The Essence Review

May 17, 2014 Reviews 0 ★★★★★

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Essence ReviewThe Essence by Kimberly Derting
Series: The Pledge #2
Published by Margaret K. McElderry on 1-1-2013
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
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“Danger, dread, mystery, and romance” (Booklist) continue in the second book of The Pledge trilogy, as Charlie’s reign is under siege from the most unusual of enemies.

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.

The Essence is the followup to the Pledge. In the novel, Charlie must learn how to be queen, cope with challenges to her rule, deal with constant assassination attempts, and all the while fighting Sabara for control of her body.

I give it 5 stars because I couldn’t put it down, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I didn’t really find anything I disliked about it. There is just so much here. First, the world building is great. Charlie finally ventures outside of her kingdom and discovers what is out there, plus a whole new side of her society, and she meets other queens as well. Then her character growth… fighting for control of her body from Sabara, learning more of Sabara’s past, learning some new powers, and more. The other characters continue to grow and be dynamic as well and offer some surprising revelations (including Sabara). And then there is the action….lots of it. She is in peril the entire time… surviving bombs, would-be assassins, kidnappings, train rides, and more. And finally, there is a traitor in her midst who is a mystery, Brooklyn’s father is a murderous rebel bent on overthrowing Charlie, and another queen is plotting to kill her. Oh yeah, and there might be a war brewing as well.

Overall, a great 2nd novel and I am very much looking forward to continuing the series with book three.


About Kimberly Derting

Kimberly is the author of the BODY FINDER series (HarperCollins), THE PLEDGE trilogy (Simon & Schuster), and THE TAKING trilogy (coming April 29th from HarperTeen). She lives in the Pacific Northwest, the ideal place to write anything dark or creepy…a gloomy day can set the perfect mood. She lives with her husband and their three beautiful (and often mouthy) children who provide an endless source of inspiration.

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