Review: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

The Rose Society Marie Lu The Young Elites
The Rose Society Marie Ly cover The Young Elites

Title: The Rose Society 
Author: Marie Lu 
Series: The Young Elites #2
Genre: Fantasy, YA 
Publication date: October 13, 2015 
Rating: ★★★★ ½ 

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 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?

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. 
Then they betrayed her, so she destroyed them all.

Marie Lu did an extraordinary job on this one. She has really outdone herself. This is definitely one of the most interesting YA fantasies I’ve read this year, maybe ever. She takes darkness to an entirely different level. The book feels like an awful yet strangely compelling invitation into hell. I honestly could not put it down.

Adelina Amouteru was introduced as an antihero in The Young Elites. I remember saying I had never had so much sympathy for such a deeply unsympathetic character. If she was unsympathetic then, I’m not sure what she is now. She used to be this lost and troubled young girl, aching for love and affection and using the wrong ways to gain it. Her powers fed on fear and hatred, but there was still a certain light in her. Not anymore. There is no brightness left in Adelina. Not a single drop. In the first book her actions could be justified based on what she’d been through. I was sympathetic towards her because I understood her grounds. I can no longer sympathize with her, although I still get where’s she’s coming from. I understand, but I can’t possibly agree. She’s cruel. She’s wicked. Her powers consume her. She’s completely broken. I should hate her. I definitely did at some point. And yet I still root for her. I want her to overcome the darkness. I want her to reclaim that light inside of her. But I honestly don’t think she can ever come back from this. She’s gone too far, has done too much that can never be repaired. Things even I can’t ever forgive her.

I feel my power rush back over me in a flood of darkness, filling the empty crevices of my heart and mind with its familiar, poisonous comfort. I drop the dagger and let go of Violetta. I fall backward to the ground, close my eye, and curl into a ball, clutching the threads close to me. I’m breathing hard. The world spins. My anger churns in me, pulsing, fading.

A lot of old friends returned in The Rose Society and I was constantly torn between loving and hating them. I hated them for casting Adelina out; for using her; for betraying her. I also hated them for being right about her; for having every reason to hate her as they do. Sigh. I hurt a lot.

New characters were introduced as well. I was particularly fond of Maeve who was exceptionally intriguing (though not very nice herself). I liked Magiano less because I had the impression he was starting to become Enzo’s replacement. He wasn’t too bad, but he was trying to take the place of a guy I deeply admired and haven’t nearly forgotten.

We are drawn to stories and every scar carries one.

So yes, I loved this book a lot. Can’t say I actually enjoyed it, though. I reveled in its darkness, but the pain and anger made it impossible to really "like" it. Adeline wasn’t nice, the other characters weren’t nice and the things that happened were most definitely not nice. But I’ve grown fond of my White Wolf, despite every horrible thing she’s ever done. I can’t wait to see how her story and those of the other Elites will further unfold.

P.S.: The last chapters introduced a new storyline that left me truly excited so let’s hope the third book won’t keep us waiting too long.

We are doomed to be forever young.

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  1. Okay, I had to skim through your interview because I was scared there might be some spoilers hehe, but from what I read you seem to be loving this series! I'm going to start The Young Elites soon - your review has just made me so much more excited for it! :)

    1. It's truly amazing. Adelina is so different from your regular young adult heroine that it makes this series quite extraordinary. I really hope you'll enjoy The Young Elites as much as I did!


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