Thursday, 31 January 2013

Review: The Essence [The Pledge #2] by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Essence
Author: Kimberly Derting
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter|Facebook
Genre: Young Adult
Series: The Pledge #2
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Publication Date: 28th January 2013
Rating: 5 stars

Tell Me About It
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 Thoughts
As soon as I finished reading The Pledge I knew I had to read The Essence, and the wait feels like it has been a lifetime.  Charlie is the Queen of Ludania, and her best friend Brooklynn is commander of the army, always there to make sure everything is safe for Charlie.
Charlie is still struggling to learn everything she needs to know about being a queen, as well as her secret fighting lessons, and to top it all off preparing for an upcoming Summit meeting.  The summit alone brings an even bigger test for Charlie, meeting other royals. Trying her best to may her way through pleasantries that involve meeting others, trying to remember who has what greeting, and what she can't greet them with. Although it did offer some hilarious moments.
'Honestly?' I asked, biting my lip. 'I couldn't remember anything Xander taught me.  I'm an utter failure as a queen.  I curtsied to Queen Langdon...who then spat at my feet.  And I'm not even sure she's the one who spits.  I think she just didn't like me'.
[Charlie to Brooklynn page 271 and 272]
However in the shadows opposition begins to stir, not happy with Charlie's new rules she has set in place to ensure equality they attack the Academy during her visit, resulting the in loss of lives for innocent children.  The path to the Summit is treacherous and fraught with danger, and Charlie, travelling with a small army and her ever present bodyguard must make this journey no matter what happens.

The Essence was a great read from the very first page, right up to the very last word, and I'm kinda disappointed as now I have to wait another whole year to find out what happens next.  The Essence still has our favourite characters and we get to see a few points of view from a few of them.  We also get to meet some new faces, but one of these, old or new is a traitor, and while I was reading I was trying to pick out hints or clues as to who it was, and as usual I discovered who the traitor is at the same moment Charlie does.
I love the new world Charlie has started to create for all, equality for every person in her land will make for a better living environment, no one struggling to survive on rations, or not having an education,  yes there is some opposition to her new ideas, but new ideas are never liked by all immediately  and I admire Charlie for sticking to her guns and trying her hardest to make a better life for all.

The world Kimberly has created in The Essence is so easy to fall into.  The characters now feel like family to me and I was sad to see them go at the end, but being so familiar with them makes it that much easier to fall into their world for each new installment in this great series and be able to just jump straight in without having to remember what happened before hand.  The countdown has begun for book 3, I just wish it wasn't so far away.

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