Monday, February 4, 2013

Heidi & Mel review The Essence by @kimberlyderting

The Essence by Kimberly Derting
Released Date: Jan 2, 2013
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 352

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.

What Heidi says...

The Essence picks up right where The Pledge left off, and I liked being able to plunge right back into the story. I was pleased to see how Charlie has grown, and how she fights to bring prosperity and equality to her kingdom despite the protests of those who want things to remain the same. Charlie is proving to be a capable ruler, but what I liked most was the fact that she wasn't letting power go to her head. She remains the sweet young girl we got to know in The Pledge. I really liked that she wanted to just be a normal girl and for people, especially those who have know her throughout her life, to treat her the same. She doesn't put on a bunch of airs, and she refrains from power trips. I admired that she really wanted to make things better for all the citizens of her kingdom, even those criminals outcast to the furthest regions. She has a good heart. I also appreciated how terrified she was to face the other queens. I can only imagine the fear and trepidation one would feel when suddenly thrust into a room full of heady, powerful women! Charlaina is certainly an admirable character. 

The inclusion of Sabara's essence inside Charlie is definitely something different. I liked getting to know the evil Queen Sabara a bit better, and seeing a little in her past. It is an interesting situation to say the least. At times, Sabara appears to be conniving and bent on evil, but there are other times where she seems to be helping Charlie. Whether she is out to completely destroy Charlie or help her is still a mystery. I am most curious to see how this story line plays out. 
I love the fact that this dystopian series features a society that is ruled and controlled completely by women. It is nice to see women in power and control for once. I especially enjoyed getting to know Brooklyn better. She is a fierce warrior, incredibly sexy and never backs down from a challenge.
I liked that this book shows how even when someone is fighting for change and is trying to bring about equality and make everything better for the people, there are always those in opposition who hate and fear change. People who will vehemently fight it and do what they can to destroy prosperity and equal rights. This story line mirrors many of the great struggles we have seen in our own society. I am excited to see how Charlie fares as she fights to do the right thing for her kingdom.

What Mel says...

This book was great and I can't wait to read book 3. Without having to re-read The Pledge I immediately remembered who everyone was and was able to pick up the storyline again. I love these characters and really want to know what happens next.  At times, I really wanted things to go differently for Charlie but it was interesting to see Brooklyn and Aron in their new positions by Charlie's side.  To figure out who was betraying Charlie and who were staying true to her.

Charlie is as always a conflicted girl trying to do her best and what is right as she is Queen.  Max is a character I wish we would have seen more of in this book.  I am interested to see what happens next in book 3.  There were times when point of view switched and it was interesting.  Interesting to try and figure out who the betrayer was.  Sabara being part of the overall picture was intense and I want to know when and how Charlie is going to completely remove Sabara from herself.  Book 3 needs to come out NOW.

Go HERE to find Heidi's full review on her blog.

Disclosure: Heidi received a copy of this book for review purposes.  Mel received a copy of this book from the bookstore she works at.  We were not paid or influenced in any way. All opinions expressed are our own.

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I am a recent transplant to the rainy, region of Portland, Oregon; thus the reason for my blog Rainy Day Ramblings. The many rainy days here provide me ample time to snuggle up under a comfy blanket with a cat and read while the rain drips down my window.
I also, when I find time, enjoy baking, candle and jewelry making, cross stitching and spending ample time with family.
Find me on my blog, facebook, and twitter.

I am bookaholic as well as loving music. She just recently moved to the Portland area from the Midwest and has been enjoying exploring the whole area, including the Coast and downtown Portland. She has been blogging at Shot in the Arm since May 2008 but has had a couple other blogs before that at various places around the web. Young Adult is her favorite genre but she loves to read most other genres including Romance, Fiction, Sci Fi and some Historical Non-Fiction. You can find her at herblog, her twitter and on Goodreads. Stop by and say hi!


  1. I recently read this one as well and I have to say that I really loved seeing more of Sabara in this book. I really enjoyed learning about her past and what she had to do in order to be a queen for so long. I felt it added that slightly darker element to the book

    Thanks for the great review, glad you both liked it :)

  2. I am torn about reading this. On the one hand, I didn't really like the characters. But on the other hand, I really liked the plot and found the ending to be killer. But on the other other hand, I don't remember much about what happened-I hope I can remember!

  3. Alexa - Thanks for talking about that because that's what I thought too! Sabara and everything that goes along with her is intriguing.

    Bookworm - Yeah I would definitely recommend re-reading the last two chapters of The Pledge so you remember. I hope you enjoy it. Stop back and let me know what you thought of it!


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