{Review} THE OFFERING by Kimberly Derting

Check out my reviews of 
before moving on to the final book in the trilogy,

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

   UNFLINCHING, THE EXECUTIONER stood on the bloodstained floor facing the prison cells as he wielded an axe with a razor-sharp blade.
   "What's the matter, darling? You're not having second thoughts, are you?" a woman's voice crooned amidst the barbaric scene--the cavernous surroundings, with bars and cells, and echoing all aroudn them the desperate please of prisoners begging for their lives.
   Niko straightened, shifting his gaze away from the executioner. He tried to shake off any last-minute qualms the beautiful but treacherous queen might be able to sense coming from him. Her gossamer green gown was inappropriate for the occasion, as if she'd dressed for a ball rather than a slaughter. But that was typical, he'd come to learn. She was as frivolous as she was deadly.
(pg. 17, US e-ARC edition)

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.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

THE PLEDGE is still my favorite cover in the series. Maybe it's the styling of the cloak (Such a thing for cloaked people, IDEK!), maybe it's the way the title repeats and breaks down in the background with fewer letters, maybe it's the coloring. IDK! The first book is my favorite of the three.

This cover looks the least like the other two. In THE PLEDGE, she is cloaked. In THE ESSENCE, she's still cloaked, but she's unmasked now, no longer hiding. The cover is red and angry. 

With THE OFFERING, I guess that could still be a cloak she's wearing, but it's hanging off her now. She no longer needs to hide. But that look of horror on her face? Something is wrong, something isn't right. It doesn't matter that the cover is awash in light and peace, the symbol of breaking away. But she can't tear her eyes away from something, and it lends an immediacy to the cover that will make readers want to know what could be so wrong.
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Kimberly Derting
Release Date: Dec. 31, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry / Simon & Schuster
Received: For Review

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.


  1. I did not read the spoilers- but this series sounds fascinating. I love fantasy and dystopian- so I am curious to see the two worlds collide. Beautiful cover!


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