Pawn by Aimee Carter, published by Mira Ink on 3rd January 2014
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.
This is the first book in a new trilogy by Aimee Carter, whose Goddess series is a big favourite of mine. 'Pawn' is set in a future America where overpopulation is a huge problem for the government to deal with. Too many demands on food, housing and other such commodities, has led to people having to take a test. This test assigns them with a number which dictates how their lives are led, what sort of job they get, how many children they are allowed and where they live.
Kitty is one of millions of Extras - second children who are taken away from their parents and given the surname Doe. She's grown up in a group home and is in love with her best friend Benjy, who she's always had to rely on and help her with her dyslexia. When she takes the test and is given a III, she fears that she'll hold Benjy back from the future he deserves. A chance opportunity to elevate her rank, seems too good to pass up but this decision leads to her becoming embroiled in a conspiracy more twisted and complex than she could ever have imagined.
I really loved Kitty. She's brave and strong and was my favourite character in the book. She may not always make the best decisions but she tries to do what's right and is very protective of those she loves. I thought that Benjy could have been fleshed out a bit more as I felt his character was a little one-dimensional at times. It certainly came across how much Kitty loved him but I would have enjoyed more good ol' romance between them.
In 'Pawn', I thought Aimee Carter had come up with an interesting idea for a future America. The story raised lots of questions about how society can operate as a meritocracy and about the part that people have to play in contributing to the world they live in. The idea of Elsewhere - a place that people are taken when they have no way to contribute was pretty scary and horrifying.
Engrossing, thrilling and with an abundance of secrets just waiting to be spilt, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'm eagerly awaiting the next instalment 'Captive' so that I can find out what awaits Kitty next.