The Rose Society by Marie Lu
Book Two of The Young Elites trilogy
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC gifted by a friend (thank you, C!)
Summary (from Goodreads):
From New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes the second book in the exhilarating Young Elites series
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 and her sister flee Kenettra 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 that murdered her love, the Crown Prince Enzo Valenciano.
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?
What I Liked:
WOW this book was dark. Not as crazy dark as Menagerie was (that was an adult book though - and highly disturbing, more than anything), but super dark for YA. Adelina is a villain in all sense of the word. I love how far Marie Lu goes with the character development, although the direction is quite... frightening. THIS BOOK!
Adelina and her sister Violetta are on the run, as Adelina was banished from the Dagger Society after Enzo's death. Adelina begins to amass Elite allies of her own, looking to destroy the Inquisition Ais, and take the Kenettran throne from Queen Giulietta, Enzo's sister. Adelina is driven by revenge and hatred, and it's getting harder for her to stop wanting to make everyone hurt as much as she does.
Let me start off by saying that I remembered little from The Young Elites. I absolutely adored that book, but hey, I read it exactly a year ago. That was a long time ago! And yet, I remember that ending. THAT ENDING. I was super crushed over it, and knocked off a star because of the ending. But the good thing is, this book (The Rose Society) is written in such a way that you can get right back into the world with no struggle! So don't worry if you don't remember much!
Adelina. Adelina, Adelina. She gets even darker and more twisted in this book. Her power as an illusion creator grows, and she is able to bend people's perceptions to her will. There is a part of her that enjoys making bad people suffer, making her enemies suffer, even killing people. Adelina is a villain in this story, even if there are other villains. I can't even say if her cause is noble - she's trying to overthrow the Queen of Kenettra so SHE can have the throne. It's not about greed, but vengeance, and Adelina will stop at nothing to get it.
All of that being said, Adelina isn't a completely cold and cruel person. She is definitely cold. But there are pockets of time in this book where you recognize the humanity in her. But most of the time, she is driven and ambitious and heartless. I like Adelina! I think she's gone off some deep end and probably won't return from it, but I like her. I can't see a happy ending for her though. She is so damaged, mentally, it's scary! She is a frightening character - I'd run far away if I came across her! Yet I think I like her. She is waaaay ambitious.
There are new characters, old characters, returning characters. Violetta is a constant and unchanging presence in this book - I like her a lot now. Magiano is an Elite, a new ally of Adelina's, whose power is quite intriguing. There are other powerful Elites that Adelina enlists, and it's remarkable to see them work together - though it's greed that is driving most of them. I really like Magiano! He reminds me of Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.
There is never a dull moment in this book! It is over four hundred pages, but the story flies by. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. It is fascinating and chilling to see Adelina develop into this heartless, ruthless character. And the major plot twist is... woah. Everything from book one makes sense, why Lu would do certain things. I won't say anything more specific, but WOAH.
Romance. Hmm. This is something I don't want to talk about too specifically. If you haven't read The Young Elites, you probably should. For those who have, you know the ending. I will say that there is romance in this book, and it is unexpected in two ways. You'll have to read the book two find out why! I personally liked one direction of the romance. The other direction is scary, in a run-for-your-life way.
I really, really enjoyed this book. I loved the addition of new characters, the reappearances of the characters in book one (from the Dagger Society, Teren Santoro, etc.). I loved seeing Adelina's character development progress (twisted as it was), the pain she is dealing with, how she suffers. There is so much pain and suffering internally, so you can't help but feel for Adelina. I am very curious to see what Lu will do in book three! I have a feeling nothing will end well...
What I Did Not Like:
You know, I can't think of anything specifically? I can't shake this feeling of impending doom and a tragic ending at the end of this series in general, which is very unsettling. But that shows how well the author is setting the scene, even if I don't think I will like the scene (at the end of book three, hypothetically)? I just hate feeling unsettled, if that makes sense. It's nothing specific, and technically not a dislike. There wasn't anything that I can think of that I could point a finger directly at. Yay!
Would I Recommend It:
So highly recommended! This new series by Lu is definitely a step up from the Legend series (and I thought Legend was great). I loved The Young Elites, and I think I loved this one just as much! Don't be intimidated to read this book, as there is no sequel slump here.
4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars (because of that unsettled feeling I have, really). I cannot wait to read book three! Though I'm feeling how I'm feeling about Pierce Brown's upcoming publication, Morning Star: scared of my mind. These two series are bound to end poorly! (Please prove me wrong, authors, I beg you...)
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USA only - sorry, lovelies!