Author: Kimberly Derting
Date of Publication: January 1, 2013
Formats Available: Hardcover, E-Book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: 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.
I wanted to love this novel, I really did; I liked The Pledge, I liked Charlie, I liked the idea but I just couldn't get into the story this time around. Something about this book just threw me off, especially after how awesome the first one was. Maybe it was the lack of action, romance, or any kind of excitement, or maybe it was the weaker plot line, but this novel really didn't do it for me.
The characters felt extremely weak, all of them seemed to have lost any speck of personality they ever had, making them all feel boring and flat. I really missed the Charlie and Max that had made me love this series to begin with. Max played a nearly non-existent role and it felt like Charlie never actually did anything. I felt disconnected from all the characters and had a really hard time being able to relate to any of them, especially Charlie.
Most of this novel felt like it was all talking, never actually doing. While The Essence had its moments of action and excitement they were few and far between, leaving the rest of the novel to political and conspiracy talk. Even though someone was trying to kill Charlie it seemed like all the characters in the novel sat around talked about it but never took any steps toward finding who it was. Even when Charlie was kidnapped the Brook and her other guards didn't even make a big deal about it, they all just stood there talking about what to do.
One thing I always love about Derting's writing is her changing of perspectives into the perpetrator of the crime. I love being able to read from several characters points of view and Derting does manage to pull this off without giving just one character an overwhelming amount of time while giving another character almost nothing.
Overall I was a little disappointed by this novel. Having read, and really enjoyed, every book by Derting that I've ever read I was expecting a little bit more about of this novel. I'm still interested enough to pick up the next book in the series and fans of The Pledge will undoubtedly find this book necessary, but it just wasn't one of my favorites.