Pawn by Ernie Lindsey


Author: Ernie Lindsey
Series: Warchild #1
Source: Purchased from Kobo
Publisher: Createspace
Publication Date: February 3, 2014
Rating: 1.5/5 stars
The world ended long before Caroline Mathers was born, but that doesn't mean life stops for the fourteen-year-old army scout for the People's Republic of Virginia. 

Abandoned by her parents, raised by her grandfather, she slinks through the forests surrounding her encampment, monitoring the woods for nomadic bands of criminals known as Republicons, all while keeping a watchful eye on her northern enemies from the Democratic Alliance. It's a hard life, but a simple one, at least until the day Caroline hears the sound that everyone dreads: distant drums echoing throughout their quiet valley, pounding to the beat of the war rhythm. 

With some help from two unlikely allies, Caroline leads her people in a breathtaking retreat, praying they'll find salvation in their capitol city. Along the way, haunting dreams may reveal a look into the mystery of her past. 

The first book of the Warchild series is a powerful, coming of age, dystopian thriller full of fast-paced action, tragic choices, and the undeniable strength of the human bond.
I was initially really excited to read this novel. It had good reviews on Goodreads and it had an interesting premise. I was disappointed though. The whole novel didn't feel like it had much plot to it, especially the first 15-20% of it that was about Brandon dying and Caroline's village being captured and burnt. Honestly, there didn't seem to even be a story there until Caroline and Finn, along with their merry bunch of looters, started to run.

Most of the issues I had with the book derive from the world building and the general mythology of the novel, but I also had an issue with some of the aspects of Caroline.

World Building/Kinder Mythology
The "introduction" to the novel, which I am assuming was meant to be world building, was sloppy. There were some inconsistencies in Caroline's narrative of where the world is now and the surrounding area. Also, considering that Caroline said that not even the Elders were aware of why the world ended, it doesn't seem right for her to have some intimate knowledge and details about weapons and their uses. For example, guns. Caroline seemed to be aware of handguns at the beginning of the story however she didn't seem to know what they were when she was trying to reach Teresa at the top of the hill knew what a "sniper" was, but didn't know the term "scope".

There was such a random introduction to the "mythical"/superhuman people in this novel that I almost thought it was a completely different novel than the one I started. It seemed like there was an actual divide in the beginning of the novel between the "introduction" of the world and the issue and where the story actually began. And it started after the camp was destroyed. There was some mentions about the Kinders prior to Ellery saying that there were two more Kinders near her, but it wasn't until this point that I believe the "real story" started to happen.

There also seems to be a disconnect between what Caroline can do and what the mythology surrounding the Kinders says Kinders can do. Caroline mentions that they are immortal, can fly, are "squirrel-like", and can see into the past, present, and future, etc. That is what the stories from the Elders say. However, when Finn describes the history of the land to Caroline (because they apparently have history textbooks in the DAV), he say that each Kinder has different abilities?? Which is fine, like that could make sense, except Ellery was one of the Elders in Caroline's village and also a confirmed Kinder. It doesn't make sense that Caroline would learn one thing from her Elders, specifically a Kinder, but Finn would tell her something different and that is what we are to believe to be the truth. It was all unbelievable.

I did actually like Caroline. She was tough and emotional and generally well-written. But it still will never make sense to me that this 14 year old girl would command a large group of people. Whether or not she is this mystical Kinder person, there is still no way that people would listen to her before she reveals that she is a Kinder. That is the kind of stuff people generally follow, but until that point her being fast and strong would not created the atmosphere for people to follow her.

I didn't think Caroline would have been able to master her Kinder abilities so quickly. It seemed to me that because Ellery said "Remember the name Caroline and she is a Kinder" that Caroline just magically had control over her powers. It made sense at first for her to be using them when she felt overpowering emotions, such as moving the soldier from her Grandfather's cabin, but it didn't make sense that at the end she hadn't reached 15 but was able to completely control her abilities. 

She was also so ... trusting. For being the leader of this group of people, she was way too quick to trust people. Finn, for example, an enemy deserter who she just openly accepts and trusts; she even lets him take charge with her. I hope this is part of her characterization for now because she is still "young" and that it will change in the next part of the series, but honestly it was really not a good trait for her to have.

On a positive note, I think Caroline was interesting and well thought out. I would have liked more from the minor characters, who at first seemed as if they were going to be a major part of the storyline. I hope that there is more Finn and James and that Crockett makes her way back into the story because I liked her. However, I am not sure if I want to continue with the rest of the series.

Overall: 1.5/5 stars. This one has an interesting concept that wasn't extremely well executed in my opinion.

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