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.Kindle Edition, 336 pagesPublished December 31st 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Three and a half stars: A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.
Charley can't shake her feeling of unease since her return from the gathering with the other Queens. It has been weeks since she heard anything from Xander and Niko who crossed over into Queen Elena's realm hoping to negotiate peace. At last, messengers arrive from Queen Elena. Buried in the bottom of the box is something horrifying. With this macabre message, Charley can no longer avoid conflict, unless she entertains Queen Elena's interesting proposition. It is a way to end the threat of war, but it means exposing her deadly secret. Charley makes a dangerous decision. She will journey to Queen Elena's realm undercover with only Eden to accompany her in hopes of preventing bloodshed. Charley still carries the evil essence of Queen Sabara inside of her, and Sabara will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Can Charley stave off Sabara and save her country from war?
What I Liked:
- To be quite honest, I didn't know if I would continue this series after the disappointment of book two, but I figured I had come this far and decided to take a chance. I am glad I did as this book, after a somewhat slow start, ended up being a satisfying finale to the trilogy. The ending is thrilling and packed full of danger, and thankfully everything concludes in a satisfactory manner. If you are a fan of this series, I think you will be pleased with the final outcome.
- Charley has come along way from the working class girl first introduced in The Pledge. Now as Queen Charley, she is forced to make difficult decisions as she strives to bring security, peace and prosperity to her country. It hasn't been an easy road for Charley, especially since she carries the essence of the evil, centuries old Queen Sabara inside of her. It is a daily struggle to fight off Sabara's malicious intentions, and not always does Charley win the battle with Sabara. I admired Charley's growth and courage throughout the series. I appreciated that in this final book, when Charley is presented with some agonizing choices, she does what is best for the country, even if that means some heart wrenching sacrifices. I admired her strength when it came to deciding between the easy way out, and the hard fight. For me, watching the transformation of Charley was worth the journey.
- One thing that I have admired about this series throughout is the strong focus on the women. In Charley's world, the women have always been the leaders. The Queens lead the countries throughout the realms. Aside from the feminine leadership, you also have the courageous women in uniform guiding the troops and guarding the country. Brooklynn and Eden are examples of the women who take up arms in to protect their Queen and country. For the most part, the men take a backseat to the strong women in these books. It isn't often that you get books where the women are the main focus.
- I was pleased to see the return of Sage, Queen Elena's younger sister. Sage is strong and determined, and I loved her role in this book. She was one of my favorite characters.
- The ending was thrilling and everything I hoped. I was happy with the way things worked out and pleased to see the series end on a high note without any loose ends or unanswered questions. It isn't often that I get to complete a series feeling completely satisfied with the final outcome.
And The Not So Much:
- This book starts out with a jaw dropping introduction that left me stunned. Then after that, things slow down dramatically. The middle portion of the book involving Charley's trek across the countryside is a bit slow and not much happens. I did like the interlude with Eden's younger brother, but for the most part, this section of the book drags. The final portion, though, moves rapidly as the danger mounts and then you have a rapid fire finish. Be patient with this one, it takes it time but it is worth it in the end.
- The romance between Charley and Max has never grabbed me in the two follow up books. I enjoyed watching the pair come together in the first book, but after that the romance takes a back seat. There are a couple of pleasant scenes between Charley and Max early on in this book, but I felt the sparks were missing. Then like in the second book, Max and Charley are separated for the majority of the book. The romance fails to be a shining point in this series, and aside from the first book, I think that overall it is disappointing, especially because Max is relegated to a secondary character in the second and third book. His role is diminished and he has little impact.
- There are two additional romances in this book. One involving Brooklyn and Aron and another, I won't name the names in the second to avoid spoilers. I liked the addition of the secondary romances, but I felt the last one moved a bit too quickly. While the romance between Aron and Brooklyn feels one sided. Still I thought they were a nice addition.
- This book utilizes numerous view points. I lost track of how many narratives there were, but I think there were at least six different point of views. All of the narratives are in third person except for Charley's which is always in first person. I am not of fan of alternating narratives between third and first person. I much prefer all the voices being in the same person. It is a bit distracting to not only have so many different narratives but also to have the shift between first and third person narration.
- I struggled a tiny bit with book amnesia reading this one, especially when it came to Niko and his role. I wish there had been a bit more review.
The Offering is a solid finale to a good series. If you are looking for a series that marks tremendous growth for the main character and a story that utilizes something different when it comes to the villain, take a chance on this series. The second book is a bit weak, but overall it is a series that I liked and can recommend.
"Sometimes nightmares were real."
"That the measure of a true queen didn't lie in her magic. It had more to do with who she was, and what she was willing to give of herself, than it did with the powers she possessed."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.