If you have not read the Young Elites yet, I would suggest that you do.
Mild spoilers ahead.
“Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.
“Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.
“But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?
“Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites.”
Now, onto the story!
What I liked:
- I’ve read a lot of trilogies where the third novel didn’t really add much, and was just kind of there so you could market it as a trilogy. Catching Fire from the Hunger Games trilogy is one such book. The Rose Society is not. While Rose Society took Adelina, and the readers, down a darker path than The Young Elites did, I still found the book thrilling and overall hard to put down.
- Two new characters joined Adelina’s side: Magiano and Sergio. We don’t get to learn much about either of them, unfortunately, but I suspect we will in The Midnight Star (this is the recently-released title of the final book). What little I’ve seen from Magiano promises a complex character, and what little we’re given of Sergio promises an interesting one.
- The relationship between Violetta and Adelina grows substantially, and it was good to see Adelina letting herself trust her sister, but it was also good to see that neither of them forgot their history together. Adelina’s past continues to haunt her, and Violetta’s inaction when it came to their father is enough to stop them from getting too close.
- The worldbuilding was just as solid in The Rose Society as it was in The Young Elites, but for this book, I think Marie Lu did a much better job at discreetly making sure we understood things that normally we wouldn’t understand.
- If you wanted to know why Adelina seemed to be a fledgling schizophrenic, don’t worry. You get your answer in The Rose Society.
- The climax was intense, and it broke my heart, but nothing was more heartbreaking than Adelina in the final chapter. I look forward to reading The Midnight Star, and worry what it’ll mean for the young elites.
What I didn’t like:
- The Adelina of The Young Elites was far less ambitious than the Adelina of The Rose Society. I loved how Adelina set her ambitions high in this one — she becomes dead-set on taking the throne, especially since it means crossing the Young Elites and keeping a foreign queen from taking the throne. Yet this decision came early in the novel, which would not have been an issue if Adelina in The Young Elites had shown even the smallest interest in becoming queen. This is a fairly small thing in the grand scheme of things, especially when Rafaele tells us Adelina is aligned to ambition; we just didn’t really see her display that ambition until The Rose Society, and apparently when Adelina displays her ambition, she does not hold back.
- Speaking of Raffaele, thanks to the ending of The Young Elites, I have a strong dislike for Raffaele. He turned Adelina away because he was scared of her ambition, but Raffaele doesn’t commit a selfless act unless he stands to gain something (as he admits, himself, in his first point of view chapter). Just knowing that he turned out Adelina for something he, himself, does made it hard to connect with him in his chapters. Something tells me he is not irredeemable, but for me, reading his point of view chapters was a bit challenging. At least with Teren you know you’re supposed to loathe him. With Raffaele, it’s not so clear.
All in all, I think that the things I like far outweighed the few small things that I didn’t. I have absolutely no qualms about giving this a 5 star rating. I highly recommend you read it.
“Hiding it [Adelina’s scar] makes you more beautiful,” Magiano says. Then he takes his hand away, exposing my scar again. “But revealing it makes you you.” He nods at me. “So wear it proudly.” — Page 213
Have you read the Young Elites or the Rose Society? What were your thoughts on them?