Author: Kimberly Derting
Publication: Margaret K. McElderry Books (November 15, 2011)
Description: In the violent country of Ludania, the language you speak determines what class you are, and there are harsh punishments if you forget your place—looking a member of a higher class in the eye can result in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina (Charlie for short) can understand all languages, a dangerous ability she’s been hiding her whole life. Her only place of release is the drug-filled underground club scene, where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. There, she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy who speaks a language she’s never heard, and her secret is almost exposed. Through a series of violent upheavals, it becomes clear that Charlie herself is the key to forcing out the oppressive power structure of her kingdom….
My Thoughts: It has been a long time since a book grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go until the final page was turned. I loved this story about a girl with secrets - dangerous secrets. In a society that killed those who got out of their place, Charlie is walking a fine line. She can understand all the languages even though it as against the law to know any language but that of her own class. The Queen of the country is getting old and doesn't have an heir. She needs to find the remnants of the former royal family in the hope that they have a girl who is suitable. Meanwhile, she is becoming even more paranoid and capricious. Daily hangings are the norm and family members are turning on family members to keep the queen's favor.
But then Charlie meets a boy who is obviously from another class and obviously fascinated with her. She tries to stay away knowing that she can't take the chance of betraying her family by getting close to anyone. But Max is persistent - and the grandson of the Queen. Charlie also meets the head of the Resistance movement and is torn between the two. Xander has a vision for the world and needs Charlie to be the new Queen for the vision to come true.
Charlie has be given the task of protecting her beloved little sister by her parents. And the little girl has secrets of her own that must be guarded. She is four but doesn't talk - and her touch can heal. When Rebels attack the city, Charlie and her sister Angelina are taken to the Resistance Underground to wait out the attack. But her parents stay behind. When Charlie goes to check on them, they are missing - captured by the Queen as a lure for Charlie.
Charlie doesn't want to be queen. But she does want to keep her family safe. The story is filled with tension and excitement. There is also a really nice romance between Charlie and Max. I loved the language in the story and the tension and the suspense. There were so many secrets.
If you are looking for a compelling, page-turner of a book, you need look no further than this one. I was on the edge of my seat and resented any task that took me away from reading before I got to the last page. I have already ordered my "keeper" copy and look forward to reading it again soon.
I turned to look at him. The hard plains of his face softened, and suddenly he was dangerously boyish. And beautiful. Far too beautiful. And, like the fabric of his coat, my fingers itched to touch him...to rake through his short, dark hair, to feel his smooth-shaven jaw, to trace my thumb across his full lower lip.I received the eARC from Simon & Schuster's GalleyGrab program. You can get a copy of the book here.