My rating: 3 of 5 stars
After how much I loved The Pledge, I had high expectations for The Essence. Unfortunately, The Essence didn’t quite live up to them. I still liked The Essence, but I just didn’t love it as much as The Pledge.
I think a large part of my problem with this one was the lack of anticipation, since the anticipation of finding out what Charlie’s big secret was was what kept me turning pages so fast in The Pledge. Charlie has a whole new set of problems in The Essence, of course, but there wasn’t quite the tension we saw before – probably because the mystery element was gone.
I was also unexcited by the romance, although that might have had more to do with the fact that there wasn’t enough Max, and less to do with the romance itself. I love Charlie and Max, and it would’ve been awesome to see more Max, especially as things got more complicated for them.
One aspect of The Essence I really loved, though, was the new angle with Sabara. I can’t go into details because I want to avoid spoilers, but I will say that we learn some things about her that make her seem a lot more human, and I loved seeing that side of her, and understanding why it’s so important to her not to fade away. I really hope this is a conflict that gets played up even more in the last book.
The Essence was pretty solidly okay for me. I liked it, but I didn’t love it; it felt a lot like a middle book in a trilogy. I’m still looking forward to the last book, though!