-character building, breathtaking action and a fabulous shock factor with a side of WOW! It's fresh. It's original. And it's certainly worth picking up.

The world Aimee Carter has crafted is quite a fascinating one. Twisted and disturbing in more ways than you can imagine. The political scene is described in detail - with lots of intrigue, dark secrets and backstabbing. As the story progresses, we learn all we need to know about the history of the world, too. For a fast-paced and action-packed story, PAWN's worldbuilding is surprisingly thorough. Most importantly, there's no info-dumping. We learn things as we go farther into the story. Things about the political situation and the family in charge of the country, as well as what is happening behind the scenes (economic situation, brewing rebellion, corruption). All that is revealed to us one thing at a time, and it's cleverly incorporated into the action, in that it doesn't weigh down on the pacing. Moreover, there are aspects of the story that will send a cold shiver down your spine and make your jaw drop to the floor. Trust me on this one, you'll be just as shocked and mind-numbingly disturbed as I was when you'll learn what Elsewhere really is. Aimee Carter does not hold back in this book.

If you've read The Goddess Test series, you're probably well aware of how entertaining and captivating Aimee's prose is. She knows exactly what to do to keep her readers glued to the pages. PAWN is no exception. If anything, it's even more absorbing and compelling. The swiftly moving action is full of unexpected twists and turns. There's always something happening - no breaks, no slower moments, no boring descriptions and pointless chit-chats. It's 100% pure entertainment, sprinkled with drama and intrigue.

The characters are likeable, even our badass little Kitty with her cute little name. If you think that a heroine with a name like that can't possibly be fierce and feisty, well, you're wrong. By the end of the book, our little kitten morphs into a real lioness.

There's a love story in this book, too, though it takes the back seat to everything else. Just the way I like it! And thankfully, no love triangles and no sappiness! PAWN is essentially about Kitty and how she finds herself between a rock and a hardplace. Manipulated, threatened and forced to cooperate, she has to make some really difficult decisions. Decisions that will affect not only her life, but also the lives of everyone she knows, everyone she cares about. This story is about sacrifice, freedom, fighting for yourself, but also fighting for what is right, what is worth fighting for. Even if it means letting go of your dreams and saying goodbye to your life. It's also about realizing that even in the worst situations, faced with our worst fears, we are still the ones in charge of our fates. And when standing at the crossroads, we're the ones deciding which road we'll take.

So, if you're looking for a fresh and entertaining new dystopian series to get lost in, but you're also craving complexity and meaning, PAWN is the book you should read next.
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews767 followers
July 26, 2016
With the dystopian genre so exhausted, it’s nice when a book comes along which seems to offer something different. And Pawn for me did start that way. In Kitty’s world everyone at the age of 17 is put through a test, this determines the individuals “ranking” and what sort of job they end up with afterwards. The higher the number the individual ends up with the better job they end up getting. Kitty has the potential to do well but ends up messing up her test and leaves with a III. It’s not the best situation she could have hoped for, but the she gets an offer she can’t refuse, Daxton Hart the prime minister offers Kitty the chance to be a number VII, Kitty accepts without thinking things through, but a number VII is something she never imagined and at least this way it will give her a chance to be with her boyfriend Benjy too.

But being a Vll isn’t as Kitty imagined to be, by accepting she accepted in Daxton’s terms to be transformed into Lila Hart, Daxton’s niece . I was intrigued by this entire concept, at having read something similar being done in Airhead (a book which I adored) I wanted to see how Carter would pull this one off. There was a potential for all this to go wrong and Daxton to pull out his power card and mess everything up for those who Kitty held dear. So Kitty’s life was in the balance. Also like our MC in Airhead Kitty is gripping onto her life in the past anyway possible, despite a great life being presented to her and a decent fiancée in Knox, all Kitty wanted was Benjy. There wasn’t a love triangle between Kitty, Knox and Benjy in this story which I’m grateful for, but for one reason I kind of didn’t see the appeal of Benjy, yes he was a sweet, loyal and intelligent guy, but I wanted Carter to mix it up a little and maybe drop Benjy a little bit .

The first half of the story is the sole reason I’m giving Pawn three stars, and I think Carter had the potential to deliver a solid first book in this series, but ended up deciding to give us too much in the second half. All we got instead was people threatening each other with ultimatums all over the place. Some characters did come into their own and made this book for me, but by the end it was all a bit of Airhead meets The Lost Girl. Pawn unfortunately wasn’t one of the best dystopians I read this year, but I’m sure will have a lot to offer for many other readers.
Profile Image for Renata.
439 reviews281 followers
November 26, 2016
Me ha gustado la idea de este libro, de cómo es la sociedad y qué tiene que hacer Kitty, la protagonista, para ayudar a los que quiere. Sí que le vi muchas cosas negativas, por ejemplo la falta de introducción del mundo, que explique mejor las políticas, pero en general fue una lectura breve y bastante interesante.
Profile Image for Tuğba.
106 reviews58 followers
February 9, 2018
Çok sevdiğim bir türdür distopya. Okurken hep çok keyif alırım. Aimee Carter'in Piyon-Vezir-Şah isimli kitaplarından oluşan serisi de ilk çıktığı günden beri dikkatimi çekmişti. Okurlar tarafından hep övgüyle bahsedilmesi ve seriye olan merakım biran önce başlamama sebep oldu. Yüksek beklentilerle okuduğum Piyondan (ilk kitap) ne yazık ki çok keyif alamadım, beklediğimin epey altında kaldı. Okuması oldukça kolay (NYT Best Seller olmasından az çok tahmin edilebilir bir özellik bu aslında) hatta akıcı da fakat karakterlerin diyalogları bana çok yapay geldi. Ele alınan konu açısından (En yüksek sınıf rütbeye sahip olan ve ülkeyi yöneten Hart ailesindeki taht savaşları; Kitty Doe'ya uyguladıkları maskeleme yöntemi, Başkayer denen ortam v.b bileşenler) oldukça ilgi çekiciydi fakat dil ve kurgu yer yer beni hikayeden soğuttu. Çoğu kişinin aksine ben kitabın başlarda daha iyi olup sonlara doğru bozduğunu düşünüyorum. Sanki sırf bir akıcılık, heyecan olsun diye hikaye bir yerlere taşınmaya çalışılmış hissi uyandırdı bende. Özellikle Knox ve Kitty ile ilgili oluşturulmuş diyaloglar çok samimiyetsiz geldi bana. Kitty'nin Knox'a pek güven duymamasına karşın Knox'un ona "Güven bana Benjy'i koruyacağım, ona zarar gelmeyecek" gibi söylemleri, sonra koruyamaması, sonra tekrar aynı güveni Kitty üzerinde sağlamaya çalışması inandırıcılıktan uzaktaydı. Ayrıca çok fazla düşünce (cümle) tekrarı yapılmış. Hikayeyi çok anlatmak istemiyorum aslında, bahsedeceğim herşey spoilera girebilecek nitelikte ama beni benden alan (olumsuz anlamda) bir diğer kısım ise Lila ile ilgili olan gerçekti. Bu ve benzeri birçok kısım açıkçası bana zorlama gibi geldi. Ahhh bir de metindeki yazım hataları var tabi. Bir hikayeyi ne kadar seversem seveyim yazım ile ilgili hatalara rastladığım an bir puan otomatikman düşüyorum değerlendirmeden. Üşenmedim tek tek her hatalı kelime/cümleyi işaretledim.

Okuduğum bir kitabı ya da seriyi -ne olursa olsun- yarıda bırakmayı sevmediğim için seriye ikinci kitap Vezir ile devam ediyorum. Umarım bu okuma Piyon'dan bir tık daha iyi olur benim için.

Profile Image for Glass.
643 reviews4 followers
November 25, 2013
Review from Ja čitam, a ti?

I didn't expect much. A lot of my friends didn't like Goddess Test by Aimee Carter and they warned me that I might not like Pawn. I decided to give it try anyhow and I'm glad I did. Pawn maybe did start a little bit "clumsy", but premise of this novel is so intriguing and the rest of it was really good.

One corrupted family, one low ranking girl, unexpected circumstances and few new friends. Judging by available advanced copies of books, it looks like dystopian genre is, at the moment, the most popular. That got me thinking about this whole obsession. Is it possible that every dystopian novel has fresh, new plot? Different fictional world? Can authors avoid predictability an cliches of the genre? Give us something unexpected? Answer would be hardly, but they can try. Aimee Carter tried and I think a lot of readers would be happy with what she managed to do. It is the most logical thing that even Pawn has few predictable points - like the way how new society is organized or the fact that one low ranking girl will try to change things. Even her love interest. But that is where all the similarities end.

Political games, revolution and cruelty. If you are expecting a story where future of humanity is based with who our main heroine will end up, you've picked the wrong book. Kitty Doe is "second child" - you can have only one child in this new reality. If you by a chance get second, you have to give it up. At the age of seventeen everyone takes test that will determine their role. If you rank the lowest, you're sent Elsewhere. Kitty barely manages to avoid that faith, but she doesn't want to leave her friends behind so she goes rogue. That is where her life takes completely different turn - she wakes up in the body of another girl - Lila Hart, one of the most important persons in the country. Kitty has to survive and in the meantime decide will she be a puppet, a pawn or she'll take matters in her own hand and do something with all the knowledge about what hides behind perfect picture of their leading family. Aimee Carter smartly deals with educational system of our own time - how we are told that if we are good students, we will have bright, promising future, but in the reality that holds so little importance when it comes to positions of influence and power. We still live in society where future leaders are determined by inheritance, money and legacy of their fathers.

Should you read this book? If you consider yourself a fan of dystopian novels, you should. This is not Hunger Games, but still I believe it will be one of the series that will offer us something worth reading.

***Note! Copy of this book was kindly provided by publisher, Harlequin Teen, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. We are not paid for writing reviews.***
Profile Image for Natalia.
92 reviews151 followers
March 3, 2014
"At least now you have enough food to eat," he said. "At least now you can sleep safe in your bed and not fear your neighbors ransacking your home and murdering your entire family."

"Why would I fear my neighbors when my government does it for them?"

Yes, this piece of dialogue describes perfectly well the kind of society we deal with in this book.
Kitty Doe lives in a world where everyone is ranked into castes ranging from I to VII, with I being viewed upon as the wastes and sent Elsewhere, and VII consisting of the ruling family of Harts. At seventeen, everyone takes a test and is branded with the numeral of the group they earned on the back of their neck. They are assigned a job and a place to live, thus having their entire life planned ahead for them. This government doesn't tolerate people with special needs and problems (like autism, dyslexia, etc.) and elderly people, who can no longer fulfill their duty. You step out of line, and you get shot.

After failing her test and getting a III, which would guarantee only a job as a sewage worker in Denver, far away from her boyfriend Benji, our heroine Kitty Doe decides she would rather become a prostitute and stay close to home. She never gets to do the job, though. After one reckless decision she made in the very first chapter, Kitty is pulled into a whirlwind of intrigue and conspiracies that not only change her whole life, but her identity and appearance as well.

The idea of a dystopian world where people are ranked into groups is not new to me, I've already read about such society in The Selection. And I should say that the world building is vague and flimsy in both books, with laughable explanations how it all came to be and next to none information about the rest of the world. In Pawn China was mentioned once, but that's all. We only know that American economy just collapsed about 70 years ago, and some clever dude usurped all the power in the country. And we are supposed to believe that all people were just okay with it? And come on, Aimee Carter, WHAT ABOUT OTHER COUNTRIES AND CONTINENTS? Did their economy collapse too? Has America somehow separated itself from the global economy? Well, it's anyone's guess what really happened. So as scary as the world is in this book, I'm not buying it.

And while in The Selection I was distracted with the romance the story seemed to revolve around, In Pawn the romance is barely there at all. Yes, Kitty has a boyfriend Benji, and I know they are supposed to be in love, but I just don't feel it. There is no chemistry between them, no sparks. In fact, it seemed like the only reason Benjy was in the story is to be used as a leverage against Kitty, a hostage. Seriously, just how many times exactly can Kitty be threatened with Benjy’s life to make her cooperate? It’s always the same pattern:

N: ”You have to do it.”
Kitty: “No, I won’t do it.”
N: “Okay, but then Benjy will be sent Elsewhere or killed.”
Kitty: “You win, I’ll do it”.

After a couple of repetitions, this really started to annoy me.

Also, just like a lot of other reviewers, I was both amused and confused by the fact that, in this world, medical technology is so advanced that they can surgically change a person's appearance completely, but they can't get a pair of contact lenses to change eye color. How is this believable?

So, with the lack of decent world building and romance I could root for, I was left with all the plotting and scheming and intrigues that constituted most of the plot. I found most of them predictable, and really .
And since I didn't find any of the characters compelling, I didn't care much about all those twists either.

Yes, in the end it always comes down to this: do I like the characters? Interesting characters = enjoyable book, bland characters = me counting pages until I can be done with it or DNFinishing the book altogether. Regrettably, this story is in the latter category. Every single character seemed flat and underdeveloped, Kitty included. It was hard for me to follow everyone's logic and reasoning and motivations.

I won't be picking the next installment.

P.S. I follow the Goodreads rating system, so my giving this book two stars doesn't mean it was bad. It was just okay, I guess, but definitely not my type.

Profile Image for Anne.
4,053 reviews69.5k followers
June 27, 2014
Carter's Goddess Test series was sort of hit and miss for me, but I found it mostly enjoyable. So when I got the chance to read this one, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
Beyond the can she switch from mythology to dystopia question, I was also a bit concerned about the fact that I've read far too many dystopian novels lately. It seems like about every third novel I read has a post-apocalyptic theme to it. Then again, nobody's holding a gun to my head, now are they? If I'm getting a tad blown out on them, I should stop picking them up, right? Otherwise, I should stop whining about it.
Sorry. I'm having an argument with myself when I should be reviewing this book.

At first, I thought Pawn was going to be sort of dry and crunchy.
Society has crumbled and been rebuilt...outlandish caste system...lone girl finds herself in trouble with government...RUN!
But once I got past the first chapter or so, the twists and turns started popping up! And surprisingly there were quite a few times I did the GASP! thing. I just love it when an author manages to smack me upside the head with something that I really had no idea was coming, and Pawn definitely had several of those moments. Couple that with the sci-fiish body double stuff, and it turned into quite the little thrill ride.
I also thought that the caste system was a little more believable than some of the things other authors have come up with. Instead of grouping people on...oh, say personality traits or some such nonsense...you are rated on intelligence, and given your station in life accordingly. If you're super-duper smart you can become a scientist, average brains will score you an office job, and the rest of you dummies will end up sweeping the streets. Supposedly it's a fair system because everyone is given the same education.
Just like the education system we have now is fair and equal across the country.

Kitty is a very bright girl, but her score didn't reflect her intelligence level because of her dyslexia. Rather than be carted off to the coal mines (Ok. I'm making that up, but I can't remember what unsavory job she ended up with.) several states away from her true love, she decides to make a run for it. And by make a run for it, I mean she decides to work as a hooker until her childhood sweetheart takes his test.
Trust me, it makes more sense in the book.
Instead of losing her virginity to the highest bidder, however, she ends up deeply embedded in a massive cover-up instigated by the most powerful man in the country. She wakes up in a strange place only to discover that she's been given an Extreme Makeover.
Kind of like the Bionic Man. "We can rebuild her!"
Except, unlike Lee Majors, she can't run really fast in slow-motion.
I would like to say Thank You to the two people who got that joke!

And that's where the story stops being crunchy, and starts getting twisty. It's good stuff, but I don't wanna be all spoilery.

If you haven't been overwhelmed with these kinds of books lately, I think that Pawn will feel fresh and fun. If you (like me) have read a lot of this genre, I still think it's worth checking out. You may not be as wide-eyed and awestruck as those who haven't been over-exposed to dystopian books, but I think the plot will still hold your attention.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.

Also reviewed for Addicted2Heroines for other cool stuff.
Profile Image for Briar's Reviews.
1,894 reviews518 followers
November 24, 2022
Eons ago I read The Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter. It was a delightful read I picked up in my teens and I loved it. When this book came out, I bought it at a local bookstore and then just didn't read it. It sat on my bookshelf for years (sadly, almost a decade) and I finally decided... it was time.

This book was a delight for me to read! It's fast paced, easy to read, and very intriguing for the entire story/plot behind it all. We've definitely read a lot of book where there are different levels in society, the lower the number the worse off they are, but this one just hit me the right way. It has a lot of YA tropes, but do I care? Nope! Give me the potential love triangle, a potential enemies to lovers, and lots of hidden lore. I AM ALL IN BABY.

If you're looking for some Oscar-like story with a lot of drama and depth, this isn't really the book for you. This book is a YA dystopian with all the drama of the early 2010s. It's still an absolute delight to read, but remember what book you are reading.

Overall, I adored this book and I am definitely grabbing the rest of the books in the series (hopefully not another decade between each one).

Four out of five stars.
589 reviews1,029 followers
November 13, 2013
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

Thank you Harlequin Australia for sending me this copy. No compensation was given or taken to alter this review.

After quite a displeasing debut series by Aimee Carter (The Goddess Test) I wasn't exactly enthused to try Pawn. However when the early reviews started to roll in, I was surprised by the constant great number of positive feedback Aimee Carter's latest was receiving. So I hopped on that train, and was not at all dissatisfied.

Kitty Doe hasn't had the best life. After she was tested and marked as a III, one of the lowest ranks on society ever, at the age of 17, Kitty thinks her life couldn't get any worse. And it does, instead, she gets offered to spend the rest of her life as a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. However she must be Masked, completely transferred into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece who died just recently--and forget about the people she had once cared deeply for before she was offered the offer. Kitty is a notably strong and independent character, only she's being forced to be a pawn on a chessboard or her life will end immediately. Even though Kitty has never been able to read, she is still a fairly intelligent main character. She is not easily swayed by anyone, or just acting on things because it's the right thing to do. She will always think through situations thoroughly, though swiftly before making a big decision. Hasty, ignorant protagonists are always the worse so Aimee Carter made sure there was none of that nonsense.

Here's something that hasn't been happening enough lately: equally lovable supporting characters. This twisted society also has twisted people. The supporting characters like Celia and Knox were certainly trying to do good things, but their histories seemed to be blurred out and their motives often felt odd. Nevertheless in the end I still really enjoyed learning about the way they came to be what they are now. Characters like Celia and Knox definitely have their flaws, but I loved them for their uniqueness--I haven't seen such characters been created like this before.

We most certainly have the obligatory romance. There is a slight nod towards a future love-triangle, but I'm hoping that this will disappear in the next instalment. Anywho, Kitty and Benjy's romance was already developed before Pawn began. I was not 100% happy with that, I wanted to see the build-up yet having something different is nice once in a while. I felt that their romance was wavering, the further we went into the novel but Kitty's constant worry for Benjy's safety was honestly fantastic. It showed that this chemistry was deep and genuine.

My main and pretty much only niggle with Pawn was the plot line. It was truly fantastic, however it felt somewhat hard to follow and with the more elements and mass of characters, it felt like a little too much for me. I loved the idea of faking your identity and becoming someone completely different to oneself but the great quantity of characters, subplots and crazy twists (which I loved, the big one coming but the others were quite shocking) just made Pawn feel awfully convoluted.

A crazily twisted novel with convincing characters and idea, I highly recommend Pawn even if you were not impressed by The Goddess Test.
Profile Image for Avada Kaddavra.
318 reviews56 followers
July 24, 2022
Sehr rasante und spannende Dystopie!
Ich hatte tatsächlich nicht erwartet dass mir das Buch so sehr gefallen würde😱 Die Wendungen und Intrigen machen es relativ undurchsichtig und es ist durchgehend spannend!
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.3k followers
August 14, 2016
It should probably be illegal to keep reading an authors work when you’ve so thoroughly panned it twice before but, you see, I was curious. Take away the horrible plotting and burdensome story of The Goddess Test, could Carter write something I liked, because I always suspected she could. If Pawn had continued in quality from the first half into the second, then I’d probably be giving it four stars right now.

Pawn started out very promising indeed. Kitty, ranked a three in a society that lives and dies by rankings, has two choices. Shovel shit in a far off city away from her beloved boyfriend, or take to prostitution. Figuring prostitution is temporary, she chooses option B but is quickly given a third option. Become the body double of the newly deceased princess.

Kitty, living as Lila Hart, still isn’t safe. She knows her days are numbered and the only way to survive is to play the game and hope she can outsmart the other players. Pawn is really well written and well actualised up until roughly this point. The players are all there, you can see the intrigues and alliances and power plays are all ready to be explored.

Where Pawn lets you down is that they aren’t explored at all. Despite Kitty’s plan to try and outsmart the others, despite the myriad references to a chess match which spawns the title of the book, Kitty does not play or dalliance in any kind of battle of wits. She is a very reactionary character, making decisions and acting on the spur of the moment, often to her detriment. This would be okay, except the other characters fare little better in their plotting. Eventually it becomes a jumbled mess with too many plot holes and not enough sense to see it through to a satisfactory end. I don’t think any characters knew what the fuck they were doing. It kind of feels like the author just kind of went with whatever plot twists occurred to her at that moment.

dog dressed for work

Which means that I want to be annoyed, but I’m not. I’m relatively impressed with this offering from Carter, but still disappointed at the wasted potential. The writing has improved, as has Carter’s use of characterisation and gender roles. Plotting and plotholes aside, the writing and pacing of this book was pretty good – a definite improvement!

This is the third Carter book I’ve read now. I want to read the sequel to this, but doesn’t that constitute some kind of cruel and unusual book reviewing behaviour? On one hand, if I’d hated this book, I’d be like:

I don't know what I expected

But I didn’t hate it, and I doubt many readers will despite its faults. It’s a pretty endearing novel and I’m glad that I read it. So onto the next one for me!

Even if maybe, at this point, Carter is like:

Stabbing you with my mind

This book was given to me for review purposes. No money was exchanged for this review though, ya know, that would have been nice for me.

This review also appears on my blog, Cuddlebuggery Book Blog, along with more like it.
Profile Image for ᒪᗴᗩᕼ .
1,557 reviews152 followers
October 29, 2016
Definition of PAWN:
⇝a chess piece of the smallest size and value. A pawn moves one square forward along its file if unobstructed (or two on the first move), or one square diagonally forward when making a capture. Each player begins with eight pawns on the second rank, and can promote a pawn to become any other piece (typically a queen) if it reaches the opponent's end of the board.
⇝a person used by others for their own purposes.


Book Title: PAWN
Author: Aimee Carter
Narration: Lameece Issaq
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Source: Own Audible Audiobook

♫My Pick for Book Theme Song: See Who I Am by Within Temptation --Well, for a story about a girl who gets a surgical transformation to make her look like another girl, I think it is fitting.♫

⇝Ratings Breakdown⇜

Plot: 3.8/5
Characters: 3.8/5
The Feels: 3.5/5
Addictiveness: 3.5/5
Theme: 4/5
Flow: 4.5/5
Backdrop (World Building): 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Book Cover: 5/5
Narration: 4/5
Ending: 3.8/5 Cliffhanger: sort of

Will I continue this series? ??? It's always possible…

☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 3.7/5 STARS ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

⇝My Thoughts⇜

This Author is from Michigan, which I am also, so I really wanted to like this for that reason alone. And, I will say I liked it, I just wasn't wowed by it. I feel if I had read this when it first came out, (before I read about 50 other dystopians, give or take a few) I would have loved it.
Overall, It's written well, the characters are mostly likeable. There's a plethora of intrigue, secrets, lies and twists; some of which are only mentioned in this first book of the Blackcoat Rebellion Series. And some, unfortunately, that left me feeling confused and disconnected.
⇝Sex Factor⇜ Not really a factor, but there is mention of it.

Profile Image for özlem.
150 reviews52 followers
May 25, 2018
4.5 ama 5 değil.

çoğu distopyadan daha iyi evet, ama sanırım distopik öğelerin bilim kurguyla birleşmesini az okuduğumdan tamamen doyamadım. yine de 2. kitaba başlamak için sabırsızlanıyorum. iyidi ✌
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews908 followers
March 23, 2016
I thought Pawn had such wonderful potential, and I really wanted to love it, but when the main character tends to do things just for the sake of others, with no mind of her own, I tend to start disliking everything she does. Maybe she's vulnerable now, but will be stronger in the future?

The government with the Harth family being the head has devised a system where each new adult will be placed in a caste system. Not original but the idea behind it always intrigued me. I wished there was more back-story as to how this came to be. I did like the family dynamics in this one. There was so much family drama, that I focused on loving that aspect of the book. I really did like the world that Carter set up and I wanted more world building in general.

There's a lot of romance and cheesiness in this one. Lots of laments about how much they love each other and even arguments. But at least Kitty and Benji knew each other when they were younger. That gives some credibility to their love instead of love at first sight since they're already together before the book starts. This one was over the top. Why did Kitty just go with the flow? Why didn't she act on the fact that these people are only using her? I get that she's trying to keep Benji safe, but really.. What about her own life? As for the Hath family.. They are one dysfunctional murderous, conniving family. Minus maybe Greyson, but he had no backbone.

For fans who love a good romance, set in a dystopian world, make sure to grab this one!
Profile Image for Vanessa (bookfairy95).
787 reviews104 followers
July 26, 2020
Zu Beginn wusste ich noch nicht wirklich was ich mit diesem Buch anfangen sollte. Es ist eine Dystopie und davon gibt es ja bekanntlich viele. Nachdem ich viele gute Rezensionen gehört hatte, wollte ich diesem Roman jedoch auch eine Chance geben!

Die Welt, die hier dargestellt wird ist wirklich interessant. Es gibt ein Kastensystem, bei dem man jedoch nicht in eine bestimmte Gesellschaftsschicht hineingeboren wird, sondern es hat den Anschein, dass man sein Schicksal selbst in der Hand hat - was in gewisser Weise auch stimmt - , denn sobald man ein bestimmtes Alter erreicht hat, muss man einen Test ablegen, der deine zukünftige Kaste bestimmt. Lernt man also fleißig, kann man definitiv ein gutes Leben führen. Natürlich sind jedoch die höheren Gesellschaftsschichten besser mit Tutoren etc ausgestattet.

Die Protagonistin Kitty hat wohl eine Leseschwäche, wodurch sie ihren Test in den Sand setzt sehr bald darauf jedoch mit der Entscheidung konfrontiert wird ein Leben in der höchsten Schicht zu führen. Natürlich nicht ohne Bedingungen…

Kitty ist eine Protagonistin wie man sie in der Jugendliteratur häufig sieht. Aus keinen guten Verhältnissen, dafür aber mit einem großen Mund, jeder Menge Tatendrang und Mut. Es war nicht schwer sie zu mögen, jedoch hat sie auch keine Charaktereigenschaften, die sie besonders hervorstechen lassen.

Was die anderen Charaktere betrifft, mag ich aktuell Benjy wohl am liebsten, allerdings habe ich so die Befürchtung, dass er am Schluss in Vergessenheit geraten wird. Benjy und Kitty sind ein Paar und Benjy würde alles für Kitty tun, sogar seine eigene aussichtsreiche Zukunft aufgeben. Es ist der nette Junge von nebenan. Der der unglaublich süß ist. Er hat einen ausgeprägten Beschützerinstinkt, hat aber auch ein bisschen etwas draufgängerisches an sich, dass jedoch nur ganz selten durch geblitzt ist.
Dann gibt es da noch Knox. Knox der das perfekte (?) Leben führt, sich nimmt was er will und eher der verruchte ist. Man weiß nicht wirklich ob man ihm vertrauen kann. Irgendetwas versteckt er, aber trotzdem ist er unglaublich sympathisch in meinen Augen.

Lange Zeit passierte in diesem Buch nicht wirklich etwas. Kitty lebte in ihrer neuen Rolle so dahin und irgendwie gab es Geheimnisse, aber dann wirkte alles wieder als ob es in Ordnung wäre, wenn das Sinn macht? Ich bin mir nicht 100%ig sicher wie ich das beschreiben soll. Die Actionszenen wurden auf jeden Fall sparsam verteilt. Es gab eine lange Einführung in die Welt, die so gar nicht wirklich notwendig war. Erst gegen Ende wurde es dann spannend und in gewisser Weise bin ich schon neugierig wie es wohl weitergehen mag, denn es kamen so manche Dinge ans Licht, die meiner Meinung nach viel Potenzial für Band 2 bringen könnten!
Profile Image for Rinn.
291 reviews213 followers
November 28, 2016
I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads.

Me throughout most of this book?

Yeah. Where to begin? First of all, let’s address the fact that NOWHERE is it explained why Kitty’s society is like this. The people are ‘ranked’ on their seventeenth birthday, given a number from I to VI, with VII only applying to the President and his family. If you’re anything below a III, then it pretty much means you disappear from society in ~mysterious circumstances~. GEE I WONDER WHAT THEY COULD BE? Why does no-one question this?!

The only background information that we get for why this system is in place is because the economy crashed. Sorry, what? Did the people turn feral the moment Wall Street went down? How did everything get built back up? Why are the ranks the best solution? Why can people only have one child? Answers on a postcard, please.

Major issue #2: the ranking system is a big con and NO-ONE REALISES IT. Seriously. If you’re a higher ranking member of society, you’ll be able to access better facilities including healthcare and education. So if you’re raised in a Rank IV environment, you will receive a worse education than those raised in Rank V and VI, meaning you’re more likely to get stuck in that system, then repeat with your children, their children, etc. How has no-one in this society worked this out? That was my immediate thought as soon as I read about the rankings. Kitty is later told this is how it works and is all like ‘Oh yeah that explains it!’… really Kitty, really. No wonder you were marked a Rank III.

And major issue #3, the thing that SERIOUSLY pissed me off and made me want to slap some sense into Kitty?

She would rather become a prostitute to stay near her boyfriend than be given a safe job and be sent to another state.

I just… yeah. That should have set off the alarm bells really. At first I thought their relationship seemed okay, Benjy was someone Kitty had grown up with so it wasn’t insta-love, she wasn’t all despondent about the idea of them being different ranks and it seemed she was thinking more of Benjy’s feelings than their romance. And then she does a complete 180 and makes this ridiculous decision and I just immediately gave up on her as a character.

Oh, there were so many other reasons… Kitty’s virginity is being sold off after she makes her truly awesome decision of becoming a prostitute to keep her teen romance alive, and she is bought by the President. He needs her because she has the same eyes as his niece – who died a week before in a skiing accident. Apparently they can do all this ridiculous surgery to completely transform someone, but the eyes can’t be changed! Contacts? What are they? So yeah, Kitty is ‘bought’, smuggled out of the brothel and wakes up a week later completely transformed. And she really doesn’t seem that freaked out by the fact that these people have abducted her and utterly changed her appearance into that of Lila Hart, the President’s niece, without her consent. Cool.


Lila has a fiancee. A fiancee that Kitty now has to marry, as Lila. A fiancee that I can see her eventually falling in love with and then oh no LOVE TRIANGLE. Towards the end of the book she also has to do something really big in order to save her life and those of whom she loves, and she chickens out halfway – where is her sense of self-preservation?! It really frustrates me when people talk big about how they will protect their loved ones, but they can never go through with it. And one final thing – I am expecting the next book or somewhere in the series to reveal that Kitty’s parents were VIs or even VIIs and therefore she is ~special~. But I won’t know, because I won’t be reading book number two, no thank you.
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
November 7, 2013
3.5 stars

Once you turn 17 your life is ranked by the number branded to the back of you neck. It establishes your importance into society. A society that promises that the citizens will be taken care of, but you have to give back first. Everyone has their role to play, but it just so happens that Kitty Doe is a III (3)…well, it’s better then being a I (1) and going Elsewhere. Still, the life she was hoping for with her boyfriend, Benjy feels even more impossible so when Prime Minister Daxton offers Kitty the life of a VII (7) she agreed but not understanding the consequences. Kitty was Masked, altered to be Lila Hart, one of the most important girls in the country, but at a price that not only cost Kitty her identity but her life and the only life she wanted with Benjy.

To be honest, I was very conflicted throughout this entire book. There were some things that worked and didn't work for me when reading Pawn. Already a big fan of Aimee Carter’s Goddess Test series, I’m very comfortable with the way this woman can write and was surprised how amazingly put together this story is. Carter doesn't waste anytime moving her characters in a game of scandalous politics and conspiracy set in a world that is merciless, corrupt and unfair. But I fear that there are just too many head-games, threats, lies, betrayal and deception that it made it incredibly hard for me to like or be invested with any of these characters with the exception of Kitty and Benjy. There is so much back-stabbing and pointless murders, even within the Hart family that it made the entire story-line feel untrustworthy and lacked the essential point of what has been sacrificed and fought for. Hope. There just doesn't seem to be enough of it.

With that said, I still found this book to be quite fascinating. I have always had a hard time with books that are overly political, but Carter has spun a very carefully crafted plot that has more then it’s share of twist and turns to keep the readers guessing and on their toes. I also really love the fact that we have an already established romance. I love watching characters fall in love in stories, but it’s really nice to be able to sink into how they already feel for one another and enjoy their moments between them without having to guess or worry about how things move along. Kitty and Benjy have a wonderfully sweet relationship that kept me committed throughout the story and thankfully there isn't a love triangle insight.

I have a hard time expressing my feeling’s for some of these characters since all of them seem to have their own secrets and agendas, twisting my stomach with pure hatred for the things they have done or threatened to do.
Daxton and Augusta are cold, unflinching manipulative characters that will do anything to uphold the Hart family name and needs and while I liked Celia most of the time, even she had underhanded moments that surprised me, but really shouldn't have. Knox and Greyson seem friendly and genuine enough but the way these characters use each other as a means to an end even has be doubting them as well. I guess only time will show their true intentions.
The only real characters that I seem to have cared about or trusted was Kitty and Benjy. Kitty is a spunky character that was thrown into a world even more horrific then the one she left. While Benjy played the ever loyal and loving boyfriend any girl would be lucky to have.

All in all, this may have turned out to be only a decent read for myself, but I’m sure fans will enjoy the political edge, thrilling mystery, suspense and light romance that this book has to offer. I may not have always been entertained by the things that happened, but I was always intrigued right till the very end and curious enough to want to know what happens next.
Profile Image for Lou.
238 reviews126 followers
June 11, 2018
Person: What are you reading?
Me: I'm reading Pawn
Person: *gives me a look and backs away slowly*
Me: NO, wait! Not like that! Come baaaack.....

But, really though, who names their book Pawn? Someone with a mind not as low as mine apparently.
Profile Image for Yara Adorablebooks.nl.
265 reviews137 followers
November 15, 2015
DIT. BOEK. SERIEUS! Aimee Carter is echt een vreselijk goede YA schrijfster en na de Godinnentest-trilogie dacht ik niet dat ze een betere serie kon schrijven. But she did! De recensie komt gauw op Adorable Books.
Profile Image for Fernwehwelten.
323 reviews211 followers
April 8, 2020
In der Welt von Kitty wird jedes Leben von einer Prüfung bestimmt. Sie sagt aus, in welchen Rang du gehörst – und somit, wie viel dein Leben wert ist. Kitty ist eine III. Ihr steht ein Leben voller Einschränkungen und niederster Arbeiten bevor. Doch dann bekommt sie ein Angebot, das sie nicht abschlagen kann: Die Hochstufung in Rang VII. Zu spät wird Kitty bewusst, worauf sie sich eingelassen hat.

Ich war überrascht davon, wie dünn „Blackcoat Rebellion“ ist. Wie sollte es der Autorin innerhalb der kurzen Zeit gelingen, mich in eine komplett neue Welt einzuführen und gleichzeitig einen packenden Handlungsbogen aufzubauen? Doch es ist ihr gelungen.
Aimee Carter erzählt in dem Auftakt ihrer neuen Trilogie die Geschichte einer Protagonistin, die nicht in das System passt, das ihre Welt beherrscht. Bei dem Versuch, sich selbst und ihrem Freund eine besser Zukunft zu ermöglichen, gerät sie in ein erschreckendes Spiel aus Intrigen und Machtkämpfen. Das Buch legt dabei ein gutes Tempo vor, lässt dem Leser keine großen Verschnaufpausen und zieht ihn stattdessen immer weiter in den Bann einer grausamen Welt, beherrscht von einer Familie voller Geheimnisse. Mehrmals wurde ich von unerwarteten Wendungen überrascht und mit jedem Mal stieg meine Neugierde auf das, was hinter all dem stecken würde, was als Brotkrumen über die Seiten verstreut wurde. Doch obwohl in meinen Augen schon viel aus den verhältnismäßig wenig Seiten gemacht wurde, glaube ich, dass einige Aspekte der Erzählung dennoch zu wenig Platz zur Entfaltung hatten. Es wurden viele spannende Charaktere eingeführt und interessante Blicke auf die erdachte Weltordnung freigegeben – jedoch hätten sie bei anderer Ausführung definitiv stärker wirken können! Vielleicht hätte dieses Buch sogar die Chance auf 5 Sterne gehabt, wenn es schlichtweg noch etwas „mehr“ gewesen wäre. So bin ich bei 4 Sternchen ausgekommen und hoffe, dass sich im Verlauf der Reihe vielleicht etwas mehr Zeit für die Dinge genommen wird, die eine Geschichte abseits der Handlung ausmachen und zu einem Herzensbuch werden lassen können.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,795 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.