Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: The Essence

Goodreads summary:

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 review:

I really enjoyed The Essence.  It's a solid sequel and I think fans of the first book will not be disappointed.

I enjoyed the world-building in this sequel.  Charlie is queen now, and I loved learning about all the different countries and places along with her.  This book is a cool mix of dystopia and fantasy.  The world has a definite dystopic feel to it, but I love the fantasy elements and the magic in it too.  Derting does a great job of blending them together and making the country of Ludania unique.

The characters are likeable too.  Charlie grows up a lot in this sequel and starts realizing what the impact of her choices will have on her country.  I also love that a few parts of the book are told from her friend Brooke's point of view.  She's a very compelling character.  I did miss Max a lot, though.  I loved him in the first book and I was sad that he isn't in the second quite as much!  But it is also nice because the story is more focused on the action than the romance.

The plot is good and held my interest while I was reading.  There's lots of plot developments and a quite a few well-written action scenes.  The story definitely leaves some things open for the last book, though, and I can't wait to see how everything will be resolved in the third book.

Thankfully, The Essence does not fall into the trap of Middle Book Syndrome.  Even if you haven't read the first book, I think you could read this one without too much confusion.  This is an excellent sequel and I'm really looking forward to the final book in the trilogy!

My rating: 8 out of 10 (4 stars)

~ The Bookworm

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