Review: Pawn by Aimee Carter

December 9, 2013 3.5 stars, Book Review 26 ★★★½

pawn aimee carter


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.

Pawn takes the theme of testing in a dystopian world and uses it to create a caste system with 7 levels. At the age of 17 each person is tested and given a number from 1 to 6 that is tattooed on the back of their neck branding them for life. Yes, I know I said 7 levels but get this – only the family controlling the government can be the highest level of a 7. They are also the family that created this system. Supposedly, every one is to get an equal opportunity at this testing, but we all know how likely that is. Is anything ever really fair in this world let alone a dystopian one? Heck no, I say.

The main character K​itt​y, just finished her testing and scored a 3, which is below the average 4. This means she is assigned a job as a manual laborer, in the sewers of a city across the country. She will have to leave her boyfriend that she loves, and the orphanage she grew up in. Oddly enough it sounds like her childhood wasn’t bad. Which I found to be refreshing and unusual since often authors will give their YA characters overly tragic pasts to make them more interesting. Not so with Ki​tt​y​. Her life is much like that of all other extra children born to 4s and below. They are taken from their parents and raised in group homes.

So, instead of working in the sewers, Kitty decides she’ll go to work in a pleasure house. But things don’t turn out as she plans when her first night there she is purchased by the Prime Minister and offered a chance she can’t refuse. To become a 7.

There is a tiny bit more information that is revealed about how the country now works but I’m sad to say not really much more than that. The bulk of the book focuses on Kitty​ fitting into the twisted governing family, after her appearance is​ altered to match the Prime Minister’s niece that died. Kitty is a survivor though and she will do whatever she thinks it will take to do so. Luckily she doesn’t lose site of herself and her humanity while she’s about it. She is definitely a strong character that the reader can get behind.​

While I expected a lot of focus on society and world building, that is not what I got. Pawn was a character driven story and has more in common with an extreme family drama than it did a dystopian. I think that more is likely going to be explored in regards to the world building in the next book because I could definitely see the potential ground work that was laid. It’s just too interesting for us not to be show more. So I am seriously hoping there will be. Just knowing that anyone who scores a 1 is sent ‘Elsewhere’ as well as people that have reached the age of 60 or have broken the law, makes you wonder how or why the people as a whole would stand for that. I’m curious to know how things ended up this way.​

Pawn was a good start to a new series and one that I think dystopian fans will enjoy but they should be prepared for a mostly character driven, family drama.

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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26 Responses to “Review: Pawn by Aimee Carter”

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Well I think you will find it very weak in world building because I know the types of books you read adult wise and this one will not stand up to those. Considering it is YA I have seen other books in the YA genre have much stronger world building. I’d be curious to see what you end up thinking. I didn’t LOVE it but I did like it. It took me about 4 hours or less to get through so I think this is definitely a shorty one you could read in one sitting.

  1. Michelle @ Book Briefs

    I just read and reviewed Pawn too and I agree it was a character driven story. Normally this is my preference but with a crazy society like this I do like to find out more about the world. I really loved the creepy disgusting world that Aimee created but I couldn’t really connect with a majority of the characters in Pawn. Still overall I enjoyed Pawn. Great review.

    Happy Reading!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I agree – I didn’t really connect with many of the characters either, really just Kitty and somewhat Knox. I’m interested to see what more happens and wonder if the next book will be less family soap opera and more dystopian.

  2. Charleen

    In the case of dystopians, I’m much more interested in the world than in the characters. I mean, I don’t want completely one-dimensional characters, but I have a feeling I’d be disappointed in how little of the world we get to learn about. I’ll be curious to hear how much the rest of the series expands (or doesn’t) the worldbuilding.
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I agree! I think for this I needed more world building and that would have pushed it higher in my satisfaction rating. I’m hoping the next book will improve on that so I guess we’ll just see.

  3. Lupdilup

    I’ve been curious about this novel, I read another review that stopped me from ordering it right away, but now maybe I will give the thought a second chance. Thanks for the heads up, I’m glad I won’t be jumping in expecting a ton of action and suspense.
    Thank you!
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Glad to hear you’re deciding to give it a shot. I think my enjoyment was effected by what I expected versus what I got. It was a good book and an interesting premise. I was just expecting more world building than what there was. So if I’d known more going in…or read a review before knowing what it would be centered around was mostly the governing families inner workings than I think I would have enjoyed it even more because i wouldn’t have had completely different expectations.

  4. Leeanna @

    Hmm. I’ve read mostly smashing reviews of this so far. But yours brings up a point I haven’t seen mentioned (or if I have, I forgot), that there isn’t a lot of worldbuilding. I like character driven stories as much as the next reader, but when reading a dystopian, I really want to know WHY the world is that way.

    I have it out from the library, though, so I’ll probably give it a chance.
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      It definitely has it’s appeal. I’d be curious to see what you end up thinking. I know what you mean on overload – I went crazy on edel and now I know I’m really in for it the beginning of next year!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      You aren’t the first person I’ve heard say they are burnt out on dystopians! I completely know what you mean. I think there has been too much of that lately and hopefully a new trend will start soon.