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Pawn by Aimée Carter ARC {4.5 Stars}

Pawn by Aimée Carter is the first book in a new dystopian series that impressed me with its focus on clever plotting in a genre that is a bit overburdened at this point. So many YA dystopians have been focusing heavily on romance and love triangles, so I was freaking thrilled that Pawn dug in, showed its dark side, and didn’t get side-tracked. I am very excited to see where this series goes, since I haven’t read a good actual rebellion series in a while!

Note: I received Pawn from Harlequin in exchange for an honest review. I read an ARC and so some things might be different in the final version!

Pawn by Aimée Carter ARC {4.5 Stars}

Pawn by Aimée Carter (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Published by Harlequin Teen on Nov. 26th, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Page Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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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.

4.5 Stars


  • Pawn has a bit of a prince and the pauper type premise, but pulls off a unique and interesting plot despite a fairly typical dystopian setting.
  • Did I mention how much I loved the plot? I love being able to sit back after finishing a book and really process the ending. I didn’t see twists coming until right before they happened (if then!) and I really enjoyed the flow of Pawn; it just seemed to work.
  • Crazy fact: boys and girls can be friends (even in YA) without falling in love! It’s true and Pawn proves it <3.
  • You might get worried, but I can assure you Pawn does not have a love triangle. Kitty really does love her boyfriend of years and childhood sweetheart and she proves it through her commitment despite really crazy situations.
  • Pawn has lined up so much potential for The Blackcoat Rebellion series. I’m not sure where the second book will go with it, but I’m really freaking excited to find out!


  •  There were a couple of times when characters seemed to do things that didn’t really make sense. There is a fine balance between showing another side of a character and bringing in something out of left field so that it doesn’t feel natural. Pawn didn’t quite pull off all the character revelations.
  • Kitty has some really flaky emotions surrounding one particular thing which I can’t tell you. But it kind of annoyed me that she would vow to do something and then not do it and then vow to do it again. Just make up your mind!
  • Kitty’s inner dialogue also got a bit annoying. Not in a “I want to punch this girl” kind of way, just in a “Kitty, I know you’re stressed, but please just be decisive” kind of way. I empathized with her, but she was that friend who discussed her dinner options far too long ya know?


Pawn had a couple of slip-ups, but was otherwise a phenomenal start to a darker kind of dystopian series. It doesn’t pull punches, proving early on just how far the corrupt government is willing to go, and just how little the ruling family cares about their people. Pawn went in directions that I didn’t expect and I’m so happy to still be surprised in a genre that I’ve read a lot of over the past couple of years. Why can’t Captive come out sooner??

4.5 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya


 Pawn by Aimée Carter

© 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. (I know it seems so strange that I’m commenting on this post from last year, haha! But I was about to read your review of Captive, but then you linked to this post, so here I am! :D)

    The plot sounds so fascinating! :D I’m going to check this out soon, I hope. :O
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  2. IM SO EXCITED for this!!! I’m really glad you enjoyed it!

    -KevinReads @BetweenMyPages

  3. I agree SO much with your weaknesses list. The book was so good but definitely some character flaws!!!
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  4. Jenn @ A Glo-Worm Reads says:

    I’ve heard so many great things about this book! I haven’t read any of Aimee Carters books before, but I’d like to. I’m a huge fan of a good dystopia though. It sounds like this one would be really good since it’s not as focused on romance.

    Glad you enjoyed this one! I will have to check this book for sure!

    • Exactly! I never read the Goddess series and I probably won’t since I’m not into that mythos, but it was so refreshing to read a dystopian with a very obviously different priority than most out these days!

  5. Jenny Jensen says:

    I was hoping you would read this so I could see what you thought!! I have wanted to read this since I saw it. Can’t wait till I can!! So glad you liked it! Thanks for the review :)

    Oh and this has nothing to do with the book, but since it was mentioned…I actually LIKE love triangles. I’m probably a total weirdo, but I do. Sometimes, I find teenagers that have forever loves by the time they are 16 a little unrealistic. Not saying that people don’t marry their high school sweethearts, because occasionally they do, but it is more the exception than the rule. I like it better when there are options haha!! It adds a little more drama too. I lead a pretty drama-free life, so a little extra in some books mixes things up a bit :) :) Now, there are some books that over do it….i.e. Twilight. That triangle got old after a few books.

    Like I said, I’m kind of weird.

    • Hehe, so I’m very much okay with people breaking up and moving on (and kind of wish that happened more in books I suppose now that I think of it), but the prolonged love triangles where the two guys (usually) continue to put up with the back and forth for months or years are just unrealistic to me. If you were in love with someone and they refused to decide between you and someone else for months, do you really think you’d stick around?

      • Jenny Jensen says:

        I can understand months…it takes a while sometimes to really get to know someone IMO (and sometimes to develop the storyline) but definitely not a year or years. For the most part, that would fall under the “over doing it” category and isn’t very realistic and can definitely get old! Books like that tend to have characters that are too wishy washy, and have too much brooding for my taste lol :) :)

        • True enough! Hehe, that’s true, I dislike the weak characters and brooding on top of all the rest usually anyway!

  6. I really liked the fact that the dystopian set-up in this one was so uncomplicated. A lot of the time I think authors try to add too much detail and end up overcomplicating their plot, which leads to plot holes and confusion. I didn’t feel any of that in Pawn. But even though it was quite simple, it was never boring. Definitely a dystopian done right, in my opinion! Glad you liked it too. :D
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  7. I’ve really only read good reviews of this book. It’s so exciting when someone manages to do dystopian in a new way, especially avoiding things like love triangles which are becoming so expected and so annoying. I can’t wait to pick this up :)

    • So agreed! I was worried people wouldn’t like it (I was worried I wouldn’t like it!) so it’s been really fun seeing how well it’s doing!

  8. Oh next in series wait—IT IS THE WORST! It always seems to be worse when we really really really liked the one before :)
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  9. Dragana @ Bookworm Dreams says:

    I thought that Pawn will be same-old-same-old but your enthusiasm definitely changed my opinion of the book. Now I am sorry I didn’t request a review copy via Netgalley. :D
    The only ya book I have read this year without romance is Cadet of Tildor and it was great I am looking forward to another one. ;)
    Dragana @ Bookworm Dreams recently posted…Book Review: Twinmaker by Sean WilliamsMy Profile

  10. Okay, this sounds pretty awesome. I’m a little disappointed to hear Kitty goes wishy-washy (and not loving her name), but it has boys and girls who are just friends? No sudden love triangles or pentadrangles or anything else? Definitely worth a read. I was a little surprised to see Harlequin Teen is the publisher; gritty dystopian, especially with limited romance, is a little outside their norm. Oh well, good direction to go. :)

    • I know right?? I was quite surprised that Harlequin Teen put out a book like this one too, but I’m really hoping they continue!

  11. Cait @ Book Love says:

    This book looks really interesting! I can’t wait to pick it up. Great review!
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  12. I really like that cover except one thing. The teal writing of the name ruins the engraved stone look. Bleh.
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  13. I really have to read my ARC!
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  1. […] to find out just how dark her country’s secrets are in Elsewhere. If you haven’t read Pawn, I definitely recommend stopping now and going to check out that review instead since there are […]

  2. […] with you all! It is just as gripping as book one, let me assure you ;-). If you haven’t read Pawn yet, definitely skip the blurb below and check out my review instead if you’d like […]

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