Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: 3rd (The Pledge, The Essence)
Published: December 31st 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Description: True love—and world war—is at stake in the conclusion to The Pledge trilogy, a dark and romantic blend of dystopia and fantasy. Charlie, otherwise known as Queen Charlaina of Ludania, has become comfortable as a leader and a ruler. She’s done admirable work to restore Ludania’s broken communications systems with other Queendoms, and she’s mastered the art of ignoring Sabara, the evil former queen whose Essence is alive within Charlie. Or so she thinks. When the negotiation of a peace agreement with the Queendom of Astonia goes awry, Charlie receives a brutal message that threatens Ludania, and it seems her only option is to sacrifice herself in exchange for Ludanian freedom. But things aren’t always as they seem. Charlie is walking into a trap—one set by Sabara, who is determined to reclaim the Queendoms at any cost.
First Line: Unflinching, the executioner stood on the bloodstained floor facing the prison cells as he wielded an axe with a razor-sharp blade.
I Give This ...
I realized part way through this book that my issue with the second book (and part of this one) was the story ended up being about something different than I had hoped. The aspects of the story that I really enjoyed in the first book are not longer important. Once I tabled that, I was able to enjoy this book a whole lot more.
Charlie makes an interesting Queen. She tends to think with her heart more than with her head. Not entirely a bad characteristic, but it makes her make decisions in the heat of the moment. I'm not sure what she hoped to accomplish by sneaking off in the middle of the night and walking into enemy territory. She should know that enemies rarely hold up their end of the bargain. But, I admired her for trying. She never gives up.
I liked that she's turned into more the Queen I had hoped she would be. She has more training under her belt and can old her own in situations that test her limits. But, she's also recognizing who she is and what she needs to do. Even in the end, when she thought Sabara was going to win, she was willing to give up herself if it might change the tides.
I liked how the cast of characters rounded this book out. All of them were willing to go the distance for Queen Charlie. I know it's their duty, but there were a number of times that it was evident that they believed in what she was trying to do. They would all die in attempt to save their kingdom.
It was a satisfying ending to a trilogy that ended up being about something entirely different that I expected. But, that was ok. I'm looking forward to Kimberly Derting's next work! And I still need to read the last book in her previous series!