Set in a dystopian America, the country is under the dictatorship of Augusta Hart and the Hart family. Society is determined by ranks, and the higher ranks have the privileges while the lower serve in menial labor tasks. At 18, Kitty Doe’s just taken the most important test of her life. The one that would determine what rank she has. And she’s just gotten a III; basically, she’s doomed. As a IV she would’ve had a good life, more choices, more freedom, but as a III she’s set to be shipped off to Chicago against her desires. What really hurts is that she’s going to be separated from Benjy, her best friend and boyfriend who is super smart and set to possibly get a VI on the test, the highest rank any citizen can earn. She attempts to make a life for herself under the radar while waiting for Benjy’s test, but she’s, instead, caught under the thumb of Prime Minister Daxton and he has a proposition for her. Come with him or be sent to Elsewhere, the lawless land where all the undesirables are sent to die. Faced with her desperation to protect Benjy, whom they won’t hesitate to use against her, she agrees. Because of the particular shade of her eyes that cannot be duplicated, she must assume the identity of the secretly deceased Lila Hart, a VII and the granddaughter of Augusta Hart. If she doesn’t cooperate, she’ll be disposed of as easily as they killed the real Lila. However, Kitty’s new identity comes with a whole host of problems, secrets, and manipulations. From her new fiancé, Knox, to her new family’s desire to murder each other, and the unrest that Lila was fostering with speeches against the government, Kitty finds herself caught in a deadly web of deceit, power, and ruthlessness. What can a girl who was determined to be a worthless III do in the face of such an impossible task?
While there’s somewhat of a disconnect in beginning this book and the setting/backstory, it is a fairly likeable read. I won’t call it great or even GOOD. It’s entertaining, and somewhat alarming to imagine America in such a state, where people who are determined to be unnecessary are sent to Elsewhere and murdered for sport like people hunt deer and wild game. Kitty herself holds a few surprises as well as the circumstances of the Hart family. As Kitty gets deeper into the web of lies, the more the reader is sucked into curiosity. Be warned; this isn’t as great of a dystopian as Legend or Enclave or even The Selection (with which it shares many similarities), and certainly doesn’t compare to The Hunger Games or Divergent. It was eh, mildly passing interesting for me, even if I do want to read where the story goes. I believe it was hard attaching to the characters, and thus made it hard to read. I cared nothing for Benjy, and only a tiny bit for Kitty. I only wanted to see where the story was going. I was most intrigued by Knox, and the political ideas, if the circumstances of Pawn happened to the United States today. So, yet, another to reserve full judgment for until book 2.
Note: This book contains sexual content, language, and violence.