Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review: Pledged by Gwynneth White

Pledged (Soul Wars Saga #1)
By Gwynneth White
Swallow Press

* A copy was provided by the publisher for review.

To Sum It Up: Seth and Erin are brought together after his brother marries her stepsister, but they are about to discover that their bond runs even deeper. The two are soul mates, but an ancient curse threatens to keep them apart. Together Seth and Erin must travel back in time to the ancient land of Shenaya to observe the consequences of not following one’s heart, and in doing so, attempt not to repeat the mistakes of others before them who were also destined for each other. All hopes of breaking the curse rest on Seth and Erin’s shoulders, and they face many obstacles ahead of them, including Seth’s own doubts about whether or not his future is truly meant to be spent with Erin.

Review: Pledged is a complex tale of love, friendship, war, and betrayal. And there’s time travel, too. If it sounds like this book has a lot going on in it, it does. There’s also a large cast of characters to become acquainted with. I love reading fantasy, and intricate plotlines and a multitude of characters often just go with the territory. While I admire how ambitious Pledged was in both of these areas, it took me a while to get a handle on who was who and what was going on. I think that some plot streamlining and a few less personnel would have made for a smoother reading experience.

At its heart, Pledged chronicles the age-old battle between good and evil. On the side of good are the Guardians, angelic beings whose opposition on the side of evil are demons known as the Gefallen. The Guardians task Seth and Erin with protecting the Seer-Stone, a unique diamond that can not only take them back in time but also serves as their guide in lifting the curse that dooms soul mates to an eternity without each other. Reuel’s Curse (so named after the bad guy of this book) is actually a lot more complicated than that, and there’s a prophecy (from Gideon, one of the Guardian good guys) that goes along with it. There’s quite a lot of exposition here, and although all of it ties together eventually, the wait is a bit long. I do think it’s worth it, though, because I became engrossed in all of the behind-the-scenes scheming for power going on in Shenaya.

Seth and Erin's mission to learn from the past necessarily means that they spend their time back in Shenaya watching history unfold before them. Just like in real life, they can’t alter the past. While the pair interact with a host of Guardians and are vulnerable to the Gefallen’s influence, they sometimes seem more like commentators than protagonists. Seth’s inner conflict over whether to choose a life with Erin or loyalty to his brother, Kyle, who’s looking for the Seer-Stone, gives his character the most dimension of the two. It’s not that I didn’t like Erin; I just never really felt a connection with her.

Without a doubt, my two favorite characters were Jared, a Shenayan soldier, and Sophia, the very reluctant future bride of Jared’s cousin, and the heir to Shenayan rule, Caleb. Arrogant Jared and fiery Sophia’s personalities clash at first, and their snippy dialogue exchanges are very amusing. Of course the two are soul mates, and of course their path to happiness is loaded with hurdles, like, say, Sophia’s betrothal to Caleb. I love this couple, and I’ll be rooting hard for them to find a way to be together.

Although Pledged started out rather slowly for me, by the end, I found myself quite curious about what was going to happen next to these characters, especially Jared and Sophia. Naturally, there’s a cliffhanger ending just when the action really picks up. It appears that I’ll have to check out the second book in the trilogy, Sacrificed, to find out everyone’s fate.

All in All: Fantasy fans who like multilayered story lines and characters who brave impossible odds might want to give this a try. This book might also appeal to readers looking for a unique take on the concept of soul mates.


  1. I won this little book, I'm not sure when I'll read it but from your review and others I've seen, I'm hoping that I'll like it enough to follow the series.

    Happy Sunday!

    1. Congrats on the win! It took me a while to get into this, but it was OK once it got going. I'd love to hear what you think of it.

  2. Have seen the book on a lot of blogs, but it doesn't really stand out for me. Maybe it's the cover. I do like fun dialogue and sweet characters! Great review.

    1. Thanks! I love sarcastic characters/dialogue, and Jared and Sophia's conversations were definitely lively.

  3. Great review! I am trying to get this read, but am finding the first part really slow, just like you said in your review. I'm not sure if I'm going to have the patience to push through it, especially knowing that I have lots of other things I need to get read ASAP.

    1. Thanks! I was a good part of the way in reading when I thought that the pace finally picked up. I definitely liked the second half of the book better than the first.


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