Sunday, October 9, 2016

Review: The Midnight Star by Marie Lu


The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
Book Three of The Young Elites series
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Bestselling author Marie Lu concludes Adelina's story with this haunting and hypnotizing final installment to the Young Elites series. 

What I Liked:

***SPOILER-FREE REVIEW. There may be spoilers if you haven't read The Young Elites or The Rose Society, but you're safe in terms of The Midnight Star.***

The Midnight Star is an intense, dark, and thrilling conclusion to a fascinating and utterly unique fantasy series. I am blown away by Marie Lu's storytelling, her writing, and her stories in general. I don't typically read books so dark (at least in Young Adult), but I couldn't resist this series. And I'm glad I didn't - it was a magnificent and heartbreaking trilogy.

This final novel starts about a year or so after the end of The Rose Society (so it's been about two years since the beginning of The Young Elites). Adelina is suffering from the voices and hallucinations and nightmares, even more so than usual. But she's also very successful in her conquests - she is now the Queen of the Sealands, and she wants more. But every newly conquered territory fails to have what Adelina is looking for - her sister, who fled. And every new territory brings more and more assassination attempts, and more cruelty from Adelina. But there is a growing danger that is bigger than conquering lands and finding Violetta, and Adelina will find herself in the middle of the problem. To stop this growing chaos, she must learn to trust the Daggers that she has grown to hate. Sacrifices must be made, lives must be lost, and darkness will threaten to consume Adelina and the world, once and for all. 

Upon finishing this book, I was speechless. My heart hurt, but it was also full to bursting. This book is not a happy and fluffy novel. There is only one way that this book could end (with variations), and it could not involve a cookie-cutter perfect HEA. I love how Lu put everything together, how she led readers to the ending, how everything fell apart and then bonded again.

Adelina gets more and more... villainous, shall we say? She's an antihero, a villain in this series. She's a cruel queen; she makes the laws very lenient for the marked, but harsh to the point of death for the unmarked. For all the times that she was hurt by the unmarked, she wants them to suffer by the hands of the marked. Adelina has become a ruthless tyrant, and everything fears her, hates her, and/or wants to kill her. Those who serve her, can they be trusted?

And yet, even though Adelina is quite the villain, we can clearly see just how human she once was, and still is. In her heart, she is doing what she thinks is right, but she is not naive or misguided. She wants to do right by the marked, which means punishing the unmarked (in her mind). We see her struggling with her hallucinations, with her unstable powers, with her feelings for Magiano and her grip on humanity. Honestly, as tyrannical and cruel as Adelina was in this book, she was also extremely human. My heart broke for her over and over. She deteriorates slowly but surely, in terms of her power (and her mind, a little), and it's sad to see how she lets her Elite power and her political power get to her. 

This book is told in Adelina's first-person POV, as well as Raffaele's third-person POV. There are one or two chapters that are written in another character's third-person POV, but Adelina's first-person and Raffaele's third-person POV are the most important and most prevalent ones. I loved reading from Adelina's POV, but I also liked seeing another perspective. This mode of storytelling isn't my favorite (dual POV is fine but switching from first- to third-person is a little weird), but I think it works well in this trilogy.

The cast of secondary characters is relatively the same as in the previous books, with a few new ones here and there. I loved Magiano - he is probably my favorite character in the book. I need to reread The Young Elites and see how he came about in the series (I remember him from The Rose Society but not The Young Elites). Violetta is important in this book, but not present all the time. I didn't love her or hate her. Magiano and Sergio, are two of the best characters in this book. 

I love Lu's writing, and the world-building of this book. Lu has a quality of writing that isn't quite lyrical, but it flows so well and has a rhythm to it. And her craftsmanship is so perfect - the world-building, the characters, the setting, the plot. Seriously, I'm having trouble finding flaws (not that I'm looking for them, specifically!). 

There is romance in this book, and it's probably the strongest and most shippiest in this book than the other two. If you've read The Young Elites and The Rose Society, then you know the pair... Adelina and Magiano. There are some really sweet scenes in this book, which you wouldn't expect because Adelina is so ruthless. Magiano loves her, and while Adelina is purposeful in her cruelty, she loves him too. 

I won't say a word about the ending, or even the plot and major events leading up to the climax... just know that you will be interested and hanging on to the edge of your seat and wanting to know how things will end. The ending crept up on me and I knew it was going to happen. But I liked how it happened. Lu knows how to deliver a powerful ending that is equal parts dark and light. 

What I Did Not Like:

This isn't something negative about the book, but more of a suggestion - I highly recommend doing a reread of The Young Elites and The Rose Society (or at least The Rose Society) before reading this one. Lu does a good job of getting us back into the story (with recall and whatnot), but it would be immensely helpful to reread the books!

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend this book, and series in general. It is a very dark series (seriously though. Adelina is all kinds of cruel and cold), so if you're not into antiheroes and such, then maybe don't go for this one. And if you need a perfect HEA, then maybe avoid the series. The ending is good though, and it's exactly what the series needed. In any case, this is a really well-written fantasy series, and one that I'll be thinking about for a long time. 

Rating:

4.5 stars. I'm rounding down to 4 stars (I have to, given certain things that I liked but didn't like but can't say here because spoilers), but I really enjoyed this book. I think it's my favorite of the series? It's hard to say. All of the books were so good!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

17 comments:

  1. Once in a while happy and fluffy or even a big romance is not what I'm looking for when I'm in the mood for dark and gritty. I was only so-so on a different series by her, but maybe I'll try this one. Glad the end book was a good one for you.

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    1. This one was DEFINITELY dark and gritty. Antihero stories are pretty rare in YA, but Marie Lu does it well. Heartbreaking, but so good!

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  2. Another series I been meaning to read. It sounds like the author told a wonderful story. If well done I'd be okay with an ending that isn't all HEA. It sounds like it was emotionally moving.

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    1. It's so good, Lily! Usually I dislike non-HEA endings, but this ending really, really worked. :)

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  3. I'm not reading your review cause I still need to read book 2, but yay! 4 stars. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I hope I can finish this series soon!

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    1. No worries! I hope you love the series, Lis. =)

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  4. I skimmed read your review because I don't want to know anything before I start reading it, but I'm super happy to hear you loved it and it's a fitting final book for the trilogy!

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    1. I know what you mean! Hopefully you enjoy this one, Pili. ^_^

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  5. I really liked the first book but never got around to listening or reading The Rose Society. I really need to soon because I want to read this last one, glad to hear you liked it Alyssa!

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

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    1. Awww! I liked The Rose Society, possibly more than The Young Elites? I think I liked this one the most though. Thanks, Nereyda! Happy reading. :D

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  6. Amazing review my friend like always. I am so scared too read the final book of The Young Elites Trilogy because I so know deep down this book is going to crush me so hard that it is going to literally break my hearts to pieces! But I am just going to wait a little while longing until too fully prepare my emotions until I finally read the last installment of this absolutely fantastic book series! Thank you so much for the awesome post Alyssa.

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    1. It is definitely one to be wary of, but a very good book! Marie Lu knows how to write tragic endings. Definitely prepare/brace yourself before reading it.

      Thank YOU, Katiria!

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  7. I am hoping to get this one for my birthday next week. I may just cave and buy it for myself tomorrow because I've been waiting on this one forever!

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    1. Ooo! Happy early birthday! I guarantee I'll forget, so I am wishing you well from now. I hope you love the book, Lekeisha!

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  8. Lovely review Alyssa :D So glad you enjoyed this book so much. <3 Yay. I have only read book one.. but planning on reading them all sometime :) But yeah. I'm so upset about the romance. Ugh. I loved the romance in book one. I loved the boy. I'm not sure I will get over it, haha :) But plot seems so exciting. Ack.

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    1. Thank you! This series was so intense and a little tragic too. You'll get on board with the romance in the series overall, trust me!

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  9. Splendid review! Honestly I just ordered this book from America and I just finished the second book; this review made me hyped for the third book even more. Even though the ending of the second book didn't satisfy me, I hope to get a proper closure with the third book!

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