Author: Kimberly Derting
Published: November 15, 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry
Source: Galley Grab
Description: In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed. Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.
I Give This ...
I've really enjoyed Derting's other series. And while this one sounded like a drastic difference from her other work, I was looking forward to what it might offer. I was impressed.
The story actually dragged a bit at the beginning. While I got the impression that this is more of a dystopian novel, it read more like it was set in the past. But, as the story picked up the pace, I feel in love with the storyline and even the characters. I also decided that it had a fairy tale sort of feel to it, which made it that much more interesting.
I found Charlie to be a very interesting character. She's born in the middle class, so she has more privilege that most, but not as much as the high class (and of course the royalty). The fact that she can understand any language spoken constantly puts her in danger since no one is suppose to understand a language above their station. I liked how protective she is of her family and her friends. And while we see very little of it until late in the book, I got the impression that she would do anything to protect those she cares about when forced too. But, she's seems mostly cautious about it all.
I liked the rest of the cast of characters. I especially liked Max, even though I knew who he really was way before Charlie did. There was something about him that just really worked for me. It was interesting that most of them seemed to be from the middle class, but I enjoyed the inclusion of the girl for the high class. I would be curious to see if more of the low class make it into the series.
I thought the setting was interesting. The queen's life is different that the normal story and her policies are extreme. It's all done to keep this country cut off from anybody else, because the people might see that there might be something better out there. While, I dislikes how the classes were separated and how those who acted out of their station were treated, I understood how it fit into the story.
Overall, I just really enjoyed this story. It was fun and had many of the elements that I enjoy. I'm looking forward to more of it!