Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I have enjoyed this series from the start and thought the series was able to grow a lot with the second book opening the reader’s mind up to the actual essence of Sabara inside of Charlie. I really liked both of the females because I felt like they were both strong even though Charlie was the good Queen and Sabara was the evil one who you didn’t want to like. So with everything coming to a head in the second book I wanted to see what choices Charlie was going to make in this book. She still has to prove herself as a good Queen of her people and she has to undo the damage that Sabara left on the area.
I thought this book started out nicely. The reader gets to see some of the decisions that Charlie is making as Queen and we get to wonder how she will change things to better her country. I liked seeing her in the role of being Queen and I wanted to see how she would handle the pressure because I felt like there might be times when she lacked the power she needed to be Queen. Sabara might be evil but at least her presence was a powerful one and more the role of a Queen. I wanted Charlie to find her own way to rise up and control a room, demanding the respect she deserved.
I think Charlie was able to grow in this book because of the tough decisions she had to make. She decided to travel out virtually on her own and it meant she had to start trusting some of her own training. She did become more of a badass heroine as the story went on and I loved seeing both the sweet side she always had as well as the fighter that was buried inside of her. She had some great moments of power when she let herself take control of her destiny and those around her. She was a fighter and I loved that she didn’t go down without a fight. There were some harsh realities she had to deal with and I liked that Derting didn’t make every choice an easy one. When there is a war going on it is never easy to pick a side or to allow certain people to die just for the greater good of the rest of the people.
Overall I don’t want to give away too much of the story but I liked the way everything turned out. I wish the book had been a little longer and had a little more romance. The romance was always put off to the side in each book of this series so I’m a little sad that it didn’t have a larger role in Charlie’s life but I’m still happy. It was an easy read to get lost in and it was a good series overall that I would recommend to anyone who wants to have a blend of historical, fantasy, and dystopian.