In this time of uncertainty, with the Queen in her increasingly ill state and no female heir to take over, the entire country is in turmoil. The revolutionaries are becoming more bold, and the measures to keep their movements restricted are increasing. Leaving the house without your ID could easily lead to death. This is the world of Ludania. The Queen, however, has a secret. She does not need a blood heir, she can pass on her Essence to anyone of Royal blood. There are whispers that such an heir from an old bloodline may exist, and that the Queen is looking for her.
After a particularly ugly night at work, she agrees to go to the club with Brooklyn.They go to a place she heard about from a table of hot boys she had earlier that night, and sure enough, they are here waiting. Another boy, she remembers him from the restaurant also, approaches her. He is disarming, attractive, and has a quality to him that makes her uncomfortable, like he sees right through her...his name is Max, he says. After a few words, she walks away. Finding Brooklynn, she overhears the men she is with speaking a strange language she has never heard before. She is careful to turn her face to the floor, as it is illegal to face a person speaking a language other than your own in Ludania, punishable by death, but her secret gift allows her to understand him, "This childish beauty smells delicious," (Derting pg. 58, 2011). It's his tone that alarms her, and she drags Brooklynn away.
It finally hits home that things with the war are getting out of hand when the sirens go off, and they are forced to evacuate their own homes. Her father hands her sister Angelina to her, and urges them to go, hide. She begs for he and their mother to come with, but to no avail. The girls run off into the night. Who should them encounter, but Max...who sneaks them into a shelter which initially turned them away at gunpoint. Who is this boy? When they are awoken the next morning by the Royal Guard, she has her answer: he is Prince Maximillian! Moments later, they are practically kidnapped by the Resistance, and taken into their secret tunnels.
What will become of them? What does the Resistance want with them, and why has the Prince been seeking her out, wanting to spend time with her? Something bigger is going on, and she's afraid it has to do with her special ability to understand all language. Will Charlie be able to keep her sister and herself safe?
Derting does a great job of pulling you into her world, and weaving a blanket of emotions for readers to wear. The romantic tension between Charlie and Max will delight many fans of romance, and the action element keeps the story moving. Very thought provoking concepts, and would be great for discussion.
“I saw the folded note peeking up from behind the cover of the book in which I'd hidden it.If you liked this, check out:
I brushed my fingertips across the lineny surface, my skin sparking with electricity, my fingers itching to pull it free.
I shouldn't, I told myself, even as I held my breath and watched myself withdrawing it from the book. I tried to tamp down the feeling of anticipation coursing through me at the same time I argued that it was a mistake to look at it again.
It didn't deserve anymore of my time. He didn't deserve the space he already occupied in my mind.
I glanced around to see if anyone had noticed me there, tucked beneath my desk, reading a note that I'd already memorized.
No one paid me any attention.
I held the letter, vividly picturing the six words written inside the folds. Six words that I already knew by heart. Six words that meant more to me than they should.
I unfolded the top third of the paper, then the bottom, purposely keeping my eyes unfocused for just a moment.
My heart stopped.
And then my eyesight cleared.
I pledge to keep you safe,” (Derting, 2011).
The Essence by Kimberly Derting (Pledge, Book 2)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium, Book 1)
The Selection by Kiara Cass (Selection, Book 1)
Derting, Kimberly. (2011). The Pledge. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.