2013 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection
"Derting's chilling dystopia envisions an America ruled by monarchy, most of its cities razed, and its citizens straitjacketed in a caste system divided by language... Derting (Desires of the Dead) is right on when depicting the bonds of family, friendship, and first love."
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.
Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.
"Derting's follow-up casts Charlie in an untenable circumstance that only her inner strength can defeat."
Though it has been months since Charlaina—Charlie—defeated the tyrant Sabara and took control of the Ludanian crown, Sabara has not disappeared. The old queen's Essence has fused itself to Charlie's psyche and is viciously fighting to overpower Charlie.
Balancing her new duties as Queen and battling both Sabara's voice and a growing resistance to her rule push Charlie to the brink of exhaustion. She wants to be the same old Charlie she has ever been but now she is Your Majesty.
As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with the leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages is the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within.
"No anticlimactic ending here, as the final book in the Pledge trilogy has its fair share of exhilarating and heart-stopping moments."
—RT Magazine, 4 stars (out of 4.5)
To save her country, Charlie must sacrifice...but how much? Love and war are at stake in the riveting conclusion to the Pledge trilogy.
Charlie, Queen Charlaina of Ludania, has settled into her role as leader and ruler of her country. She's done admirable work to restore Ludania's archaic and broken communications systems with other queendoms, and she's mastered the art of ignoring Sabara, the evil former queen whose essence is alive and well within Charlie.
When the negotiation of a peace agreement with the Queen of Astonia goes awry, Charlie receives a brutal message that threatens all of Ludania and all that Charlie loves. Backed into a corner, it seems the only way to avoid war is for Charlie to offer herself to her enemy.
But things aren't so cut and dry. Peace is never that simple. Other forces have aligned with the enemy, and Charlie must ask herself how much she is willing to surrender to protect all that she loves.