Hello humans! That’s right it’s book two of my adventure through the works of Marie Lu (and so far it’s going pretty well!). I debated starting Legend now and then alternating through the two trilogies but instead decided I couldn’t wait to read the sequel to The Young Elites so cracked on with The Rose Society.
The following may contain spoilers for The Young Elites but shouldn’t spoil The Rose Society.
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.
One of the reasons I think this series is good is that the books are so short. They aren’t filled with nonsense, there is no faffing around, it’s straight into the action and you’d better hold onto your hats. I think the worldbuilding is simple enough that this works, especially for a second book in the series, where my biggest fear is always boredom. Not the case for The Rose Society which drops you right in the middle of everything.
The downside to this pacing is that there are things that get a little glossed over, for me it made the final (most-epic) chapters feel a bit anti-climactic since they are over so quickly. All things considered, I prefer a short, sharp book to a long and waffling one so I can’t fault this too much.
I adore Adelina as a character, she brings me all kinds of evil feelings. It’s reminiscent of why I loved Forest of A Thousand Lanterns and Marissa Meyer’s Renegades. I love a morally dubious or even straight-up evil character, particularly for a woman in YA. I think that the work is done in both the previous book and in this sequel to explain Adelina’s motivations and her history that leads to this character development. I appreciated that it wasn’t one thing that made her act in the way she did, and once she had made certain difficult decisions they were never set in stone.
Speaking of amazing characters – Violetta. Violetta. I rarely read a sister dynamic in YA fantasy that feels as realistic as this one, especially given everything Lu puts these characters through. This Is simultaneously heart-warming and hugely difficult to read as it gradually rips your heart to shreds. I think Violetta is another great example of how to develop a character in a realistic way, by the end of this book she is far more than the shrinking violet (pun intended) from the beginning of The Young Elites.
I do think this book avoids the perils of the second book slump. It is obvious that it is building to a finale, but there is enough plot happening to make this a cohesive story. In many ways, this is a great origin story for a villain. We all know that villains can be some of the most complex and powerful characters around, there’s a reason everyone likes Loki so much, and so reading a whole trilogy about a character who could be considered ‘villainous’ is always going to be fun.
Should you read this? I mean I’d start with The Young Elites because it’s much more satisfying to continue the story from there (but I can’t tell you what to do). If you like YA fantasy you’ll probably enjoy this!
My rating: 3/5 stars
All opinions are my own.
What say you? Have you read any Marie Lu? What’s your favourite book? Let me know in the comments below!