If you previously skipped the first novel in The Pledge Trilogy because people were calling it that now-dreaded word, dystopian, rethink your decision. That word has disappeared, and the series is now full-on fantasy. A lot of people who read THE PLEDGE had a mixed reaction because they don't like their dystopian and fantasy to mix, and they were mixing hardcore in the book. People loved it or hated it, and there was little in-between. If you didn't like Kings and Queens and Kingdoms, you didn't like THE PLEDGE. Readers saw those reviews and stayed away from the book. I personally loved THE PLEDGE. I love Kings and Queens and Kingdoms! Princesses, Knights in Shining Armor, I say bring it on. And, again, this series isn't truly dystopian. The first book just happens to feature a tyrannical ruler. So give it a try, ignore that chatter...you might be surprised!
THE OFFERING is the final book in a trilogy. If you're new to the series, check out my review of THE PLEDGE instead!
Otherwise...you can't blame me for the
spoilers you're about to encounter!
My one quibble with THE ESSENCE was that it wasn't as action-filled as its predecessor, THE PLEDGE. THE OFFERING, on the other hand, comes out swinging. That opening line you see above? Very, very powerful scene...and that's the book's beginning. While it quiets down early on, the majority of the book sends readers hurtling on a rollercoaster of emotions. There are some characters that just get at you and tear you up. You're always wondering what will and won't happen, and if everyone will survive. You're rooting for Charlie as she finally embraces her role as queen, and you're sick with horror over the lengths some will go to achieve power.
Charlie never wanted to be queen. As Queen Charlaina, liberties she has taken for granted are gone, while others have appeared to her. Some she loves, others she hates. Most of all, she hates the way her change has affected her family and loved ones. She wants to rid herself of Queen Sabara once and for all, and expunge her from using her as a vessel. She no longer wants to live in fear of having her body taken over again. But maybe Sabara can help her, too. She's proven to be treacherous in the past, however, and can she really be trusted? With war looming and uncertain allies easily ready to engage in backstabbing, who can Charlie truly trust?
Charlie has grown so, so much over the course of the series. She never wanted to be queen, but once she embraces her destiny, she is able to do so much good. She gets her hands dirty when she needs to, which she never thought she could, but she still has a pure, strong heart and is ready to do anything to bring peace and prosperity to her country. And Max! Max is back in the picture, though not nearly enough for my tastes. He lights up every page and I'm so glad to have him in Charlie's life. I also really enjoyed seeing the impact all the upheaval had on Charlie's younger sister Angelina, second in line for the throne. She has so much more importance now than she did in the first book, and I liked seeing this change as well. It was also funny to see Charlie with her family, because even though she's queen, she's still a teenager, and still has to listen to her parents. Great moments! There's also a new character introduced that I really love, but I can't say anything more without creating major spoilers. But if Kimberly Derting were to ever revisit this world in new, innovative ways, I wouldn't mind seeing a book from this character's POV!
THE OFFERING doesn't disappoint in tone. It's still a dark, gritty fantasy unafraid to sully its hands. It continues to combine medieval elements with more modern technology, creating a unique setting. (The only other series I've read that combines such elements--and does it well--is The Defiance Trilogy by C.J. Redwine, which I also enjoy reading). It keeps readers guessing and wondering, and creates a powerful story that I'm already eager to go back and re-read.