Published: October 13, 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam Son’s Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 398 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
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?
Finally, more than a year after I read The Young Elites I decided to read The Rose Society. I was impressed by how uncharacteristically dark The Young Elites was for a young adult book and I’m pleased to say that The Rose Society took that darkness up a few notches.
After being cast out by her former friends in the Dagger Society, Adelina Amouteru and her sister Violetta are looking to recoup their losses. Their aim is to gather other like-minded Elites and have enough force to take the Kennetran throne and free the malfettos. The Rose Society has betrayal, violence, layered plots, and anti-hero characters. It’s basically YA grimdark….welcome to the fold, children. Adelina continues to struggle with the negative effects of her powers and this installment helps to explain how these incredible powers impact the Elites in the long term. Everything has a cost and sometimes it’s higher than one would expect. Or maybe it’s just karma.
The Rose Society went by in a blur for me. The pacing was quick and there was nary a wasted or dull moment, though this left some parts less detailed than I would like. For instance, I felt that the Daggers could have had more screen time, explaining their plans and showing the new dynamic they had with Maeve. I suppose in the end it didn’t matter how much exposure they got to the reader, but that’s just me. I’ll certainly be finishing up the series just to see the madness reign.
Marie Lu did a great job writing a story that defies many of the traditional YA story arcs and I commend her for that. It pleases me greatly to see a character that crushes her enemies utterly, and has the morals of Jorg Ancrath to boot. The Rose Society had one of those endings that would have made a great (if depressing) finale, but also made a great segue into what I hope will be a brilliant conclusion.