One of my favorite books of 2011 finally gets a sequel — and wow, what a sequel! The Essence by Kimberly Derting is a smashing follow-up to The Pledge, easily one of the most unique novels ever to grace a bookstore shelf. Derting’s genius blending of fairy tale, romance, dystopian, and other various genres continues in top-notch form with The Essence.
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.
While the magic of The Pledge introduced us to Derting’s unique vision and world, The Essence expands into a full-fledged universe with complexities that enrich each plot twist. Derting delivers a sequel worthy of its predecessor and sets up the stage for what will surely be a blockbuster trilogy. The Essence oozes intrigue, danger, and romance at every turn.
Derting uses multiple POVs to blast the story wide open and keep readers on their toes. There is betrayal at foot, and the edge-of-your-seat, spine-tingling thriller elements that Derting has mastered in her Body Finder series gets to shine in The Essence,as both the characters and you, the reader, try to figure out who are the bad guys and who can really be trusted.
The Essencewill keep you up late at night as you race to finish, and will linger in your head long after you’ve read the last page. It is in stores now.