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?
Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites.
I’m so happy to have buddy read this book with Alexandra from Literary Legionnaire! When we finished, there was just too many emotions to contain. What better way to review than a discussion review?
*Just a precaution that there are spoilers in this review. Not huge ones, but the appearances of new characters and certain actions end up being discussed. Proceed at your own risk!
Aila: Okay, so one word to describe this book? INTENSE. Adelina’s character grows as dark as ever, and I experienced so many emotions while reading about her development.
Alexandra: I agree with Aila. It was really interesting to see how Adelina’s character developed, for better or worse. I’d definitely say the book was dramatic. It was riveting from start to end, and I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time, either overcome with squeals, screams or tears. It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster.
Aila: OMG so how did you think of the romance? Like, I know everyone loves Enzo and everything but I knew from the end of the first book that it couldn’t happen. Plus, MAGIANO IS BAE.
Alexandra: Hey, you stole my line 😉 Magiano is probably my favorite character in the trilogy now. Even from the very beginning I loved him, despite all his snark and his seemingly greedy, heartless demeanor. He really has so many layers to him (as do all the characters) that I really hope will be revealed more in the next book, and he is there for Adelina as an anchor throughout, even when she doesn’t see him that way. He has so much capacity to love her and take care of her, if Adelina would just loosen the reins and see clearly once in awhile. She’s so fueled by hatred and vengeance that she often fails to see what’s right there in front of her. I’ll happily take Magiano off Adelina’s hands if she doesn’t want him 😉
Anyway, to go back to Enzo. I really wanted Enzo and Adelina to work out, but in truth, I knew it couldn’t. They fuel each other’s fire way too much and expose an extremely dark side of each other that is really frightening to watch. Together, they have way too much passion and anger inside. Also, Enzo seems the same now that he’s back, but Adelina has to realize (and is slowly starting to realize) that things can’t be the same. Not anymore.
Aila: So true. Seriously, Magiano’s joy and light provides the perfect contrast and foil to Adelina’s dark passion. He’s definitely a character that I would love to see explored more in the next book. It really broke my heart to see Adelina constantly choose Enzo when Magiano was there. WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME BOOK. Overall, the romance in this book was quite unique in my opinion. Rather than make it a normal love triangle with the girl being wishy washy, Adelina takes in account the person she could benefit the most from, in terms of political maneuvering as well as balancing that out with her own passions. Plus, you have a dead guy. So. That’s pretty different. Speaking of romance, Violetta and Sergio though? *waggles eyebrows*
Alexandra: *laughs* I am definitely curious to see if their relationship develops into more. Violetta is similar to Magiano in the sense that she tries her best to soothe. Sergio seems to be a relatively stable character, but when he’s doing his waterworks (since he is the Rainmaker), Violetta seems to be by his side and it is kind of adorable. I’m hoping to see more of Sergio and Violetta (maybe even some chapters from their perspectives?) in the next book. There’s definitely a lot of underlying romances, but they do not overpower the plot of the book, which I really like. But, to continue with the topic of romance a bit more… Aila, what did you think about that little tryst between Maeve and Lucent?
Aila: Honestly I was quite surprised with that one chapter that confronts their relationship. I love being surprised, but at the same time I would have liked to see more exploration between those two characters in general. The way that Lu mentions it, it sounds like it was added on last minute or just as a side note. Theirs is the only LGBTQ+ relationship in the book and it’s like “Oh yeah there’s that too lol.” So while I do appreciate the diversity, it would’ve been nice if we saw a bit more development on their end.
Alexandra: I definitely agree with you. Especially since their relationship ended so abruptly. It was all like, “well you’re the queen so you’re obviously going to have heirs so I can’t be with you because I don’t want to be your mistress”. And I totally understand where Lucent is coming from because I wouldn’t want to be someone on the sidelines that has to be kept a secret, but I’m also curious to know more about Beldain as well as Lucent and Maeve’s past. Especially since it seems Lucent’s time is running out.
Aila: Speaking of Lucent’s time running out, Lu really gave us scare when we find out what’s going on with the Elites, didn’t she? Raffaele’s theory is making me get theories of my own regards to their powers. Since it’s eating away at them, the only way for them to survive is to get rid of their powers… via Violetta maybe? I like the whole twist she put in there, and it makes the situation seem scarier considering all of our beloved characters have these dangerous powers.
Alexandra: It’s a scary thought for sure. I think it makes sense that the powers have repercussions, but I’m really worried to see how they are affected. There were definitely some theories being thrown around, but I’m kind of afraid of what’s to come. It’s hard to say how bad the effects will be (and how quickly they will manifest), especially with characters like Adelina and Magiano who have such strong powers that they constantly rely on to survive.
Throughout The Rose Society, we’ve seen Adelina struggle so much already to control her powers and not be overcome by the rampant illusions/hallucinations (and we’ve also kind of seen it even in The Young Elites) so it will be interesting to see how it affects her and her development in the third installment. In addition, it will be even harder for her since she’s turned away from all her friends. Based on her character arc, it makes sense that she’s wary, but she is definitely going to be swallowed by the darkness if she does not seek help or light from her friends (or maybe someone who means even more *cough* Magiano *cough*). Speaking of turning away from her friends, what did you think of that ending? Pretty heartbreaking, right?
Aila: God, that ending GUTTED me. The whole “she sat on the throne but had no sense of triumph” (paraphrasing here) just left me aching. THE POOR GIRL. I love how all the characters in this series are so gray; there’s never a black-and-white outlook, it’s always in the middle. *applauds Marie Lu* Another awesome book written by an amazing author! Overall, Adelina’s development and the ever-growing plot and revelations made this a solid sequel for the Young Elites series.
Alexandra: I definitely feel bad for Adelina and pretty much all the characters (except Teren, obviously, since he’s kind of a psychopath). They’ve all been betrayed and hurt so many times, and it’s really heartbreaking. But since they are grey characters, it’s kind of hard to sympathize with just one character. It’s hard to know who is in the wrong and who is right. I’m really interested to see how the characters develop in the future. The Rose Society was a beautifully written sequel to a fantastic series, and I am extremely excited to see what’s to come.
Aila’s Rating: 4 stars
Alexandra’s Rating: 4/4.5 stars