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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: Pledged

Title: Pledged (Soul Wars Saga, Bk 1)
Author: Gwynneth White
Publisher: Swallow Press
Publication Date: June 3, 2012
Reviewer: Elisa
Summary: Everyone has a soul mate. But what do you do when your soul mate would rather give his soul to the demons than be with you?
Seventeen-year-old Erin has a problem. Seth has been hers forever, but now an ancient curse is tearing him away. And the demons who invoked it will stop at nothing – even murder – to claim him as their own.
How can she win against a curse so binding that it has damned countless others to this same fate – an eternity alone?
The answer lies in the past. To find it, Erin and Seth must risk all, travelling back in time to a dangerous world where love is forbidden, and life – and death – hang on a pledge.
Follow Erin and Seth as they travel to ancient Shenaya and confront the curse that has plagued their families for millennia. Caught in a war between the Angelic Guardians and the Gefallen, the disembodied dead, they must fight to keep their souls in tact and their love untainted.
Review: I have been reading White's blog Today in Shenaya for months now where her characters Seth and Erin actually "write" the blog from their POV. They write reviews and interview other YA characters, bicker and explain cool historical and informational things that can be found in Pledged. Honestly, when I began this book I was so excited to finally get to read their story because I felt I knew them personally, and then I quickly fell in love with them right from the beginning. I have seen other authors beginning to do character interviews, many on Today in Shenaya, and I absolutely enjoy this style of marketing. I already feel book characters are real and belong in my life, getting further inside their heads is just too wonderful and enjoyable to pass up.
So this is a quest book. Seth and Erin have to journey together to find something and then make a really big decision to hopefully end an eon-long war. To understand what they are up against and learn from past mistakes they are sent back in time to see other players struggle and fall to the Prophecy and Curse that has ensnared their families back in Shenaya. But, what they learn turns their worlds upside down and they learn how sticky the Curse actually is, and how dirty the players are willing to be to get their way.
Helping and hindering them on their journey are, for lack of a better word, ghosts of the people who have chosen one side or the other of this war. Seth and Erin are helped or tricked and need to choose to believe whoever they want. As they are teenagers, there is a bit of teen angst and emotions run high here and there.
This story is scary, sad and very exciting. The hardest part was that the past cannot be changed and White really made me CARE about some of those characters in the past. However, souls are eternal so I am REALLY hoping that Seth and Erin can eventually break the curse and the people meant to be together can find each other once this is over. But that is just my hope. Who knows what will happen by book three!
These characters are well flushed out and many of the peripheral characters are as well. There are some disturbing images, teen angst and serious decisions to be made. Poor Seth, he has a really hard time of things and there were times when I just wanted to have Erin sock him one! Speaking of Erin, she has the roughest scene. Because they time travel, they get to see their souls prior to being born and see themselves pledge to help break the curse AND recognize that they are soul mates. BUT Seth and Erin have only just met in real time and they BARELY know each other. Right after that is a really rough scene that I would have been mortified to experience. Anyway, she is a trooper and I hope she can knock some sense into Seth.
This is the first of a trilogy, and like Lord of the Rings, the action slows but the story is nowhere near over by the end of book one. Book two is supposed to be released in January 2013, so we don't have a long and horrifying wait - thank you powers that be! I give this book 4 stars. If you like YA, adventure, time travel, a smattering of a sweet young romance and delving into the human psyche, check this book out!

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