Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: The Essence by Kimberly Derting

The Essence by Kimberly Derting
Series: Pledge #2
Published: January 1st, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry
352 pages (ebook)
Genre: Young adult dystopian
Acquired this book: Borrowed from Suz
Warning: Will contain spoilers if you haven't read The Pledge
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Book Depository || Chapters/Indigo}

{Read my review of The Pledge}

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 picks up shortly after where The Pledge left off, with Charlie now Queen of Ludania. She’s taking her new role seriously, and has already made big changes to her Queendom, which have put her in danger from people who don’t agree with her ideas.

Charlie is torn between being Queen Charlaina and just plain Charlie, the daughter of vendors who grew up with few luxuries, but always had friends by her side. She’s got a country to run, and she wants to make changes that will benefit the people, but she’s also a teenage girl who’s in love and misses how things used to be with her family and friends. I liked Charlie a lot in The Pledge, and I grew to like her even more in The Essence. She’s strong and resilient, but she has flaws, just like everyone else. She tries so hard to do what's best, and I admire her strength, her sass, and her bravery.

Unexpectedly, one of my favourite characters in this book was Zafir. It's his job to take care of Charlie, and he takes that job very seriously, but every once in awhile there's a glimmer of something else. You can tell he’s the type of person who tries to stay professional - who has a job and does it without emotion getting in the way - but he cares about Charlie in a begrudging sort of way, which I found both amusing and endearing.

One of things I love most about this series is how fresh it is. So many dystopians take the same basic concept and put their own spin on it, but I’ve never read anything like this series. Also, a lot of trilogies stretch on and on, and I end up thinking they could have made one stellar book instead of dragging on for three mediocre books, but that’s far from the case with this series. The Essence was completely different from The Pledge - new setting, new characters thrown in with the familiar, new twists and turns, new discoveries. I felt like the book could take a new turn at any minute, and I loved that unpredictability.

There was no Second Book Syndrome here. The Essence was just as action-packed and suspenseful as The Pledge. While there wasn’t as much romance, I enjoyed the developing relationships between characters, as well as the character growth. I’m both excited and sad to see this series come to an end in the next book - excited because I genuinely like these characters and want to see what happens to them, and sad because I’m not ready to say goodbye to them, and I’m afraid there will be more bloodshed before all is said and done. 

Have you read The Pledge or The Essence? What did you think? If you haven't read them, are they on your TBR?

1 comment:

  1. This makes me excited to read the first book. I have it on my Kindle... Now if I could just get to it.


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