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Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Essence by Kimberly Derting

352 pages, YA dystopian
The Pledge #2
My rating: 5 stars


At the luminous conclusion of The Pledge, Charlaina defeated the tyrant Sabara and took her place as Queen of Ludania. But Charlie knows that Sabara has not disappeared: The evil queen’s Essence is fused to Charlie’s psyche, ready to arise at the first sign of weakness.

Charlie is not weak, but she’s being pushed to the brink. In addition to suppressing the ever-present influence of Sabara, she’s busy being queen—and battling a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system. Charlie wants to be the same girl Max loves, who Brook trusts, but she’s Your Majesty now, and she feels torn in two.

As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within.

My 2 cents

Another great book from Kimberly Derting!  I'm amazed she has been able to write 2 series at the same time so successfully!  The Body Finder series is one of my favorites, and The Pledge series is fast becoming a favorite, too!  There will be spoilers in this review for the first book, so read at your own risk!

First of all, the whole Sabara living inside of Charlie thing is very creepy.  I felt so bad for Charlie.  I can't imagine trying to hide a separate personality that can control you WHILE ALSO BEING QUEEN! Especially for a country that has been neglected from the tyrant that resides inside herself!  But Charlie does try very hard for her country.  She mentions to herself multiple times that she wishes she wasn't the queen, but at the same time, she loves her country and realizes there is no one else who can do this job.

Most of the story takes place while on the road to a Summit of all the queens, and at the Summit itself.  During this journey, Charlie learns what politics is really about, and a lot more about her people.  She promises them and herself that she will make things better.  But someone is trying to sabotage her and get her killed within her own entourage, and Sabara is trying to assert her own agenda.  

I liked how we learned a lot more about the world in this book.  I really like Derting's world building.  It feels like a cross between a dystopian and a fantasy, which is great.  I also liked how we learned a lot of Sabara's backstory.   I really missed seeing Max.  He wasn't in about half of the book!  

Things turn very dark for Charlie by the end, and I really feel the third book in this series will be epic! I can't wait!

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